With demise of the Kickoff and Pigskin Classic games after the 2002 season the future appeared bleak for neutral-site season-opening games featuring high profile teams. However, after only a 5-year drought, the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff game was introduced in 2008. The game would be played in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome and would feature a Southeast Conference team against a national opponent.
The following year, the Cowboy Classic (now known as the Advocare Classic) was established in Arlington, TX and held at AT&T Stadium, home to the Dallas Cowboys. Like the Chick-fil-A Kickoff game, the contest in Arlington strives to bring together two highly-ranked teams, but isn’t tied to a particular conference.
The success of these games created a rush of neutral site matchups this year with host venues including NFL stadiums in Arlington, Atlanta, Charlotte and Houston. These games will likely continue their growth in popularity as they greatly benefit the participating institutions and corporate partners and fans can expect more in the way of non-traditional venues as well such as Dublin, Ireland and Bristol Motor Speedway.