Seemingly passed over for years, USC Friday was announced as one of the teams selected to play in the 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The game will be played on either August 31st or September 1st and will pit the Gamecocks and Hokies against each other for the first time since 1991.
Here’s the complete release from game officials
The South Carolina Gamecocks and the Virginia Tech Hokies are set to meet for the first time in 34 years in the 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The game will be played Sunday, Aug. 31 or Monday, Sept. 1, 2025 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The game will be televised by either ABC or ESPN. An exact date and kick time will be finalized at a later date.
The 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game will mark the 21st time that the Gamecocks and Hokies have played, but will be their first meeting since 1991. South Carolina currently leads the all-time series 11-7-2, and has won the last four contests between the two programs, including a 28-21 victory in their last matchup.
“The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game has often become a showcase for the ACC and the SEC to face off in a high-profile contest to start the season,” said Bob Somers, Peach Bowl, Inc. chairman. “This matchup looks to continue that tradition and renew an old rivalry between two historic programs.”
“It’s an honor to welcome Virginia Tech back to the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game after 12 years, and we’re looking forward to hosting South Carolina for the first time in the game,” Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and President Gary Stokan said. “It should be an intriguing matchup with Shane Beamer coaching against his father’s old team. I also fully expect Coach Fuente will have his Hokies ready to play against a formidable SEC opponent.”
The matchup against Virginia Tech will represent South Carolina’s first-ever appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and the Gamecocks will be the seventh different SEC program to play in the game.
In 2025, the matchup 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. This will be the 15th ACC vs. SEC matchup in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game’s history.
“We are excited to open our 2025 season against Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game,” said South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “It will give our program an opportunity to play in one of the best early season showcases in college football. I know our fans will enjoy this classic non-conference contest in a first-class stadium as we compete for ‘The Old Leather Helmet’ trophy.”
“I appreciate Gary Stokan and Peach Bowl, Inc. for making this awesome opportunity available to us,” said South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer. “Any time you open a season in a premier event like the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against a quality opponent like Virginia Tech, it’s exciting for our players, staff and fans and helps in our recruiting efforts. Having been part of this game before, I know it’s run in a first-class manner and we’re happy to be a part of it.”
Virginia Tech will be making its third appearance in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The Hokies fell to Alabama in their previous two appearances when they opened the 2009 and 2013 seasons in Atlanta.
“We’re excited to play in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game against South Carolina to open the 2025 season,” Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said. “We look forward to showcasing our program in a front of a national television audience in one of the nation’s premier sporting venues, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. I’m confident we’ll see a strong contingent of our fan base cheering as the Hokies play their inaugural game in that facility and visiting the College Football Hall of Fame that weekend. We feel very confident about the strength of our scheduling going forward, as well as its appeal to Tech fans across the country.”
“Our team always looks forward to the opportunity to play in ‘trophy games’ and I’m sure our team relish the chance to compete for ‘The Old Leather Helmet’ trophy against South Carolina in the 2025 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game,” Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente said. “I know our players enjoy playing in NFL venues and I’m sure our fans will also appreciate cheering on the Hokies as we square off with an SEC opponent in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”
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.
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 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.