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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 Number 1 ranked team, the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The game was carried that first season by a number of TV stations across the country via syndication, including WKBS-TV, Channel 48 in Philadelphia. It was the beginning for the Kickoff Classic but the end for WKBS; the station signed off for the final time following the game.
Eventually there would be twenty Kickoff Classics, many of which were carried by ABC Sports nationally. 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. In 2008, a new form of the Classic was born. While not cut from the same mold, the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff 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.
|Year||Attendance||Winning Team||Losing Team||MVP|
|1983||71,123||Nebraska||44||Penn State||6||Turner Gill||QB||Nebraska|
|1985||51,227||Brigham Young||28||Boston College||14||Robbie Bosco||QB||Brigham Young|
|1986||68,296||Alabama||16||Ohio State||10||Chris Spielman||LB||Ohio State|
|1988||58,172||Nebraska||23||Texas A&M||14||Steve Taylor||QB||Nebraska|
|1989||77,323||Notre Dame||36||Virginia||13||Tony Rice||QB||Notre Dame|
|1990||57,293||Southern California||34||Syracuse||16||Todd Marinovich||QB||Southern California|
|1991||77,409||Penn State||34||Georgia Tech||22||Tony Sacca||QB||Penn State|
|1992||46,251||North Carolina State||24||Iowa||14||Terry Jordan||QB||North Carolina State|
|1993||51,734||Florida State||42||Kansas||0||Derrick Brooks||LB||Florida State|
|1994||58,233||Nebraska||31||West Virginia||0||Tommie Frazier||QB||Nebraska|
|1995||62,711||Ohio State||38||Boston College||6||Eddie George||TB||Ohio State|
|1996||77,716||Penn State||24||Southern California||7||Curtis Enis||TB||Penn State|
|1998||59,232||Florida State||23||Texas A&M||14||Peter Warrick||WR||Florida State|
|1999||73,037||Miami||23||Ohio State||12||Kenny Kelly||QB||Miami|
|2000||78,902||Southern California||29||Penn State||5||Sultan McCullough||TB||Southern California|
|2001||41,517||Georgia Tech||13||Syracuse||7||Kelly Campbell||WR||Georgia Tech|
|2002||72,903||Notre Dame||22||Maryland||0||Nick Setta||PK||Notre Dame|
See also Edit
Source: New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.
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