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UGA to open 2011 football season in Atlanta vs. Boise State; Mercer to restablish football program in 2013

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATHENS -- Boise State is coming to Atlanta for season-opening games in 2011 and 2014, including next season's opener against Georgia in the Georgia Dome.

Georgia and Boise State have agreed to only the one game.

Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan said Friday the game will be played on Sept. 3, 2011, and be televised by either ESPN or ABC.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl committee organizes the annual season kickoff game. The 2011 game will be the first that does not match a Southeastern Conference team against an Atlantic Coast Conference team.

Boise State will be making a long trip to open its season on a neutral field for the second straight year. The Broncos beat Virginia Tech, 33-30, in this season's opening game in Landover, Md.

The committee also announced Boise State will face Mississippi in the 2014 opening game at the Georgia Dome. Boise State and Ole Miss were scheduled to play the season opener in 2011 in Oxford, Miss.

Stokan said Ole Miss will receive $2 million and Boise State will receive $1.1 million to play in the Aug. 28, 2014 game.

Ole Miss will receive more money because it is giving up a home game.

To fill its 2011 schedule, Ole Miss will host BYU in the season opener.

The Rebels will give BYU a $900,000 payout for the game and will not make a return trip, which was the same arrangement they had with Boise State.

BYU has announced it will leave the Mountain West Conference and become independent in 2011.

Boise State is replacing Louisville on Georgia's 2011 schedule, leaving the Bulldogs with six home games instead of seven. With a 2012 game at Louisville also removed from Georgia's schedule, the Bulldogs will add a seventh home game.

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said he is close to announcing a replacement for Louisville on the 2012 schedule. He said it will not be a team from a BCS conference.

McGarity said the offer to play Boise State in Atlanta, about 90 miles from Athens, "was too good an opportunity to turn down."

Stokan said the Chick-fil-A Bowl and ESPN are paying Louisville a $600,000 buyout "to make that (Boise State-Georgia) game happen."

"We thought with the opportunity to take a No. 4 BCS-ranked Boise State with the University of Georgia, we've got two powerful nationally known football brands," Stokan said. "It is my belief Georgia will be nationally ranked next year, along with Boise. It is our mission is to put the best game together on the opening weekend of football."

Georgia has slumped to a 5-6 record this season and has a final regular-season game against Georgia Tech on Nov. 27.

Stokan said he is finalizing payouts of approximately $1.7 million to Georgia and $1.4 million for Boise State. He added Boise State will receive about 7,500 tickets for the 2011 game, leaving the rest for Georgia.