Love the football themed kick off idea!
For the last several years we've had an orientation for our rising K's and their parents about 30 mins before SS begins, then during SS we've had an intergenerational Open House. Actually for the last two years this has been churchwide -- all the SS classes participated in an Open House and people were invited to visit all the classrooms and learn about the class, their topic of study and eat breakfast items that were in each room, and fill out a form listing the study topics. We also had a drawing for a kindle from all the participants who filled out their form. It's been very fun to have older adults who seldom come to the children's wing there to participate.
For our Rotation SS -- we have a Scavenger Hunt -- we have parents and kids visit each room and do an activity or find an item in each room that helps to show what we do. I'll attach the document so you can get an idea of what we do. Of course it's specific to our church, but you can get the idea.
And as for calendaring... we have an issue this year too. We're promoting the first Sunday in August, instead of the first Sunday in September! Not sure HOW that's going to all work out, but i better figure it out SOON!