Big pay day ahead for WVU

Let the hype begin.

With more than four months looming (140 days) before West Virginia opens the season against nationally ranked Alabama in the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game flyers were circulated to media members covering Saturday’s annual Gold/Blue Scrimmage.

Billed as the “Daytona 500 of College Football”, the annual contest held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta matches two top teams in a neutral-site match-up to open the season.

This year the event will sponsor two contests with Ole Miss taking on Boise State at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28, followed by the Mountaineers’ encounter with an Alabama squad that has won three of the last five national titles and is coached by West Virginia native Nick Saban.

The game will take place on Saturday, Aug. 30, at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ABC.

Some facts of interest to Mountaineer fans include.

* The historical average total team payout of $4.3 million per game is higher than more than 20 bowl games.

* The game has attracted teams with national rankings of No. 1, No. 5 (twice), No. 7, No. 9, No. 14, No. 16, No. 18, No. 19, No. 24 and No. 25 (twice). It is a given that the Crimson Tide and Boise State will continue that tradition while Ole Miss and WVU probably won’t be on that list.

* Since its inception in 2008, all Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games have earned prime time national broadcasts and this year will be no different.

* The games have boast an average of 70,205 fans in attendance. That number is higher than the attendance at 30 bowl games last season.

* Since its inception, the game has generated $239.7 million in total economic impact for Atlanta.

* The winner does take home a trophy as the Chick-fil-A awards the coveted Old Leather Helmet trophy. Not since the Friends of Coal Bowl has WVU had an opportunity to add to its trophy case at the beginning of a season.

* While this will be the Mountaineers first trip to Atlanta since WVU knocked off Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, Alabama will be making its fourth appearance. The Crimson Tide knocked off Clemson (34-10) in the inaugural contest in 2008 and then proceeded to beat Virginia Tech (34-24) in both 2009 and last year (35-10).

* Prior to the start of Saturday’s final spring practice head coach Dana Holgorsen awarded Cody Clay, Mark Glowinski and Daryl Worley with Iron Mountaineer Awards and offensive lineman Michael Calicchi with the Tom Nickokich Memorial Award given annually to the team’s top walk-on player.

* As far as the game itself, after a slow start the offense gave the crowd of 10,000 some things to cheer about as Kevin White and Daikiel Shorts each hauled in touchdown passes while Mario Alford got things off with a bang when he returned Michael Molinari’s first kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown.

Contact Jim Butta at