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Washington to Play Auburn in 2018 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game

The game will feature the first-ever matchup between the Huskies and the Tigers.

NCAA Football: Auburn at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Huskies will begin their 2018 season by traveling into enemy territory to take on the Auburn Tigers in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. It will be Washington’s first game against Auburn in the history of the two programs, and represents just the fourth UW vs. SEC game since the Huskies beat the Florida Gators 34-7 in the 1989 Freedom Bowl.

The current status of both programs — Washington came in at No. 5 in this week’s College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings, while Auburn earned the nod at No. 9 — seems to indicate that this will be one of the season’s marquee opening weekend games, along with Alabama’s matchup against Louisville. The timing of this announcement is especially appropriate, given that CFP selection committee chairman Kirby Hocutt explicitly stated earlier this week that the committee’s reason for ranking a one-loss Texas A&M team above unbeaten Washington was the Huskies’ poor strength of schedule.

The move will likely provide a much-needed boost to the perception of Washington being a program willing to take on quality opponents, as the Huskies’ only other marquee non-conference games in the foreseeable future were a home-and-home series against Michigan in 2020 and 2021. The Huskies had previously scheduled a home-and-home series against Wisconsin for 2018 and 2021, but the Badgers backed out of that commitment due to conflicts the games would have presented with its Big 10 schedule.

Washington will move its game with FCS North Dakota, previously scheduled for Sept. 1, 2018, to Sept. 8, 2018. Its game against Nevada that was scheduled for 2018 will be rescheduled to take place in another season.