It’s a month before game day, but the highly anticipated rematch between reigning national champion Alabama and Virginia Tech is now a sellout. Chick-fil-A Bowl officials today announced the game and both teams have completely sold through their allotment of tickets.
“This is a nationally compelling matchup with two legendary coaches, passionate fan bases and perennial top-10 teams in the country,” said Chick-fil-A Bowl President and CEO Gary Stokan. “For Alabama this is a chance to start another championship run, to make history and go for the three-peat. For Virginia Tech, you can’t make much bigger of a statement than knocking off number one.”
The teams, who last met in 2009 when the #5 Crimson Tide defeated the #7 Hokies 34-24 in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, will face off at 5:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, Aug. 31 to open the 2013 college football season.
Since the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game began in 2008, the two matchups of Alabama and Virginia Tech (2009 and 2013) represent the two fastest sellouts in the game’s history.
The teams will be competing for the game’s coveted Old Leather Helmet Trophy. An icon of toughness and courage, the Old Leather Helmet represents the origins of college football rivalries, and is worn only by the winner of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The battle for the Old Leather Helmet has served as a showcase for the brightest stars in college football since 2008, with a list of alumni that includes 25 NFL first-round draft picks, six National Coaches of the Year and 11 players who have earned National Player of the Year awards.
“We are looking forward to another great game and we have a lot of respect for Coach Beamer and Virginia Tech,” said Nick Saban, Alabama head coach. “We’ve had the opportunity to open the season twice before in Atlanta, and the experience has been extremely positive for our team and our fans. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in the Georgia Dome is a great venue for college football. It has a bowl game feel, and the staff has done an outstanding job of making it a first-class event.”
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer also weighed in on the game’s significance.
“The Georgia Dome is always an exciting place to play and a sold out Georgia Dome is going to be very special,” said Beamer. “I think it’s a great atmosphere, and us playing the top program in the country in front of a packed house … that is why you come to Virginia Tech.”
In its third Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game appearance, Alabama will look not only to increase its record to 3-0, but also look to secure a victory that could prove to be imperative in appearing in its third consecutive national championship game.
“The University of Alabama is very excited to renew our long-standing relationship with the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game,” Alabama Athletics Director Bill Battle said. “As usual, the matchup is an exciting one as we take on the Virginia Tech Hokies in the Georgia Dome. I know our fans, players and coaches are looking forward to kicking off the 2013 season in an outstanding setting along with the chance to play before a national audience.”
For Virginia Tech, a victory against top-ranked Alabama would immediately thrust the Hokies into the national spotlight and set them up for a championship run of their own.
“Playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game creates a very exciting environment for the fans and players of both teams,” said Jim Weaver, Virginia Tech Athletics Director. “We look forward to opening the season with the defending National Champions in a sold-out Georgia Dome.”
Despite ticket allotments being sold out, fans looking to get to the game still have great options available from PrimeSport, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game’s Official Ticket Exchange and VIP Hospitality provider.