The Atlantic Coast Conference released its football schedule for the 2011 season, and the North Carolina Tar Heels have a few potentially memorable games on tap in the fall.
For the first time since 2006, and for just the 13th time in school history, the Tar Heels will open the football schedule with three consecutive home games.
The 2011 football season gets rolling against James Madison, an FCS (formerly Division I-AA) school, Sept. 3 at Kenan Stadium. The Heels only played one FCS team in 2010, and beat William & Mary 21-17 on Oct. 30 in Chapel Hill.
Rutgers, a Big East Conference team, ambles into Chapel Hill Sept. 10. The Heels won a thrilling road game Sept. 25 in Piscataway against the Scarlet Knights last season, the first victory of 2010. Carolina is 2-1 in the previous three meetings.
The Heels will wrap up the three-game run with the ACC opener against rival Virginia Sept. 17. UNC roughed up Virginia 44-10 in Charlottesville for their first road victory against the Cavaliers since 1981.
The first road contest will feature a rematch against conference foe Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium in Atlanta Sept. 24. The Heels suffered a disappointing 30-24 setback against the Yellow Jackets in Chapel Hill Sept. 18. 2010, so they’ll definitely have revenge on their minds.
Another highlight of the upcoming schedule is a trip to Greenville, N.C. to visit the East Carolina Pirates. The Tar Heels thumped coach Ruffin McNeill’s bunch in Chapel Hill Oct. 2, 2010, by a 42-17 score. The Pirates, a bowl team in 2010, will definitely have Oct. 1 circled on their calendars for the rematch. The last time the Heels visited Greenville, they suffered a 34-31 setback in 2007.
The non-conference schedule is highlighted by another Big East member visiting Chapel Hill Oct. 8. The Louisville Cardinals come to town. It’s a bittersweet matchup for Tar Heels fans, as this was the date when UNC was to play the Tennessee Volunteers, who pulled out of a two-year home-and-home agreement. It will be the first matchup between the two sides since 2005.
The ACC schedule continues Oct. 15 against the Miami Hurricanes, followed by a trip to Clemson Oct. 22. The Tar Heels were smoked 33-10 by the Hurricanes in South Florida, so this will be another potential payback game. The Heels knocked off the Tigers 21-16 in Chapel Hill last season.
On Oct. 29, Wake Forest pays a visit to Kenan Stadium, followed by a Nov. 5 trip to Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh against the rival North Carolina State Wolfpack. The Heels did not meet the Demon Deacons in 2010, and its the first meeting between the teams since 2007. Wake Forest will be visiting Kenan Stadium for the first time since 2006. The Heels were tripped up against by NC State 29-25 in a game which departed QB T.J. Yates set the school career passing yardage record.
The Tar Heels also face a difficult road test Thursday, Nov. 17, against Virginia Tech. The Hokies pounded the Heels 26-10 last season in Chapel Hill. Coach Butch Davis will be hoping lightning strikes twice, as the Heels knocked off the Hokies 20-17 on a last-second field goal by Casey Barth in 2009, also a Thursday night contest.
Wrapping up the 2011 regular season schedule is a home date Nov. 26 against Duke. The Tar Heels edged the Blue Devils 24-19 Nov. 27 in the regular season finale in 2010.
2011 Football Schedule
9/03 James Madison
9/24 at Georgia Tech
10/01 at East Carolina
10/15 Miami (Fla.)
10/22 at Clemson
10/29 Wake Forest
11/05 at North Carolina State
11/17 at Virginia Tech (Thu.)