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2016 Football Schedule Announced

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The ACC has announced the football schedule for 2016.

This is what the defending Coastal Division champs face next season.

Date Day Opponent Location
9/3 Saturday Georgia(Chick-fil-A Kickoff) Atlanta, GA
9/10 Saturday Illinois Champaign, IL
9/17 Saturday James Madison Chapel Hill
9/24 Saturday Pittsburgh Chapel Hill
10/1 Saturday Florida State Tallahassee, FL
10/8 Saturday Virginia Tech Chapel Hill
10/15 Saturday Miami Coral Cables, FL
10/22 Saturday Virginia Charlottesville, VA
10/29 Saturday BYE N/A
11/5 Saturday Georgia Tech Chapel Hill
11/10 Thursday Duke Durham, NC
11/19 Saturday Citadel Chapel Hill
11/25 Friday NC State Chapel Hill

UNC will again have two FCS teams on the schedule though you could argue James Madison and the Citadel might be upgrades over last season's lower division foes. Unfortunately that won't matter if UNC again finds itself in the CFP rankings discussion again.

Outside of that, the rest of the schedule is an upgrade for a couple of reasons. One is the coaching changes in the Coastal Division. Miami, Virginia Tech and Virginia all raised the quality of coaching at their respective schools meaning those games will probably be tougher than they were a year ago. Two of those games(Miami and Virginia) are on the road.

The other shift is UNC trades Wake Forest for a road game at Florida State in the rotating divisional crossover game and will also face Georgia to open the season versus seeing South Carolina last season. That opening game again carries a great deal of importance for the Tar Heels. If UNC can win that game and Georgia pans out as an 8 win or better team in the SEC, the Tar Heels will operate with credibility missing last season. On the other hand a loss to a good Georgia team won't be devastating but still validates the notion UNC isn't quite "there" yet.  The trip to Tallahassee makes winning the Coastal Division a more difficult task.

In terms of general scheduling notes. UNC has two non-Saturday games. One is a Thursday night trip to Durham where hopefully this time nothing gets spray painted(Victory Bell included.) The other is hosting NC State on the Friday after Thanksgiving. With the most recent ESPN deal, the Friday games became more prevalent though in this case, playing it on a de facto holiday isn't a bad idea.

UNC's bye week will come on 10/29 and give the Tar Heels the much coveted two weeks to prepare for Georgia Tech.