Kickoff Classic

Kickoff Classic

The Kickoff Classic was a season-opening college football game played at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey from 1983 to 2002.

History

In 1978, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates and schedules events at Giants Stadium, decided to host an end-of-season bowl game, called the Garden State Bowl. There were four such bowl games held, but attendance was lower than hoped by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA) due to December weather and less attractive teams. Consequently, NJSEA decided to host a "bowl" game in the beginning of the season instead. This would attract more popular teams and ensure better attendance due to more favorable weather conditions.

The first contest, held on August 29, 1983, was the first regular-season college football game to be played in the month of August. The game featured the defending national champions the Penn State Nittany Lions and the pre-season Number 1 ranked team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game was carried that first season by a number of TV stations across the country via sydnication, including WKBS-TV, Channel 48 in Philadelphia. (It was the Kickoff Classic's first game, but WKBS' last: the station signed off for the final time immediately after the contest.)

Eventually there would be twenty Kickoff Classics, many of which were carried by ABC Sports nationally. Rule changes by the NCAA regarding season opening 'extra games' brought an end to the series, as well as a similar game, the west coast-based Pigskin Classic.

Results

Year Attendance Winning Team Losing Team MVP
1983 71,123 Nebraska 44 Penn State 6 Turner Gill QB Nebraska
1984 51,131 Miami 20 Auburn 18 Bernie Kosar QB Miami
1985 51,227 Brigham Young 28 Boston College 14 Robbie Bosco QB Brigham Young
1986 68,296 Alabama 16 Ohio State 10 Chris Spielman LB Ohio State
1987 54,681 Tennessee 23 Iowa 22 Reggie Cobb RB Tennessee
1988 58,172 Nebraska 23 Texas A&M 14 Steve Taylor QB Nebraska
1989 77,323 Notre Dame 36 Virginia 13 Tony Rice QB Notre Dame
1990 57,293 Southern California 34 Syracuse 16 Todd Marinovich QB Southern California
1991 77,409 Penn State 34 Georgia Tech 22 Tony Sacca QB Penn State
1992 46,251 North Carolina State 24 Iowa 14 Terry Jordan QB North Carolina State
1993 51,734 Florida State 42 Kansas 0 Derrick Brooks LB Florida State
1994 58,233 Nebraska 31 West Virginia 0 Tommie Frazier QB Nebraska
1995 62,711 Ohio State 38 Boston College 6 Eddie George TB Ohio State
1996 77,716 Penn State 24 Southern California 7 Curtis Enis TB Penn State
1997 51,185 Syracuse 34 Wisconsin 0 Donovan McNabb QB Syracuse
1998 59,232 Florida State 23 Texas A&M 14 Peter Warrick WR Florida State
1999 73,037 Miami 23 Ohio State 12 Kenny Kelly QB Miami
2000 78,902 Southern California 29 Penn State 5 Sultan McCullough TB Southern California
2001 41,517 Georgia Tech 13 Syracuse 7 Kelly Campbell WR Georgia Tech
2002 72,903 Notre Dame 22 Maryland 0 Nicholas Setta PK Notre Dame

Source: New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.

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