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Ken SugiuraKen Sugiura

Tennessee a possibility for Tech in kickoff game

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Georgia Tech might be in line to inaugurate the Falcons' new stadium in 2017 with a possible Chick-fil-A Kickoff game against Tennessee. (Atlanta Falcons)

Georgia Tech might be in line to inaugurate the Falcons’ new stadium in 2017 with a possible Chick-fil-A Kickoff game against Tennessee. (Atlanta Falcons)

This was part of the notes from Monday, but if you missed it, Tennessee is a possibility to play Georgia Tech in the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game. Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl president Gary Stokan has been in discussions with Tech athletic director Mike Bobinski and senior associate athletic director Ryan Bamford about playing in the game that year, which is when the Falcons stadium is scheduled to open.

It would be the renewal of a series that dates back to Tech’s days in the SEC (and even further) and continued after the Yellow Jackets joined the ACC. The teams have played 43 games (Tennessee leads 24-17-2), with the last meeting taking place in 1987. That was the last year of a run in which the teams met every season for nine years and 11 of 12 years.

It’s possible an agreement could be finalized by the end of August. Stokan told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in July that he was hoping to arrange three kickoff games at the new stadium in 2017 over Labor Day weekend. To dovetail with the ACC’s contract with ESPN, Tech would likely play in either the Thursday or Monday games. If the Jackets played in the Thursday game, they likely would play in the first regular-season football game in the new stadium.

Tech is scheduled to play Ole Miss in 2017 in Oxford, Miss., with a return game contracted for 2018. The 2017 game would likely have to be moved to a different year, as Tech’s preference would be to not play three non-conference games against SEC opponents (including Georgia). Tech’s scheduling philosophy is to play two of its four non-conference games against “power five” conferences (including Georgia), a third against an FBS opponent from a non-power conference and an FCS opponent.

It would be Tennessee’s second appearance in the kickoff game, following a 2012 win over N.C. State. With the end of the SEC-ACC arrangement in the Chick-fil-A bowl game, Stokan is seeking to continue the pairing in the kickoff series.

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