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NCAA Football Dates to Watch

New Colorado State stadium

Now that the calendar has turned to August, we are just weeks away from the beginning of the 2017 NCAA football season. The early phases of the season will be marked by the first games at new stadiums, as well as the debuts of major renovations at existing facilities.

To provide a snapshot of some of the key projects taking shape, we present the NCAA dates to watch for 2017. This includes a new mix of first games at new stadiums, along with regular season contests that will provide fans and teams alike with the opportunity to see the latest improvements to some notable venues.

Colorado State Stadium: August 26

One of the most—if not the most—anticipated stadium openings in college football this year, the debut of the new Colorado State Stadium should come with plenty of hype. A scheduling change is allowing the facility to open with a game between Colorado State and the visiting Oregon State.

Throughout the construction process, Colorado State has received solid support when it comes to ticket sales—particularly for premium areas. The opening of the new stadium also represents a seismic shift for a program that had a long tradition at its previous home—Colorado State played at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium from 1968-2016.

Turner Field football

Georgia State Stadium: August 31

In the sports world, the project taking shape in Atlanta has received attention because of its multiple layers of intrigue. This is not only an example of a university taking the initiative to overhaul an existing stadium and attempt to spark development in the surrounding area, but represents a new era for a long-time facility. Originally opening for the 1996 Olympics, the venue became Turner Field in 1997 and served as home of MLB’s Atlanta Braves through 2016. Now, it is entering a new era as the home of Georgia State Panthers’ football.

Construction has been taking place for much of this year to prepare the facility for football, as new seats occupy what was once right field and the baseball field has made way for a new FieldTurf playing surface. Georgia State will host Tennessee State in its opener.

Brooks Stadium rendering

Brooks Stadium: September 2

The latest upgrades are not the first to Brooks Stadium since its 2003 opening, but they might be the most significant. As part of its move to the Football Bowl Subdivision, Coastal Carolina University is expanding the seating capacity at Brooks Stadium from 9,214 to roughly 15,500 seats. Further renovations are expected after this season, meaning that the capacity will exceed 20,000 in 2018.

Myrtle Beach Online recently reported that CCU officials are expecting the ongoing project to be completed in time for this season. CCU’s home opener is slated to take place against UMass.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Mercedes-Benz Stadium: September 2 & 4

Since it will be the home of the Atlanta Falcons, the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is most commonly associated with the NFL. However, the facility’s debut will also have implications on college football.

Starting on September 2, the 2017 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The first game will feature a matchup between Alabama and Florida State, while a contest on September 4 will pit Georgia Tech against Tennessee. These will not be the only high-profile NCAA games to take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium over the next several months. The SEC Championship Game is set for December 2, while Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is scheduled for January 1, and the National Championship is slated for January 8.

Notre Dame Stadium

Notre Dame Stadium: September 2

One of the most historic stadiums in college football is getting a makeover. Thanks to renovations that took place over the offseason, Notre Dame Stadium is receiving several major enhancements—including a videoboard on the south end, roughly 3,000 premium seats, and upgraded seating.

Notre Dame’s home opener is slated to take place on the afternoon of September 2 against Temple.

This article first appeared in the weekly Football Stadium Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? It’s free, and you’ll see features like this before they appear on the Web. Go here to subscribe to the Football Stadium Digest newsletter.

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August Publications