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Ken Medlin

Tar Heels, Gamecocks make the right call

Posted May 10, 2013

Confirming one of the worst-kept secrets in recent memory, North Carolina and South Carolina announced they will open up the 2015 college football season against each other in Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium.

Smart move, Carolina(s).

It's the kind of match-up that has been overdue, the kind of forward-thinking move necessary in today's college football landscape.

Season-opening games of this sort tend to create a buzz of their own, and the bigger the stage the bigger the buzz. Playing this game in an NFL stadium will only stoke the off-season fires in 2015 and the match-up of the two Carolinas in a city which embraces both, makes perfect sense.

The stadium will be packed and the game will be an "event." Let's face it, if the Tar Heels and Gamecocks were opening up against FCS opponents the buzz would be a bit more - well, subdued. But an old-fashioned border war in a border city? On an NFL stage?

There's an added bonus for both schools. Charlotte has become a college football recruiting battleground. Carolina - and by this I mean North Carolina, my apologies to my friends from the Palmetto State - has been trying to make inroads in the Charlotte area for years. But many of the city's best high school football players leave the area to play college football. Just this spring, the Tar Heels held a scrimmage in the Charlotte area - so playing a regular-season game in the Queen City is the next logical step to building a greater presence in the 704 area code.

As for South Carolina, Columbia is actually closer to Charlotte than Chapel Hill - so Mecklenburg County is as much a recruiting backyard for the Gamecocks than it is for the Tar Heels.

If you've spent any time in Kenan Stadium over the last - oh, few decades or so... chances are you've heard the this cheer: 'When you say Carolina, say North Carolina...' That jab harkens back to a time when the Gamecocks were an ACC rival and they too referred to themselves as 'Carolina.' Those conference rivalry days are long gone - four decades and counting - but the natural rivalry of the geography remains. And Charlotte is the perfect border war city for this game.

I'd like to see this game become a staple feature for these two programs. It might never rival the annual Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, but a Carolinas showdown in Charlotte each year would certainly be a lot of fun. If Carolina & Carolina don't want to commit to an annual game, rotate State, Tennessee, Georgia and others into Charlotte each year. The result would undoubtedly be entertaining football on a big stage - the kind of platform which can elevate the profile of college football in this region.

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  • BattlingBishop 5 May 12, 7:26 p.m.

    Interesting this is announced not long after approving almost $90 million dollars for stadium... View More

    — Posted by kornfan2448

    +1....thought the same thing. They both have 2 perfectly good stadiums to play in.

    — Posted by BattlingBishop 5

    So do Georgia and Florida, but they find good reason to play every year in Jacksonville. Same... View More

    — Posted by Ken D.

    Hopefully, they'll make it an annual event. Lots of football fans would welcome that series.

  • Ken D. May 11, 2:05 p.m.

    Any chance that gives the ol ball coach an opportunity to get a scoreboard shot with his team... View More

    — Posted by Leave it to Beaver Reruns

    That's only when he coaches at pitiful dook. They need all the rare kodak moments they can get.... View More

    — Posted by 4tarheels

    Pitiful Duke, the team with way more major bowl games and more ACC titles than the wannabe pro... View More

    — Posted by Leave it to Beaver Reruns

    Things have certainly been average at UNC for a long time. But for the past 46 seasons, while Carolina has hovered a little north .500 in football, Duke has won only 33% of the time with ten different coaches (even including Spurrier's 20-13 record). Nobody who knows anything about college football would suggest that they "own" Carolina, or anybody else. Once players stopped playing both ways (on offense and defense) Duke's fate was sealed.

  • Leave it to Beaver Reruns May 11, 1:28 p.m.

    Any chance that gives the ol ball coach an opportunity to get a scoreboard shot with his team... View More

    — Posted by Leave it to Beaver Reruns

    That's only when he coaches at pitiful dook. They need all the rare kodak moments they can get.... View More

    — Posted by 4tarheels

    Pitiful Duke, the team with way more major bowl games and more ACC titles than the wannabe pro team unC.

    We have sucked for 20+ years and still own the holes in titles. Things must be really pathetic or just average in Chaped Hole.

  • Ken D. May 11, 1:05 p.m.

    Interesting this is announced not long after approving almost $90 million dollars for stadium... View More

    — Posted by kornfan2448

    +1....thought the same thing. They both have 2 perfectly good stadiums to play in.

    — Posted by BattlingBishop 5

    So do Georgia and Florida, but they find good reason to play every year in Jacksonville. Same with Texas and Oklahoma playing in Dallas. If those games weren't mutually beneficial to both sides they wouldn't happen. I still think the schedule would have to expand to 13 regular season games for this to be an annual event, but I believe strongly that will happen within the next few years.

  • kornfan2448 May 11, 12:59 p.m.

    Interesting this is announced not long after approving almost $90 million dollars for stadium... View More

    — Posted by kornfan2448

    +1....thought the same thing. They both have 2 perfectly good stadiums to play in.

    — Posted by BattlingBishop 5

    What makes even less sense is how there's an article in the N&O talking about how Fedora is trying to get more fans at games in Kenan, but then they move games like this one to a neutral site. Makes no sense to me.

  • BattlingBishop 5 May 11, 12:29 p.m.

    Interesting this is announced not long after approving almost $90 million dollars for stadium... View More

    — Posted by kornfan2448

    +1....thought the same thing. They both have 2 perfectly good stadiums to play in.

  • Hammerhead May 11, 10:16 a.m.

    I have tried to make 3 posts on this topic but the WRAL censors have blocked each one because I... View More

    — Posted by cjw6105

    The Gamecox?

  • kornfan2448 May 11, 9:12 a.m.

    Interesting this is announced not long after approving almost $90 million dollars for stadium renovations that the taxpayers will have to flip the bill for. Now the fans of BOTH teams will have to travel if they want to see the game. Seems every year there are more and more opening games being played at neutral sites and treated like bowl games. They're just that, an opening game, and they're getting hyped up based on nothing but potential for the upcoming season.

  • cjw6105 May 10, 9:34 p.m.

    I have tried to make 3 posts on this topic but the WRAL censors have blocked each one because I tried to use the official name of the South Carolina mascot, which starts with a G.

    Get a life, people.

  • cjw6105 May 10, 9:32 p.m.

    May be a great game for the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, but I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of Tar Heel and Game fans (the Game is the official school mascot) would rather the game be played in Chapel Hill and Columbia, not in Charlotte.

    I went to several of the State games that were played in Charlotte, 2 vs UNC and 2 vs ECU. The Thursday night game was a nightmare, as were the other 3 with the Charlotte traffic. The Thursday game (which will be repeated September 5) forced fans to take off work both Thursday and Friday, and either spend big bucks on a motel there or drive home in the middle of the night.

    And if you think the average fan will get decent seats, that'll happen only after the corporates get their pick of the best seats first.

    Once again, big money rules.

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