UNC will get a chance to shine in the national spotlight early in the 2013 college football season. So will N.C. State.
And for the first time since 2009, the Tar Heels, Wolfpack and Duke will all get a crack at each other in November.
The ACC released the dates of the football schedule on Monday it previously had released the opponents. UNC will open the season at South Carolina on Aug. 29 on ESPN. The Tar Heels, who went 8-4 in Larry Fedoras first season in 2012, will also host a Thursday night game on ESPN in October.
The Wolfpack, in coach Dave Doerens first season, will play eight home games, including the first four of the season. The Pack gets likely preseason ACC favorite Clemson in a Thursday night showcase game on ESPN on Sept. 19.
"Opening up with four straight games at home allows Wolfpack Nation to have a huge influence on jump starting our 2013 season," Doeren said in a statement released by the school.
UNC, which has only hosted one Thursday night game at Kenan Stadium (a 30-27 loss to Florida State in 2009), will face Miami on ESPN on Thursday, Oct. 17.
The expanded, 14-team ACC, with the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, will have eight primetime games on ESPN, including a Labor Day matchup between Florida State and Pittsburgh, and a Friday night game between Wake Forest and Boston College on Sept. 6.
The Tar Heels season-opening trip South Carolina was facilitated by ESPN, which had helped UNC get a spot in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff in 2010 by rearranging the Gamecocks schedule.
"Opening the season on the road at South Carolina is a great motivator for our offseason workouts and provides us with a tremendous opportunity on national television," Fedora said in a statement released by UNC.
North Carolina, which returns quarterback Bryn Renner but has to replace All-ACC running back Giovani Bernard, hasnt opened with a true road game since 2005. Both the Wolfpack and Blue Devils will open at home on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Doerens first game is against Louisiana Tech, which will also be the debut of former ECU coach Skip Holtz with the Bulldogs. Duke hosts Durham neighbor N.C. Central.
Doerens first game against the Tar Heels will be Nov. 2. The next Saturday the Wolfpack goes to Duke and the Blue Devils finish the regular season at UNC on Nov. 30. Both UNC and N.C. State will get a visit from East Carolina this season.
Duke, 6-7 a year ago, beat UNC last season and the Tar Heels beat N.C. State. This will be only the third time since the ACC expanded before the 2004 season that Duke and N.C. State will play in football. Duke won the last meeting in 2009.
N.C. State is in transition after a 7-6 finish in 2012. Doeren, who led Northern Illinois to a 12-win season and the Orange Bowl, was hired to replace Tom OBrien in December.
The Wolfpack also needs to replace Mike Glennon, expected to be one of the first quarterbacks taken in the NFL draft. The Packs new quarterback wont have to go on the road until Oct. 5 (at Wake Forest) and will only have to leave the state twice at FSU on Oct. 26 and at Boston College on Nov. 16.
Duke is trying to put together back-to-back bowl trips for the first time in school history. The Blue Devils avoid Clemson and Florida State (as does UNC) in the ACC and has a chance to sweep its nonconference games (N.C. Central, at Memphis, Troy and Navy).
The Blue Devils close the season with consecutive in-state road trips at Wake Forest on Nov. 23 and then at UNC.
Both new ACC teams visit the Triangle. N.C. State hosts Syracuse, which will be in the Atlantic Division, on Oct. 12. Pittsburgh, which is in the Coastal Division, goes to Duke on Sept. 21 and UNC visits the Panthers on Nov. 16.
This will be Marylands final season in the ACC, before jumping to the Big Ten. The Terrapins last ACC football game will be in Raleigh on Nov. 30 against N.C. State.
The most anticipated game on the ACC schedule will likely be Florida States trip to Clemson on Oct. 19. The Tigers also play the most interesting game of the nonconference schedule. They host Georgia both teams will likely open the season in the top 10 nationally on Aug. 31.