The North Carolina football program is three days away from kicking off its season at Bank of America Stadium against South Carolina.
College GameDay will cover the highly anticipated game as a top matchup. Both teams want to make a statement with two high-powered offenses that can explode.
UNC and South Carolina are on the same playing field, close to one another in rankings, with the Tar Heels entering this game ranked No. 21 in the AP Poll. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks did not crack the top 25. However, they received the second most votes (73) to join the list.
Neither team is predicted to make the college football playoffs, but a statement win could change that prediction.
North Carolina is favored to win this matchup on the books. It will be intriguing to see if they can kick the season off, covering the spread and delivering a week one statement.
Key to victory for UNC
The key to unlocking the victory for UNC is a heavy run game. This is arguably one of the most loaded UNC running back rooms in recent memory, with Omarion Hampton and British Brooks splitting the workload.
Focusing on the run game is critical, especially looking at South Carolina’s weakness last season, struggling to stop the run. The Gamecocks allowed an average of 198 rushing yards per game, and with wide receiver Tez Walker’s status in the air, it may be a good thing to keep it on the ground.
Something to watch
The focal point to watch for is how North Carolina’s game plan looks with the new staff. The most prominent being the offensive coordinator change, with Chip Lindsey now leading that role.
UNC might not have made the playoffs last season, but the offense was not the reason. The offense showed a dominant passing attack last season, so the offensive coordinator change is a scare, especially when you see how well Phil Longo did with Sam Howell and Drake Maye.
However, some calls left fans wondering if there is room for opportunity in the passing attack, so it will be intriguing to see how early before Lindsey lets Maye attack the defense with deep balls.
What you need to know
WHAT? North Carolina Tar Heels (0-0) vs. South Carolina (0-0)
WHEN? Saturday, Sept. 2nd, 7:30 p.m. ET
WHERE? Bank Of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV? ESPN (Watch and stream the game live on ESPN+)
RADIO? Tar Heels Sports Network
WEATHER? 81 degrees, Wind: 6mph
LAST MEETING? 2021, USC 38-21
ALL-TIME SERIES? UNC leads 35-20-4
PREDICTION? UNC 31, USC 17