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UNC Football: A look at the 2023 schedule through the lens of history

With the college football season nearly upon us, let’s break down UNC’s schedule using past meetings against the 12 opponents.

North Carolina State v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Football season is nearly upon us, and it’s about time to start breaking down the schedule. We’re going to do that a way.

Personally, I’m not a football expert, so I’m going to tell you how North Carolina matches up against the South Carolina defense, or how Syracuse’s two-deep is setting up. Instead, I’m going to look at this year’s schedule through the lens of history. In order to look at the 12 games UNC football will play this year, we’re going to look at 12 memorable games the Tar Heels have had against this year’s opponents.

September 2nd: South Carolina

The season opener against the Gamecocks in Charlotte brings back memories of the last time Carolina played such a game. In 2019, the Tar Heels took on South Carolina in Charlotte in the first game of the Mack Brown 2.0 era. That day was also the first game of the Sam Howell era. In his college debut, Howell led UNC on two 90+ yard touchdown drives in the fourth quarter as they rallied past the Gamecocks for a 24-20 win.

September 9th: vs. Appalachian State

The game might be less than a year old, but it’s hard to overlook the 2022 battle between the Heels and Mountaineers. In a game that featured 62 combined fourth quarter points, Drake Maye and Carolina finally won after App’s attempted game-tying two-point conversion with nine seconds left failed. In the moment, this game was often a bit infuriating, but in hindsight, reading the box score for it is pretty hilarious.

September 16th: vs. Minnesota

The Tar Heels and Golden Gophers have never met on a football field prior to this season. Instead, we’ll remember when the men’s basketball team lost to Minnesota in the 1980 Bruin Classic in LA. It’s time for revenge.

September 23rd: at Pitt

While the Panthers have evened things out in recent years, UNC had their number in the first couple years Pitt was in the ACC. That included the 2016 game where Mitch Trubisky led Carolina on a late, winning touchdown drive, that included three fourth down conversions, and a game-winning catch by Bug Howard.

October 7th: vs. Syracuse

Being in separate divisions, UNC doesn’t have a lot of football history against the Orange since they’ve joined the ACC. However, that’ll change a bit with the move to the new schedule format. One notable win over them came on the road in 2002, when Carolina scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to overtake ‘Cuse.

October 14th: vs. Miami

UNC does have a couple nice wins over the Hurricanes in recent years, but there’s only one answer here:

October 21st: vs. Virginia

This game might be memorable for the wrong reasons, but it’s hard to overlook the 2005 game against the Cavaliers that finished in one of the funniest football scores possible: 7-5.

October 28th: at Georgia Tech

A loss last year to the Yellow Jackets began the Tar Heels’ late season slump, so hopefully there’s some revenge in store for this year. As far as better memories go, lets hope it’s more like the 2015 game. That day, UNC trailed 21-0 late into the second quarter only to come back in the second half as Marquise Williams went for over 100 yards both in the air and on the ground.

November 4th: vs. Campbell

The Camels are another team that UNC has never met on the football field, as they only began the modern version of their program in 2008. Hopefully, the football team will be amped up to get some revenge for their baseball brethren from earlier this year.

November 11th: vs. Duke

Too bad this game wont be in Durham for there to be any inflatable helmets to visit.

November 18th: at Clemson

While last year’s ACC Championship game ended in a blowout, UNC had played the ACC’s preeminent power close a couple times in recent years. The last time they beat the Tigers was in 2010, when 195 all-purpose yards from Johnny White got the Heels a win.

November 25th: at NC State

You know the one.