The Tar Heels are coming off of a 7-6 season that ended with a 39-17 bowl win over the Cincinnati Bearcats, which was the first of hopefully many bowl wins under the tenure of second year head coach Larry Fedora.
The ACC released the schedule for the 2014 football season last week on January 22nd. The Heels are set to play six games in Kenan Memorial Stadium and six games on the road. The Tar Heels will face ten teams that had winning seasons in 2013 with nine of those opponents playing in a bowl game. Five of those schools, San Diego State, East Carolina, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh, won their respective bowl game. Three of the teams, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Duke, all finished the season ranked in the Top 25 in the AP poll and in the Top 25 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Let’s take a closer look at the non-conference schedule for the North Carolina Tar Heels this upcoming season:
Aug. 30th – Liberty
This will be the first time the Liberty Flames will have played the Tar Heels in the program’s history. The Flames, an FCS school, finished last season with an 8-4 overall record and a 4-1 finish in the Big South. This will also be the third time in the past four years that Liberty will open up their season against an ACC opponent. Liberty started the season against N.C. State in 2011 and Wake Forest in 2012, losing both times.
Sept. 6th – San Diego State
The Aztecs of San Diego State will take a trip to Chapel Hill to face off against the Tar Heels in week two. This will be the second time the two programs will have played each other. The last time the two played was in the 1998 Las Vegas bowl, where the Heels, led by former NFL wide receiver and former UNC quarterback Ronald Curry, won 20-13 over the Aztecs. San Diego State finished the 2013 season with an 8-5 overall record and a 49-24 win over the Buffalo Bulls in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Sept. 20th – at East Carolina
The Tar Heels will finish off their non-conference play when they travel to play the Pirates of ECU. The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with the Pirates 12-3-1. If the 2009 win for the Tar Heels, which was technically vacated, is being counted as vacated, then the Tar Heels lead the series 11-3-1. The series between the teams started back in 1972. The Pirates finished last season with a 10-3 overall record, including wins over the Tar Heels and that red and white team in Raleigh, and a 37-20 win over the Ohio Bobcats in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl.