Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A operates most of its locations in the heart of college football country, so of course the chain is opening a one-day-only pop-up in honor of one of the sport’s biggest games. Auburn University and the University of Georgia meet this Saturday for the 121st playing of the “Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry.” The self-proclaimed chicken sandwich inventor plans to serve free food to fans of the two schools.
UGA is located in Athens, Georgia, and Auburn is about 175 miles to the southwest in Auburn, Alabama. Chick-fil-A is planting its pop-up between the universities “on the Georgia-Alabama border,” according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell. A representative for the chain tells Eater it will take up residence at 400 Third Avenue in West Point, Georgia. That address does indeed appear to be just a few steps from the state line.
The “Rivalry Restaurant,” as it’s being called, will be split in half, with one side decorated in Auburn’s orange and blue and the other covered with Georgia’s red and black. In addition to the free food, fans will find face-painting, customized mini-Chick-fil-A cows, and televisions showing the matchup. The party will take place on top of a makeshift football field, perfect for over-zealous fans to work out some aggression with pick-up games.
Former Auburn linebacker Takeo Spikes and ex-Georgia quarterback David Greene will be on hand to mingle with the crowd. Food service runs until the start of the fourth quarter, and the pop-up will shut down shortly after the game ends.
Chick-fil-A’s representative says this event is meant to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the first meeting between Auburn and Georgia. Yes, the schools have been playing football against each other since 1892, and the annual game was put on hold only during World Wars I and II. Neither side has been able to gain much separation from its hated opponent over the years: Georgia currently boasts a lead in the series with 57 wins to Auburn’s 55. There were eight ties back in the days before college football adopted overtime in 1996. Notable games have featured wild finishes, celebrating fans sprayed by a fire hose, and a player attacked by a dog on the field.
Saturday’s game will be played at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium, and it comes with pretty major implications for the 2017 season (not to mention 365 days worth of bragging rights). The visiting Dawgs enter with a perfect 9-0 record, perched at No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Tigers are 7-2 and ranked 10th. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, and CBS has the broadcast.
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