Thursday, May 28, 2009

Pack, Heels eye dates in Atlanta

N.C. State is set to open the 2012 football season against Tennessee in Atlanta. UNC is trying to work out a deal to open the 2010 season in the Georgia Dome against an SEC team.

It's all apart of the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff, which was started by the Atlanta Sports Council and ESPN in 2008.

"I like it," Wolfpack coach Tom O'Brien said. "You've got to play one major game that gets you on television. It's great exposure for our program."

State also opens the '09 season on national TV but it's a home Thursday date with South Carolina.

UNC opened with a lower-level Division I team in Butch Davis' first two seasons and will again in '09, with The Citadel, a Championship Subdivision program. The '10 opener in Atlanta would be against LSU, Georgia or Ole Miss.

"We're in the preliminary stages," said UNC assistant AD Larry Gallo, who works with Davis on the Tar Heels' football scheduling. "There's a lot still to work out."

UNC has six home games and six road games in '10. The Heels can't afford to lose a home game, Gallo said. They are working with South Carolina and Rutgers — who are scheduled to host UNC in '10 — about the possibility of moving their game to accommodate the Atlanta opener.

"We want this to be a win-win," Gallo said. "We want the teams we are dealing with to be treated fairly and happy with the solution."

Virginia Tech takes on Alabama in this season's college kickoff in Atlanta on Sept. 5. The Crimson Tide beat Clemson in last year's inaugural game at the Georgia Dome.

State and UNC have experience in playing traditional college openers. The Wolfpack beat Iowa in the 1992 Kickoff Classic in New Jersey and UNC beat USC in the 1993 Pigskin Classic in Anaheim, Calif. - J.P. Giglio