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Syracuse football to open 2025 season against Tennessee in Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game

Syracuse will open the 2025 college football season in one of the sport’s iconic opening weekend contests, facing Tennessee in Atlanta at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

The Orange and Volunteers will play in Mercedes-Benz Stadium, on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2025 in a contest that will be televised on either ABC or ESPN. An exact kick time will be finalized at a later date. This will be the first time Syracuse has opened the year in a neutral site contest since 2013.

“Scheduling this game is a great opportunity for our program,” said head coach Dino Babers. “Getting an opportunity to open the 2025 season on a national stage and in Mercedes-Benz Stadium is something that our players and fans can really look forward to and be excited about.”

‘Cuse and Tennessee previously scheduled a home-and-home series two decades ago. The Orange hosted the Vols in the 1998 season opener, falling 34-33 in a tightly contested battle among two teams that were ranked in the top-20 at the time. Tennessee went on to win the National Championship, while Syracuse won the BIG EAST title that year, behind Donovan McNabb – who finished fifth in the Heisman voting.

Three years later, Syracuse traveled to Neyland Stadium where the Vols won 33-9, but ‘Cuse went on to win 10 of their final 11 contests to finish the year ranked No. 14 in the final AP Poll.

“To kick off the 2025 season in one of the nation’s premier season-opening neutral site games is exciting for our student-athletes and for our program,” said Syracuse Director of Athletics John Wildhack. “We look forward to playing in this event in front our Orange fans in the greater Atlanta area, which is among the strongest Syracuse alumni contingents in the country.”

This will be the fourth meeting between the two schools, in a series dating back to 1966.

“Syracuse and Tennessee have a history of playing thrilling contests when the two programs meet and we expect that to be the case again with their game to open the 2025 season here in Atlanta,” said Bob Somers, Peach Bowl, Inc. chairman. “Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be a raging sea of orange when these two programs clash for the first time in more than two decades.”

“We’re looking forward to having Tennessee back in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game and welcoming Syracuse for the first time,” Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO and President Gary Stokan said. “Thank you to Dino Babers and John Wildhack of Syracuse, as well as Josh Heupel and Danny White from Tennessee, for making this game possible.”