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WKU's new head coach Tyson Helton (left) shares a smile with WKU athletic director Todd Stewart (right) during Helton's first press conference as the new head coach of the Hilltoppers at the Harbaugh Club in Houchens-Smith Stadium Nov. 27 in Bowling Green. "It's not about making championships," Helton said. "Its about making champions." Helton comes to WKU after working for Tennessee and Southern California.

Even with the 2019 season close to kickoff for the WKU football team, the program is adding featured non-conference matchups for future years.

The Hilltoppers announced on Monday afternoon they will travel to Athens, Georgia, for a matchup with the Georgia Bulldogs on Sept. 12, 2026. The game will be the teams' second all-time meeting — WKU lost the 2006 season opener to the Bulldogs, 48-12.

“We always seek to compete against the best, and there’s no doubt that traveling to Georgia and playing in that kind of environment is a tremendous and exciting challenge,” WKU athletic director Todd Stewart said in a press release. “The state of Georgia is a recruiting hotbed and strong focus for our coaching staff, so this is a significant opportunity for everyone involved.

"We’re also very pleased to face one of the nation’s top programs in a regional matchup that will allow our fans to travel with us and support the program, which is always one of our key factors when scheduling future games.”

WKU is very familiar with SEC play — the Hilltoppers have played an opponent from the conference in 13 of the last 15 seasons, including this year's upcoming trip to Arkansas on Nov. 9.

WKU also added a home matchup against Eastern Kentucky for on Sept. 7, 2024. The Hilltoppers hosted EKU back in 2017, coming out on top 31-17. The game will be the 87th all-time meeting between the two programs in a series that dates back to 1914. WKU leads the all-time series 48-35-3.

Two game times for two previously announced future contests have been changed as well. Austin Peay will come to the Hill on Aug. 27, 2022, and WKU will travel to Auburn, Alabama, on Nov. 19, 2022.

WKU has set several tentative dates for its future non-conference slate, which includes contests against Power 5 opponents Indiana, Michigan State, Auburn and Alabama over the next seven seasons.

The Hilltoppers will kickoff the 2019 season on Aug. 29 against Central Arkansas at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

Reporter Alec Jessie can be reached at 270-745-6291 and alec.jessie226@topper.wku.edu. Follow Alec on Twitter at @Alec_Jessie.

Alec Jessie is a football reporter for the College Heights Herald. He previously covered the Basketball team.