UNC has won season openers in the recent past. They’re on a slight losing streak in those, but they did beat Liberty in 2014. However, it’s been much longer since they’ve beaten a fellow FBS team in a season opener. In order to find one of those, you have to go back to September 2, 2000, when they won over Tulsa.
If that sounds like a stupidly long time ago, it is. Here is a list of true facts about the world the last time the Tar Heels opened a campaign with a win over a fellow FBS team.
- Nebraska was number one in the AP Poll. Other teams ranked at the time include: Purdue, Illinois, and Southern Miss. Alabama was third, so not everything changes that drastically.
- UNC hired away Larry Fedora from Southern Miss in 2011, but he was still three stops, and five different job descriptions away from getting the Golden Eagles’ head coach gig.
- Carl Torbush was in his final year as Tar Heels’ head coach. There have been three (four if you count interim Everett Withers) different head coaches since.
- The Big West Conference still sponsored football, and the Sun Belt Conference hadn’t yet begun to.
- Jose Heupel, current head coach of UNC’s week three opponent UCF, was still playing quarterback in college at Oklahoma.
- UNC’s 2018 starting quarterback, Nathan Elliott, was three-years old.
- Matt Doherty had been hired as UNC basketball coach a little less than two months prior.
- The number one song in the Billboard Top 100 was “Doesn’t Really Matter” by Janet Jackson, or as she’s listed “Janet”.
- The number one movie in September 2000 was “Remember the Titans.”
- The opening ceremony of 2000 Olympics was about two weeks away. Including those games in Sydney, there have been a combined ten winter and summer Olympics since.
- Tiger Woods had won five of his 14 golf majors. Serena Williams had won one of her career 23 tennis majors. Roger Federer had won zero of his 20.
- Michael Jordan was still in his second retirement, and a part of the Washington Wizards’ ownership group and front office. There was still a comeback, third retirement, and becoming owner of an entirely different team still to go.
- Speaking of that different team, the original Charlotte Hornets were still in Charlotte.
- The New England Patriots were still a year away from the 2001 season, where they were considered “plucky underdogs”, as opposed to the despised juggernaut they’ve become.
- Most of UNC’s incoming freshman students would have just been born.