Last season, North Carolina faced the most difficult schedule in the country according to the Sagarin rankings. The 2005 slate features seven teams that were ranked in the top 25 of the final Associated Press poll, including No. 4 Utah (12-0), No. 6 Louisville (11-1), No. 10 Virginia Tech (10-3), No. 11 Miami (9-3), No. 17 Wisconsin (9-3), No. 21 Boston College (9-3) and No. 23 Virginia (8-4). The combined record of Carolina's 2005 opponents last season was 87-43 (.669).
"I thought last year's schedule was one of the most challenging we had ever faced, but the 2005 schedule may be tougher," said head coach John Bunting. "The players and coaches both enjoy the challenge of facing some of the best programs in the country each season. I think this type of schedule will help us continue to build our program."
A quirk in the 2005 home schedule features North Carolina playing host to Virginia on Oct. 22 which occurs during the University's Fall Break.
"We have another attractive schedule for our fans and a demanding one for our team," says Director of Athletics Dick Baddour. "Wisconsin and Utah were two of the best programs in the nation last year and our fans will enjoy seeing us play those two programs in Kenan Stadium. We are disappointed that the Virginia game will be played during fall break. We requested to have an open date or play on the road that weekend, but unfortunately the league office was unable to accommodate our request for various scheduling reasons. We understand it happens from time to time that the schedule makers are unable to accommodate every school's requests, but we are disappointed for our students. However, we will work with student leaders and University officials to do whatever we can to help our students attend that important rivalry game."
For the first time since 2001, Carolina does not end the regular season against in-state rival Duke. In 2001, Carolina's home game with SMU was moved to December 1 after games were delayed due to terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11. Since 1980, Carolina and Duke have met in the regular season finale 21 of 25 times.
Instead, North Carolina finishes the year at defending ACC Champion Virginia Tech on November 26. It is the first time Carolina has visited Blacksburg, Va., since 1930 when the Tar Heels won 39-21. That is the only time Carolina has faced the Hokies on the road in a series that Virginia Tech leads, 12-9-6. Nineteen of those meetings came at neutral sites. Last year, Virginia Tech downed the Tar Heels 27-24 in Chapel Hill.
Carolina also plays at Miami for the first time since 1961. Last season, Carolina scored its first ever win over a top five program with a 31-28 victory over the fourth-ranked Hurricanes in Kenan Stadium. Carolina leads the series with Miami, 5-3.
For the first time since ACC play began in 1953, Carolina and Wake Forest will not meet on the gridiron this season. In fact, the two schools have met every year since 1944 and the North Carolina-Wake Forest contest is the 16th most-played rivalry in NCAA history. The Deacons will be back on the Tar Heels schedule in 2006.
After falling to Boston College, 37-24, in the Continental Tire Bowl on December 30, Carolina will seek to avenge that loss when the Eagles visit Kenan Stadium on November 5. It is only the second time Boston College has played in Chapel Hill and the first since 1981 when Carolina won 56-14.
After a one-year hiatus, Carolina plays Maryland in Chapel Hill on November 12. The Tar Heels do not face Florida State in 2005 and are not schedule to face the Seminoles again until 2009.
North Carolina 2005 ACC Football Schedule
Sept. 10 at Georgia Tech
Sept. 17 Wisconsin
Sept. 24 at NC State
Oct. 1 Utah
Oct. 8 at Louisville
Oct. 22 Virginia
Oct. 29 at Miami
Nov. 5 Boston College
Nov. 12 Maryland
Nov. 19 Duke
Nov. 26 at Virginia Tech