Syracuse will take on Tennessee in the 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

Orange Nation

Oct 31, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers leads his team onto the field before a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SU ATHLETICS) — The Syracuse Orange and Tennessee Volunteers are scheduled to meet for the first time in 24 years in the 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The matchup will be played Saturday, Aug. 30, 2025 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and will be televised by either ABC or ESPN.  An exact kick time will be finalized at a later date. 

The 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will mark the fourth time Syracuse and Tennessee have faced each other, but will be the first meeting between the two programs since 2001. Tennessee leads the all-time series 3-0, including a 33-9 win over the Orange in the most recent matchup.  The Orange and Volunteers also previously met in a thrilling 34-33 Tennessee win during the Volunteers’ 1998 National Championship run and an 18-12 Volunteer victory during the 1966 season.

“Syracuse and Tennessee have a history of playing thrilling contests when the two programs meet and we expect that to be the case again with their game to open the 2025 season here in Atlanta,” said Bob Somers, Peach Bowl, Inc. chairman. “Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be a raging sea of orange when these two programs clash for the first time in more than two decades.”

“We’re looking forward to having Tennessee back in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and welcoming Syracuse for the first time,” Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and President Gary Stokan said. “Thank you to Dino Babers and John Wildhack of Syracuse, as well as Josh Heupel and Danny White from Tennessee, for making this game possible.”

Syracuse vs. Tennessee will be the first of two ACC vs. SEC matchups during the 2025 Kickoff Series, preceding the Virginia Tech vs. South Carolina game later that weekend. This will mark the sixth double-header in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game’s history and the fourth time it has featured two ACC vs. SEC contests in the same weekend.

“I can’t think of a better way to start the 2025 season than with two ACC-SEC matchups in Atlanta, the Capital of College Football,” Stokan said. “Our city has grown to be a showcase for some of college football’s marquee matchups each year and 2025 looks to carry on that tradition.”

The 2025 matchup against Tennessee will represent Syracuse’s first-ever appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and the Orange will be the 10th ACC program to play in the game.

“Scheduling this game is a great opportunity for our program,” said Syracuse Head Football Coach Dino Babers. “Getting an opportunity to open the 2025 season on a national stage and in Mercedes-Benz Stadium is something that our players and fans can really look forward to and be excited about.”

“To kick off the 2025 season in one of the nation’s premier season-opening neutral site games is exciting for our student-athletes and for our program,” said Syracuse Director of Athletics John Wildhack. “We look forward to playing in this event in front our Orange fans in the greater Atlanta area, which is among the strongest Syracuse alumni contingents in the country.”

Tennessee will be making its third appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The Volunteers defeated NC State 35-21 in 2012 and then won a double-overtime thriller 42-41 against Georgia Tech in 2017.

It will represent the SEC’s 20th appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, with the conference currently boasting a 13-2 record in the game, including a 10-1 mark over ACC teams.

“The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is one of the premier events in all of college football,” Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said. “Opening a season in Atlanta in a venue of this caliber against an excellent opponent will generate tremendous excitement within our program and among our players. We look forward to a massive turnout from Vol Nation in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in 2025.”

“I’m very excited to see a whole lot of orange in Mercedes-Benz Stadium,” Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White said. “I cannot wait for Tennessee fans to take over Atlanta for the weekend and support the Vols against a quality opponent in a venue we hope to frequent as Josh and his staff work to restore our program. I am also looking forward to working with Gary Stokan and his staff for this exciting event.”

Each team will receive its own ticket allotment to the game and additional tickets will be sold through the Peach Bowl, Inc. ticket office. Tickets will be available for public sale early in 2025.

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 69,170 fans for each game – higher than 36 bowl games from the 2019-20 Bowl Season – and an additional 78.4 million television viewers since 2008. Total team payouts average $5.2 million – higher than 26 bowl games during the 2019-20 Bowl Season – with more than $67 million in payouts over its history.

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