|Kickoff Classic (defunct)|
|Location||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
The Kickoff Classic was a season-opening college football game played at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey from 1983 to 2002.
In 1978, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA), which operated and scheduled 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 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 Penn State Nittany Lions and the pre-season No. 1 ranked team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game was not carried by any of the networks broadcasting college football at the time; instead, the rights to the game were sold into syndication by Michael Botwinik's Katz Communications, and the game aired on various local stations throughout the country. (One of these stations, Philadelphia's WKBS, signed off for good right after the game, making the inaugural Kickoff Classic the last program the station carried.)
Eventually there would be twenty Kickoff Classics, many of which were carried by ABC Sports nationally. Participation in the Kickoff Classic allowed teams to play a twelve-game regular season. Rule changes by the NCAA regarding season opening 'extra games' brought an end to the series in 2002, as well as similar games, such as the west coast-based Pigskin Classic and the midwest-based Eddie Robinson Classic.
In 2008, a new form of kickoff games were born. While not cut from the same mold, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game held its inaugural game in Atlanta, GA in an effort to direct the nation's attention to one site for the start of the college football season.
|Date||Winning Team||Losing Team||MVP||Attendance||Television||Announcers|
|August 29, 1983||#1 Nebraska||44||#4 Penn State||6||Turner Gill||QB||Nebraska||71,123||Katz Sports||Curt Gowdy, Lee Corso and Dave Diles|
|August 27, 1984||#10 Miami (FL)||20||#1 Auburn||18||Bernie Kosar||QB||Miami (FL)||51,131||Katz Sports||Curt Gowdy and Len Dawson|
|August 29, 1985||#10 BYU||28||Boston College||14||Robbie Bosco||QB||BYU||51,227||Raycom Sports||Merle Harmon and Bud Wilkinson|
|August 27, 1986||#5 Alabama||16||#9 Ohio State||10||Chris Spielman||LB||Ohio State||68,296||Raycom Sports||Merle Harmon, Steve Davis and Kevin Kiley|
|August 30, 1987||#17 Tennessee||23||#16 Iowa||22||Reggie Cobb||RB||Tennessee||54,681||ABC Sports||Keith Jackson and Bob Griese|
|August 27, 1988||#2 Nebraska||23||#10 Texas A&M||14||Steve Taylor||QB||Nebraska||58,172||Raycom Sports||Phil Stone and Dave Rowe|
|August 31, 1989||#2 Notre Dame||36||Virginia||13||Tony Rice||QB||Notre Dame||77,323||Raycom Sports||Phil Stone and Dave Rowe|
|August 31, 1990||#9 USC||34||Syracuse||16||Todd Marinovich||QB||USC||57,293||Raycom Sports||Phil Stone and Dave Rowe|
|August 28, 1991||#7 Penn State||34||#8 Georgia Tech||22||Tony Sacca||QB||Penn State||77,409||Raycom Sports||Tim Brant and Dave Rowe|
|August 29, 1992||NC State||24||#16 Iowa||14||Terry Jordan||QB||NC C State||46,251||Raycom Sports||Phil Stone and Dave Rowe|
|August 28, 1993||#1 Florida State||42||Kansas||0||Derrick Brooks||LB||Florida State||51,734||ABC Sports||Keith Jackson and Bob Griese|
|August 28, 1994||#4 Nebraska||31||#24 West Virginia||0||Tommie Frazier||QB||Nebraska||58,233||ABC Sports||Keith Jackson and Bob Griese|
|August 27, 1995||#12 Ohio State||38||#22 Boston College||6||Eddie George||TB||Ohio State||62,711|
|August 25, 1996||#11 Penn State||24||#7 USC||7||Curtis Enis||TB||Penn State||77,716||ABC Sports|
|August 24, 1997||#17 Syracuse||34||#24 Wisconsin||0||Donovan McNabb||QB||Syracuse||51,185||ABC Sports|
|August 31, 1998||#2 Florida State||23||#14 Texas A&M||14||Peter Warrick||WR||Florida State||59,232||ABC Sports|
|August 29, 1999||#12 Miami (FL)||23||#9 Ohio State||12||Kenny Kelly||QB||Miami (FL)||73,037||ABC Sports|
|August 27, 2000||#15 USC||29||#22 Penn State||5||Sultan McCullough||TB||USC||78,902||ABC Sports|
|August 26, 2001||#10 Georgia Tech||13||Syracuse||7||Kelly Campbell||WR||Georgia Tech||41,517||ABC Sports|
|August 31, 2002||Notre Dame||22||#21 Maryland||0||Nick Setta||PK||Notre Dame||72,903||ABC Sports|
Rankings from AP Poll prior to game.