"We have another challenging schedule that our players, coaches and fans will enjoy," said head coach John Bunting. "I know our team relishes the challenge of playing a difficult schedule both within the ACC and in our non-conference games. With seven home games in Kenan Stadium, it should be a exciting fall in Chapel Hill."
North Carolina's non-conference schedule is highlighted by a trip to South Bend, Ind. to face Notre Dame on Nov. 4. It marks the first time Carolina has played in South Bend since 1971, Bunting's senior season.
"My senior year we played up there and it was a tight game until the fourth quarter," said Bunting of the Tar Heels 16-0 loss. "It's going to be a tremendous challenge again, but I look forward to returning to South Bend as coach of the Tar Heels."
Carolina is 1-15 all-time against the Fighting Irish with the lone victory coming in a 12-7 decision in Chapel Hill in 1960. The Tar Heels last faced Notre Dame in 1975 at Kenan Stadium, falling 21-14.
The Tar Heels open the season against Rutgers of the Big East Conference. The Scarlet Knights finished 7-5 in 2005, advancing to their first postseason bowl game in 27 years before falling to Arizona State, 49-45, in the Insight Bowl. Rutgers owns the series advantage, 2-0, but the schools have not met since 1919. This will be Rutgers' first trip to Chapel Hill.
UNC's other two non-conference opponents are South Florida, which lost to NC State in the Meineke Bowl, and Furman, which advanced to the semifinals of the 2005 Division I-AA playoffs before losing to eventual national champion Appalachian State. Carolina has never faced South Florida and is 4-1 against Furman all-time, including a 28-3 loss in the most recent meeting in 1999.
Other Schedule Notes:
* Carolina and Virginia will play on Thursday, October 19. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN. It is the Tar Heels' first ESPN Thursday night game since 2001.
* Carolina faces NC State on Nov. 18 in Chapel Hill. That is the latest in the season Carolina has faced the Wolfpack since beating NC State in overtime, 37-34, on Nov. 28, 1998, in Charlotte.
* The Tar Heels return to Miami for the second consecutive season on Saturday, Oct. 7.
* Wake Forest returns to the Tar Heels' schedule in 2006 on Saturday, October 28. Last year was the first time the two schools had not met since 1943.
* Wake Forest, Clemson and NC State are North Carolina's Atlantic Division foes in 2006. The Tar Heels do not face Boston College, Florida State or Maryland this year.
North Carolina 2006 Football Schedule
Sept. 2 - Rutgers
Sept. 9 - Virginia Tech
Sept. 16 - Furman
Sept. 23 - at Clemson
Sept. 30 - Open
Oct. 7 - at Miami
Oct. 14 - South Florida
Oct. 19 (Thurs.) - at Virginia
Oct. 28 - Wake Forest
Nov. 4 - at Notre Dame
Nov. 11 - Georgia Tech
Nov. 18 - NC State
Nov. 25 - at Duke