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May 16, 2012

Tide to open 2014 season against West Virginia

TUSCALOOSA | The Crimson Tide and West Virginia will face off in the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, the University of Alabama confirmed today.

The game is scheduled for Aug. 30, 2014 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.

"Alabama and West Virginia are consistently among the premier teams in the country and we're thrilled to be able to host such a high profile game with representatives from the SEC and the Big 12," said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO in a release fro the university. "This will be an epic blockbuster-type game the nation will anticipate for a long, long time and will continue our tradition of showcasing two top-ranked teams to open the season on Saturday night."

Tickets to the game will be evenly split between the two teams. All tickets to the game will be sold through the university ticket offices.

"The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is an outstanding event and we look forward to opening the 2014 season in Atlanta," said Nick Saban in the release. "Gary Stokan and his staff do a great job in hosting this game and the atmosphere in the Georgia Dome has been like a BCS bowl game in our previous experiences there. The exposure for our football players and our program is tremendous and it is a great experience for our fans. This will be the sixth time we have played a non-conference game at a neutral site, and the fourth time at Atlanta."

"I believe that playing an opponent that has the national reputation that West Virginia does, one of the top programs in the country, provides a great challenge for our players and gives us something to look forward to in the offseason," Saban said. "We are privileged at the University of Alabama to be a part of what has become a great tradition in college football with first-class organizations like the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the City of Atlanta."

Alabama is 10-8-1 all time against teams from the Big 12 with their most recent match-up ending in a victory over Texas in the 2009 BCS National Championship Game. The Mountaineers are moving the Big XII from the Big East.

"Playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is a great opportunity for our football program and will be an exciting event for our fans," said Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia head coach. "Alabama is one of the top teams in college football history, and it will be a tough challenge for us."

"Playing in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is yet another great way to showcase our football program on a national stage," Director of Athletics Oliver Luck said. "Playing Alabama will match-up two programs with great college football traditions. I have known Nick Saban since my playing days at West Virginia, and I have the utmost respect for him and his program."

UA coach Nick Saban is a West Virginia native, a former Mountaineers assistant coach, and according to West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, favored West Virginia's entry into the Southeastern Conference during the league's recent expansion move. The Crimson Tide's future scheduling also includes a home-and-home series with another school with ties to Saban, Michigan State, in 2016-2017.

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