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UNC Football: College Gameday coming to Charlotte for season opener

The Tar Heels game against the Gamecocks has drawn ESPN’s signature college football show.

Syndication: The Greenville News Ken Ruinard / USA TODAY NETWORK

Cue up the crowds, build up the desk, and get ready for one of the biggest institutions of college football television to turn their sights on the Tar Heels.

On Monday, ESPN announced where their traveling road show will be for Week 1 of the college football season, and the location should look familiar to Carolina fans

This is going to be the first appearance at a College Gameday site for the Tar Heels since the season opener in 2010, a game that was marred by the start of what turned into “the junk” as Roy Williams liked to call it. As Brian Ives noted, Carolina Football has not been directly involved with College Gameday that often:

Even when Carolina and Clemson squared off in the 2015 ACC Championship game where the winning squad looked to go to the CFP, Gameday was at the site of the Big Ten Championship. Mack Brown, an ESPN analyst in between his Texas and UNC gigs, has made several appearances on the show in a capacity to talk about both Carolina and other schools the Tar Heels have faced, but this will be the first time in 13 years that the football team has played a direct role in the location of the historic college football kickoff show.

ESPN choosing Charlotte shouldn’t be a huge surprise. A look at the schedule for Week 1 in the games ESPN/ABC will broadcast will quickly show the UNC/SCAR game to be the highlight of their weekend, and the games not shown on ESPN also seem devoid of a marquee matchup like the one Carolina will play in. It features an ACC/SEC cross conference matchup, a neutral site, a potential top 2 NFL draft pick in Drake Maye, plus a South Carolina team that had a really good 8-5 season in 2022, including an upset win against Clemson and a narrow loss in the Gator Bowl. With their quarterback Spencer Rattler returning to the Gamecoks, it promises to be an offensive spectacle.

All that said, Drake Maye is the biggest reason for the spotlight. In every way, shape, and form ESPN is laying into the hype that Maye had by the end of last season. The three-hour extravaganza will highlight the entirety of college football, but with it there to hype up their prime time ABC game, their main focus will be the Tar Heels and Gamecocks. Expect some sort of feature/interview with Maye, Mack to appear on set, and Lee Corso to don headgear of whomever he expects to win this game. The mystery, as always, will be who the guest picker will be.

Here’s hoping the third time is the charm for the football program, as a win in this game will go a long way to continuing the hype for the season.