Huge news broke on Thursday afternoon surrounding the future of the 2020 season for college football as a whole. After yesterday’s announcement from the FCS Ivy League that they would be postponing all fall sports, including football, the dominos began to fall.
Earlier this afternoon, The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach was the first to report that the Big Ten was strongly considering going to a conference-only schedule for fall sports, including football. The conference would release a statement just before 4:00 PM confirming the decision and announcing that details for each sport will be released at a later time.
As expected, that decision had an immediate chain reaction, as multiple sources are reporting that both the Pac-12 and, more importantly for the Tar Heels, the ACC are expected to follow suit in the next couple of days. Stadium’s Brett McMurphy said that nothing has been set in stone at the time, but part of that is likely due to the fact that the other major conferences were not expecting this announcement to come so early from the Big Ten. McMurphy also reported that the ACC would be willing to assist Notre Dame in their scheduling because of their current relationship with the conference.
If the ACC was to go through with this plan, which seems inevitable, there would be some significant changes to the Tar Heels’ schedule. For the second time in three seasons, the Tar Heels would have to cancel a matchup with Central Florida after the 2018 matchup between the two teams in Chapel Hill was canceled due to the effects from Hurricane Florence. This would also remove the highly anticipated matchup that was scheduled to take place in Atlanta between the Tar Heels and the Auburn Tigers, a game that could have been used as a gauge for where this program is as a whole and would have featured a great quarterback matchup between two of last year’s top true freshman quarterbacks. This move would also cancel out-of-conference home matchups with James Madison and Connecticut.
With the conference-only schedule in place, the Tar Heels would open the season with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at home on September 26th and would be the first time the Tar Heels have opened a season with an ACC opponent since 2005 when they opened with the Yellow Jackets as well.
We will continue to have full coverage of this and all of the storylines surrounding COVID-19 and its effects on Tar Heel athletics.