Everyone in the country knows how rough the 2017 and 2018 seasons have been in Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Tar Heels on the gridiron. It’s the reason that Larry Fedora was relieved of his duties as head coach and Mack Brown was hired to rejuvenate a struggling program. As of this afternoon, the road to recovery has been officially set, as the Heels 2019 schedule has officially been released. Let’s take a look and give a quick look at the Heels road through the 2019 season.
April 13th: Spring Game
For the first time in three years, the Heels will be back in Kenan for their spring game, something that Coach Brown has said he wants to turn into an event. With some huge position battles that are expected to be raging at the time and the amount of excitement that has been building around the football team since his hire, don’t be shocked if Kenan is pretty full for what should be an important close to spring camp.
August 31st: vs. South Carolina
All-Time Meetings: 57 (34–19–4)
Last Meeting: 2015 (17–13 loss)
The Heels begin with a stiff test in the border battle that will take place at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. This is the first meeting between the two since the matchup that opened the 2015 season in the same venue. Mack Brown will face off against his former apprentice Will Muschamp and a South Carolina that will return some experience, but will have to also replace some major playmakers on offense. The game could also feature a battle of true freshman quarterbacks if both Sam Howell and Ryan Hilinski are able to emerge from their respective quarterback battles.
September 7th: Miami (FL)
All-Time Meetings: 20 (9–11–0)
Last Meeting: 2018 (47–10 loss)
Carolina enters the conference season early with a matchup at home against one of the ACC Coastal favorites heading into next season. Miami will return a lot of experience, especially on the defensive side of the football that wreaked havoc, especially in the front seven, a year ago. The reunion tour for Mack will also continue this week as he will match up with former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who enters his first season as the Miami head coach.
September 12th: @ Wake Forest
All-Time Meetings: 106 (69–35–2)
Last Meeting: 2015 (50–14 win)
In one of the weirdest out-of-conference games in the history of college football, the Heels will renew their rivalry against ACC opponents Wake Forest in a game that will not have conference ramifications. Dave Clawson will be coming off a year in which his Demon Deacons did not live up to expectations in large part because of a young team.
September 21st: Appalachian State
All-Time Meetings: 1 (1–0–0)
Last Meeting: 1940 (56–6 win)
Coach Brown will welcome in the school that gave him his first coaching job back in 1983. Appalachian State is a much different team from back in those days, though, as they have become one of the best Group of 5 teams in college football today and continue to thrive in the quietly competitive Sun Belt conference. While there will be some turnover on the defensive side of the football, the Mountaineers will have some offensive weapons that will make this game trickier than some may expect.
September 28th: Clemson
All-Time Meetings: 57 (37–19–1)
Last Meeting: 2015 (45–37 loss)
The Heels will get back into conference play by welcoming in the defending national champion Clemson Tigers to town. Clemson will be losing a lot defensively but should be right in the thick of the national championship hunt next season. This should be an interesting test all around and give the Heels some nice national exposure.
October 5th: @ Georgia Tech
All-Time Meetings: 53 (20–30–3)
Last Meeting: 2018 (38–28 loss)
The Yellow Jackets will also be under new direction this season as former Temple head coach will try to convert the team from a read to a spread offense as seamlessly as possible. The team will return some solid pieces offensively, but the key will be to land the right quarterback and hope the skill position player can make the quick adjustments. This game could help determine how serious of a contender Carolina will be in the Coastal this season, especially if the game against Miami doesn’t fall their way.
October 19th: @ Virginia Tech
All-Time Meetings: 40 (11–23–6)
Last Meeting: 2018 (22–19 loss)
The Hokies will likely be the favorite to win the conference thanks to the stability with the coaching staff and a defense that will almost every player from the two-deep from this past season. Add in the fact that starting quarterback Josh Jackson will be back and healthy and you can see why this will be another tough trip to Blacksburg for the Heels.
October 26th: Duke
All-Time Meetings: 104 (59–41–4)
Last Meeting: 2018 (42–35 loss)
The Heels have had their struggles with the Blue Devils in recent years, but this year, the Heels will get the Blue Devils at home and will hope to change the fortunes of the series. It will help that the Blue Devils will have the task of replacing NFL-bound quarterback Daniel Jones along with a lot of experience defensively and you better believe that Mack Brown will be looking to change the recent course of history in this season.
November 2nd: Virginia
All-Time Meetings: 124 (64–56–4)
Last Meeting: 2018 (31–21 loss)
The Cavaliers are the only team to not have won a conference championship from the Coastal Division in the last six seasons and it’s not crazy to think that they may have a chance to be in Charlotte at seasons end. The question will be can the Cavaliers replace the experience that has left in the offseason. If so, this could be yet another tough matchup for the Heels in Kenan.
November 14th: @ Pittsburgh
All-Time Meetings: 13 (10–3–0)
Last Meeting: 2018 (38–35 win)
The Panthers were the one team the Heels had no trouble beating under Larry Fedora and one would hope that that success is able to carry over into the Mack Brown era. Pittsburgh will return a solid amount on both sides of the football, but will have to replace some major pieces on both sides, as well, especially at the running back spot.
November 23rd: Mercer
All-Time Meetings: 0
Last Meeting: N/A
This will be the first time that the FCS Bears will meet the Heels and should be a tune-up for the rivalry matchup the next week against NC State. The Bears finished 5–6(4–4) last year.
November 30th: @NC State
All-Time Meetings: 108 (66–36–6)
Last Meeting: 2018 (34–28 loss)
The Heels will close the season with the rivalry matchup against the Wolfpack. Mack Brown will meet the coach who called him “Grandpa Mack” in Dave Doeren. This will be a major chance for the Heels to swing this rivalry back in the right direction. The Wolfpack will have a lot of talent to replace, but that may not matter much at that point of the season. After this past season’s scuffle following the game, expect there to be some extra fuel in the fire for this one.