The Alabama-Florida State football opener is officially sold out, pushing ticket prices to championship-game levels — already $450 on StubHub. But here are five reasons why the Sept. 2 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will be worth the price of admission.
Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on ABC.
This is a big one — the game could match the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the preseason polls.
It will also be the first meeting as head coaches between Alabama’s Nick Saban and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, who was Saban’s offensive coordinator at LSU from 2000-04. Both have won national championships and they won a title together at LSU in 2003.
Fisher could become the first former Saban assistant to beat his mentor as a head coach. Saban is 10-0 against former assistants, but Fisher has scored a victory against Saban.
Which leads us to …
Alabama leads the all-time series against Florida State, 2-1-1, but the only time the Seminoles beat the Crimson Tide was in 2007 — Saban’s first season at the Capstone and Fisher’s first year as FSU’s offensive coordinator under Bobby Bowden.
The Seminoles won 21-14 on Sept. 29, 2007, in the inaugural River City Showdown in Jacksonville, Fla. — Alabama’s fifth game that year. The teams haven’t met since.
Fisher took over for Bowden as FSU’s coach in 2010 and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will be his first meeting against Saban as a head coach.
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game could be the first of three appearances by Alabama in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The stadium also will play host to the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 2 and the College Football Playoff national championship on Jan. 8.
Both games could involve Alabama, making the home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons the Crimson Tide’s home away from home.
Alabama is 4-0 in Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games, all under Saban:
|Aug. 30, 2008||(24) Alabama 34, (9) Clemson 10|
|Sept. 5, 2009||(5) Alabama 34, (7) Virginia Tech 24|
|Aug. 31, 2013||(1) Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 10|
|Aug. 30, 2014||(2) Alabama 33, West Virginia 23|
Alabama also has won 15 consecutive season-openers. FSU, which is making its first Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game appearance, has won its last six.
Alabama and Florida State have combined for five of college football’s last eight national championships, and this game will have title implications no matter where they’re ranked in the preseason.
Under Saban, the Crimson Tide won national titles in the 2009, 2011, 2012 and 2015 seasons. Fisher led FSU to the 2013 title with a 34-31 victory against Auburn in the BCS national championship game.
Here’s the kicker: Saban and Fisher could finish the season where they start.