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Heel Tough Blog: 2023 Schedule Breakdown

@GreatDayTarHeel- Twitter

Monday night, the ACC officially revealed their schedules for the 2023 season, the first with divisions officially scrapped. The Tar Heels found out their full schedule for next season where they will try to take another step after four straight losses to close the 2022 season. Here is a full breakdown of that 2023 slate for Mack Brown and Carolina.

April 15th: Spring Game

This game won’t be nearly as hyped as it was a year ago when there was a battle for the starting quarterback job, but this will still be huge for this team. This will be the first look at the ten transfers that the team added this season, as well as the overhauled defense after multiple important departures.

September 2nd: vs. South Carolina in Charlotte

For the third time in five seasons, the Tar Heels will be meeting the Gamecocks in Charlotte as they look to start their season off with a big victory. The Gamecocks, like the Tar Heels, have seen plenty of turnover this offseason, but still possess a ton of firepower on the offensive side of the football. Not only will both teams be working through roster changes this offseason, but they will also be implementing new offensive systems under first-year offensive coordinators. This could be a bit of an ugly one resembling the 2015 matchup, but hopefully this time the Tar Heels can close it out with a victory.

September 9th: Appalachian State

For a second straight season, the Tar Heels will face the Mountaineers, this time in Chapel Hill. The 2022 season was a rough one on the mountain after an exciting start, meaning this will be a motivated bunch coming in. The last time these two met in Kenan Stadium, the Mountaineers pulled the upset with a last second blocked field goal. This season’s wild win in Boone should have the Tar Heels feeling confident heading in, but they will need to avoid taking this one lightly, especially if they drop the season opener.

September 16th: Minnesota

The Tar Heels will host the first ever matchup between them and the Gophers in the third straight home game to begin the season. P.J. Fleck has built them into a really solid team year in and year out but the 2023 team will be navigating some hurdles this season with some veteran offensive players having to be replaced. This will be a nice test for the team early in the season and could be a big swing game for the team depending on how the first two games play out.

September 23rd: @ Pittsburgh

The Tar Heels first conference game will provide a stiff test as they travel on the road to Pittsburgh looking for their first win there since 2017. The Panthers will be undergoing a lot of change this season with major departures on both sides of the football, but there is still enough talent for this team to finish in the top half of the conference this season behind new transfer quarterback Phil Jurkovec. This will be the stiffest test of the early portion of the ACC schedule.

September 30th: BYE WEEK

Just like this past season, the team will have a relatively early bye and it may be needed after this start to the season. This will allow the team to get healthy before a crucial stretch where they will have to stack some wins.

October 7th: Syracuse

The Orange kick off a run of three straight home games for the team in the heart of the 2023 slate. Dino Babers' crew showed this past year that they are still fighting for him, but they have some major work to do this offseason. The team has to replace both coordinators along with some major production on both sides of the football, but quarterback Garrett Shrader, who was a big piece of the success in 2022 does return. This is one the Tar Heels will have to win, though, if this team is what we think it can be this year.

October 14th: Miami

This is another swing game on the schedule for the Tar Heels in 2023, but the Hurricanes are a team that the program has thrived against. They are still a team trying to find themselves after a rough first season under Mario Cristobal and they will be doing so with a new offensive coordinator after they parted ways with Josh Gattis after one season. Their success will hinge on the arm of Tyler Van Dyke, who needs to respond after a rocky 2022, and the improvement of a defense that was picked apart at times. This will be the toughest of the three games in this home stretch, but it is certainly a winnable one.

October 21st: Virginia

The Tar Heels struggled through the game with the Cavaliers in Charlottesville in 2022, but with them coming to Chapel Hill this year, this should be one of the easier games on the schedule. Tony Elliot’s squad, which already struggled so badly in his first season, will have to replace a ton of production on both sides of the football, including the majority of the passing offense. This might be the Tar Heels easiest game outside of the matchup with FCS opponent Campbell later in the season.

October 28th: @ Georgia Tech

Don’t get it wrong, the Yellow Jackets aren’t a team that will probably be contending for anything more than a bowl berth in 2023, but they simply have the Tar Heels number. Each of the last two years, they have been the team that has derailed the Tar Heels season and they could have a similar opportunity again this season. The transfer portal additions like  quarterback Haynes King and wide receiver Chase Lane will play a major role in what this team looks like, but they will have to navigate the departures of some key defensive players including star pass rusher Keion White. This is a hump that the Tar Heels have to be able to get over this season, especially with the finish this team has.

November 4th: Campbell

The Tar Heels will face the Camels for the first time in program history to start out an interesting month of November. Mike Minter’s squad is coming off a 5-6 season with one of the tougher schedules in the FCS. This should be a comfortable win for the Tar Heels to build a little momentum for a difficult three week stretch to close the season.

November 11th: Duke

The home stretch begins with the Duke traveling to Chapel Hill after a miraculous win by the Tar Heels in Durham this past season. It was an amazing first season for the Blue Devils under Mike Elko and there is reason to believe that success could carry over into 2023. Nearly every major contributor from a year ago returns, including quarterback Riley Leonard, who was one of the bigger surprises in the conference this past season. This is the most winnable of the final three games of the season and could be a crucial one for the Tar Heels if they are in the hunt for another ACC Championship Game appearance.

November 18th: @ Clemson

For the first time since 2014 the Tar Heels will be heading to Death Valley to take on Clemson in a rematch of the ACC Championship Game. This is a tough spot to catch the Tigers, especially if the way-too-early predictions play out and this is a battle for the second spot in the ACC Championship Game to play Florida State. Many are looking at Clemson as a dark horse to jump back into national title contention again with the hire of Garrett Riley as the offensive coordinator to pair with a defense that should be tops in the ACC once again. This will easily be the toughest test of the season.

November 25th: @ NC State

Just like with Georgia Tech, the Tar Heels have to feel like they owe the Wolfpack one after the way that the last two matchups have gone. This year’s game has been moved back to Saturday after residing on Black Friday since 2016. The Wolfpack will have some change to deal with, mainly on offense, but the additions of Robert Anae at offensive coordinator and Brennan Armstrong at quarterback have many encouraged about their chances for 2023. The defense will have a chance to rival Clemson’s again this season with nearly everyone back, as well. This will be another tough matchup for the Tar Heels, but this will likely have to be a win to get back to Charlotte for another ACC Championship Game.

Early Projected Record: 9-3


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