CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina’s first two home games of the 2014 football season will kick off in the evening, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday. The season opener vs. Liberty on Saturday, Aug. 30, will begin at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3. The following week, Carolina’s home game with San Diego State on Sept. 6 will kick off at 8 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPNews.
“Opening the 2014 season with a pair of night games will enhance the gameday environment in the Tar Pit,” said head coach Larry Fedora. “Last year, the atmosphere in the stadium on Thursday night against Miami was as good as any in the country and we’re excited to be playing more games in the evening. Our players are working hard this offseason and are looking forward to kicking off the season on Aug. 30.”
The San Diego State game is the first Saturday evening game against an FBS opponent at Kenan Stadium since the Tar Heels played Connecticut in 2008 at 7 p.m.
The Liberty game is the first season opener at home with an evening kickoff since 2009 when the Tar Heels faced The Citadel at 6 p.m. From 2007-09, Carolina opened three consecutive seasons with night games against FCS opponents – 2007 (JMU), 2008 (McNeese State) and 2009 (The Citadel).
This also marks the first time the Tar Heels have opened the season with two consecutive night games since 2007 when UNC hosted James Madison at 6 p.m. and then traveled the following week to East Carolina for another 6 p.m. kick.
Assuming you read that, I will allow you a moment to pick yourself up off the floor.
UNC will open the season with not one but two early evening/night games instead of the normal noon/12:30 starting time we've all become accustomed to for Tar Heel football games. It is the first time since 2008(!!) that UNC has faced an FBS team in a Saturday night game at home. It is also the first time since 2009 UNC has opened at home with an evening game.
Hopefully these two start times are a sign of things to come when UNC, perhaps, can avoid so many noon starts.