Alabama, Virginia Tech in 2013 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game

Alabama and Virginia Tech are coming back to Atlanta.

The schools have agreed to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game to launch the 2013 college football season. The Kickoff game annually matches two top teams at the Georgia Dome to open the season.

The 2013 game, on a yet-to-be determined date, will be a rematch of the 2009 Kickoff game when No. 5 Alabama defeated No. 7 Virginia Tech 34-24. Alabama went on to win the BCS national championship.

The 2013 game will coincide with the scheduled opening of the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta. The new building is to be built on a parking lot of the Georgia World Congress Center — the Green Lot on Marietta Street next to the Omni Hotel. The site was chosen late last year as the site for the Hall of Fame, which will relocate from South Bend, Ind.

“I don’t think there will be any doubt that by 2013, with the opening of the College Football Hall of Fame and the enshrinement ceremony, that Atlanta will forever be known as the college football capital of the world,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO.

According to the latest timetable, groundbreaking is scheduled for February 2012 and the opening for fall 2013. Both dates have been pushed back from the targets set when the hall’s relocation to Atlanta was announced in September 2009.

The reasons for the delay, Stokan said, were a shift in preferred sites and a swelling of the project from a 50,000-square-foot, $50 million facility to a 75,000-square-foot, $82 million facility.

Alabama played in two of the first two Kickoff games, also defeating Clemson, 34-10, in 2008.

The game will be televised by either ABC or ESPN.

Georgia and Boise State will open the 2011 season Sept. 3 in the Kickoff game, which will be televised by ESPN. There will be two games in 2012, with Tennessee facing North Carolina State and Auburn playing Clemson. The 2014 matchup also is set, with Ole Miss facing Boise State.

“When we started this in 2008 we looked at pairing teams from the ACC and the SEC, but with the caveat that we wanted the best matchup on the first weekend of college football,” Stoken said.

“We’ve had ranked teams every year, and we think that will be the case in 2013. ... There is no doubt that to make this a recipe for the most successful game we needed the support of the fan bases. ... Alabama and Virginia Tech have two of the best fan bases.”

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