This is only the sixth (1900, 1940, 1955, 1957 and 2011) time in school history that the No. 18 Bulldogs open a season in Atlanta. Georgia is 18-4 in season openers since 1994; 9-10 against the spread in openers; and 3-1 straight up against ACC foes in season openers (all against Clemson); and 2-3 in openers against ranked foes in that time (2014 W vs. No. 16 Clemson, L 2013 at No. 8 Clemson, L vs. No. 5 Boise State; 2009 L at No. 9 Oklahoma State; 2005 W vs. No. 18 Boise State).
The Bulldogs have not defeated a ranked team since they took down No. 20 Louisville in the Belk Bowl 37-14. In 2015, the Bulldogs lost all but one game (at Auburn +1) where they were only three-point favorites or underdogs. Every other game they played in which they were not four-point favorites or more they lost (Alabama -1, at Tennessee -1 and vs. Florida +3). Compounding things last season, the Bulldogs scored ten points or fewer in the first half of all but two of their final nine games.
In this game, No. 22 North Carolina hopes to build on an 11-3 season that saw the Heels win their ACC division for the first time under coach Larry Fedora. Last year was the first time in nearly two decades that Carolina has won more than ten games in a season (1997). But the Tar Heels lost two of three games straight up where they were underdogs (Beat Georgia Tech (+7), but lost vs. South Carolina (+2) and Clemson (+4)). All three of Carolina’s losses last season came on neutral fields - Charlotte twice and Orlando. Fedora is 1-4 as UNC’s coach on neutral fields. North Carolina is 2-8 in season openers against Power 5 conference schools since 1996.