Oregon and Georgia are set to face off for the first time in 45 years in the 2022 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The game will be played Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022. An exact kick time and television network will be finalized at a later date.
“We’re thrilled to be able to bring together two historic programs for the first time in more than four decades,” said Bob Somers, Peach Bowl, Inc. chairman. “The Ducks and Bulldogs will be the focal point of unrivaled opening weekend celebration in the capital of college football.”
This will mark only the second time the two football programs have met. The one previous meeting resulted in a 27-16 home win for the Bulldogs in 1977.
“When you think about major season-opening kickoff games with the opportunity for huge College Football Playoff implications, this is the type of matchup you dream about,” Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and President Gary Stokan said. “Both Kirby Smart and Mario Cristobal should be recognized for their willingness to have their teams compete at the highest level in a game like this.”
“We’d also like to thank athletic directors Greg McGarity and Rob Mullens for their aggressive stance on scheduling,” Stokan added. “Both Georgia and Oregon will play 10 Power Five conference games that year on top of their already rigorous SEC and Pac-12 schedules that will surely serve to elevate their programs in the minds of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.”
Oregon will be making its first-ever appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and will be the second Pac-12 team to play in the game. Washington is set to meet Auburn in this year’s matchup on Sept. 1.
“It’s a great honor for our program to open the 2022 season in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game and to play a great program like Georgia,” said Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal. “As we continue to grow this program we want to challenge ourselves against the best competition. I’m also extremely excited for our fans to make the trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium and put their passion for the Ducks on full display.”
“We are excited at the opportunity to play a high-quality opponent such as Georgia as well as to open the season in an incredible venue in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta,” said Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens. “This invitation is reflective of the brand and reputation of the Oregon football program, and we look forward to the chance for our student-athletes to participate in this prestigious event to open the 2022 season.”
The 2022 Oregon-Georgia matchup will mark Georgia’s fourth appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Georgia previously fell 35-21 to Boise State in 2011 and defeated North Carolina 33-24 in the 2016 contest. The Bulldogs are also scheduled to face off against Virginia to open the 2020 season in Atlanta.
It will represent the SEC’s 20th appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, with the conference currently boasting an 11-2 record in the game.
“Thanks to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game staff for their efforts in putting this game together,” said UGA Head Coach Kirby Smart. “Opening the season in Atlanta against a Power 5 opponent is a tremendous opportunity for our team and provides a great start to the season for our fans. The first game of the season is always important and this matchup on a national stage will be a test for both teams.”
“This is an extraordinary opportunity to play a top quality Pac-12 team in Atlanta,” said UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “We have only played Oregon once in our history and the opportunity to play a team of national stature in this game will be exciting for our fans, our team, and a national television audience. It’s an illustration of Kirby’s desire to schedule an additional non-conference Power 5 opponent whenever possible.”
The teams will battle for The Old Leather Helmet Trophy, one of college football’s newest rivalry-style icons. Traditionally, winners of The Old Leather Helmet don the helmet on the field after the game, starting with the head coach and then rotating from player to player as the team celebrates its victory.
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game averages more than 68,887 fans for each game – higher than 36 bowl games from last year – and an additional 67 million television viewers since 2008. Total team payouts average $5.2 million – higher than 26 bowl games last season – with more than $67 million in payouts over its history.