ATLANTA — The president and CEO of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl says he hopes this weekend’s appearance for West Virginia in the Georgia Dome kickoff game won’t be the last for the Mountaineers.
“We also know that within the Big 12 Conference structure there aren’t many games—and this is certainly not to denigrate the Big 12—but there aren’t many games that people can drive to.”
Stokan is credited with creating the latest round of neutral-site kickoff games. WVU’s opponent on Saturday, No. 2-ranked Alabama, won the first Chick-fil-A Kickoff game against Clemson in 2008.
“It’s been successful and I think it will grow,” Stokan said. “We bookend the season. We start the season with kind of a bowl atmosphere and we’ll end the season with a College Football Playoff bowl game was well.”
Stokan was a guest on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline,” which originated from Park Tavern in Atlanta. Park Tavern was the host site for WVU fan events Friday, along with MetroNews “Hotline” and the MetroNews “Statewide Sportsline.”
WVU president E. Gordon Gee, who was scheduled to fly to Atlanta on Friday night, also appeared on “Talkline.”
“I believe very strongly in the role of athletics in a university,” Gee said. “I believe it plays a very important role in terms of spirit and telling our story and a variety of others things and I have high expectations. I don’t like to lose. I’m just like every other fan.”
For Saturday’s game-day events, the official WVU Mountaineer Madness Party will begin at 10 a.m. at the Georgia World Congress Center, located next to the Georgia Dome. The Mountaineers party will be adjacent to the Chick-fil-A FanFest.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m..
Alabama was scheduled first for this year’s Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, which was announced back in 2012.
“Nick Saban, being a West Virginia guy, said, ‘I’ve never had a chance to play West Virginia and would love to play them.’ So we went and met with West Virginia and they liked the opportunity and so here we are with Alabama-West Virginia,” Stokan said. “I think we’re in for a great contest.”
Beginning this season, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will join the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls in the group of six bowls that will host the new College Football Playoff.