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Auburn, North Carolina to face off in third 2020 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

The 2020 Chick-fil-A Kickoff will feature a record three games over the course of seven days with an Auburn-North Carolina matchup serving as the finale.

The Tar Heels and Tigers— who will face off on Sept. 12, 2020— join the two previously announced games in the 2020 Chick-fil-A Kickoff between West Virginia and Florida State on Sept. 5 and Georgia and Virginia on Sept. 7.

The first two Kickoff games will occur during college football’s opening weekend while Auburn and North Carolina will play each other during Week 2.

“We thought it was something unique to do in Week 2 and (Auburn and North Carolina) thought it made a lot of sense and they wanted to come play in Atlanta,” Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and President Gary Stokan said Thursday to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s a good recruiting base for both schools, a lot of alumni here and donors, and so to have three games in a week we thought was something unique to celebrate the capital fo college football.”

The third 2020 Kickoff game will be the first time in 19 years the Tigers and Tar Heels face each other on the football field, barring the two teams don’t meet up in the postseason over the next two years. 

In the teams’ seven overall meetings, the Tar Heels hold a 4-2 series record, winning the last game 16-10 in the 2001 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

“The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is an exciting opportunity for our team to take on an outstanding Auburn program in what is always one of the top events of the college football season,” North Carolina Head Coach Larry Fedora said in a statement. “The chance to play on a national stage in a world-class facility like Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will be a tremendous experience for our fans and everyone associated with our program.”

The Tar Heels will be looking for the program’s first win in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game after losing in their only two appearances at the Georgia Dome. North Carolina, ranked in both matchups, fell to LSU 34-24 in 2010 and then to Georgia in 2016.

Auburn will make it’s fourth Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game appearance in 2020 after losing to Clemson 26-19 in 2012 and defeating Louisville 31-24 in 2015. 

Before their 2020 matchup with North Carolina, Auburn will face Washington this September for the team’s third appearance in the Kickoff Game.

“The Chick-fil-A Kickoff game has established itself as a premier season opener in college football and we look forward to being a part of it again in 2020 against a very good North Carolina program,” Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement. “It’s always great to play in Atlanta in front of a big crowd of Auburn fans.”

The SEC and ACC have faced off 10 total times in Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games since the game’s premiere in 2008. The SEC hold a 9-1 record over the ACC in those games.

What makes the SEC-ACC matchups in Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games so successful is not just the tradition of the Peach Bowl being an SEC-ACC matchup or the ease of scheduling SEC and ACC teams over other conferences, but the presence of SEC and ACC alumni in the Atlanta area who show up in droves for the Kickoff Games.

“It makes more sense for us (to schedule an SEC-ACC games) because we have No. 1 and No. 2 alumni bases of all the SEC and ACC schools living in Metro Atlanta,” Stokan said. “And so we have great local crowds and people can drive here easily. And Atlanta’s kind of the New York of the South. People can drive here easy and there’s shopping and things like the College Football Hall of Fame to do.”

Broadcast details and kickoff times for all three games will be released at a later date.

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