Deal to pit Clemson, Alabama in Georgia Dome expected to be finalized Friday

The Atlanta committee which organized the Chick-fil-A Bowl is expected to announce final plans on Friday for Clemson and Alabama to open the 2008 season in the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta Sports Council officials have been in negotiations with the schools for months to play the neutral-site game in Atlanta on Aug. 30, with tickets distributed evenly between the schools.

Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan said last week plans for the game were put on hold while the committee focused on the bowl game, but he said talks would resume this week. A news conference has been scheduled for Friday afternoon.

Alabama played Florida State in Jacksonville on Sept. 29 this season in a similar neutral-site arrangement. Each team received $2 million for the game. Florida State won, 21-14, before a Jacksonville-record crowd of 85,412.

The 2008 season-opener would be Clemson's second straight game in the Georgia Dome. Auburn beat Clemson 23-20 in overtime in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Monday night.

If the deal with Alabama is finalized, Clemson would be set to play its third straight game against a Southeastern Conference team. Clemson closed its regular season with a win over South Carolina.

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