A preview of Thursday’s college football season openers for games involving schools from the Carolinas:
CHARLOTTE AT NO. 19 LOUISVILLE
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, 7 p.m., Fox Sports Carolinas
The 49ers will face their first Top 25 opponent when they visit the 19th-ranked Cardinals. … Charlotte, 2-10 last season, returns 15 starters but was picked to finish last in Conference USA this season. … Louisville returns 17 starters from last year’s 8-5 team, and was picked to finish third in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. ... The Cardinals return preseason All-ACC picks Keith Kesey and Devonte Fields at linebacker and defensive tackle DeAngelo Brown. ... Charlotte is led by preseason All-Conference USA running back Kalif Phillips and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi. ... It will be the debut of 49ers starting quarterback Kevin Olsen, a transfer from Riverside (Calif.) City Community College and the brother of Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen.
APPALACHIAN STATE AT NO. 9 TENNESSEE
Neyland Stadium, Knoxville, Tenn., 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
This is the teams’ first meeting. ... Appalachian State, 11-2 last season, returns 17 starters and is the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt title. … Tennessee, which finished 9-4 last season, is favored to win the SEC’s Eastern Division. ... Appalachian State is led by junior quarterback Taylor Lamb, who accounted for 36 touchdowns last season, including a school-record 31 passing, five rushing. ...Vols junior Joshua Dobbs is the preseson All-SEC quarterback after passing for 2,291 yards and 15 TDs in 2015
TULANE AT WAKE FOREST
BB&T Field, Winston-Salem, 7 p.m.
The Deacons and Green Wave meet for the first time in 21 years. … Tulane leads the all-time series 2-0, with wins over Wake Forest in 1995 and 1959. … Both teams were 3-9 in 2015. … Former Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz makes his debut as Green Wave coach.
WILLIAM & MARY AT N.C. STATE
Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, 7:30 p.m.
The Wolfpack begins its season at home against the Colonial Athletic’s Tribe. … N.C. State leads the series 12-8-6, but the teams have only played three times since 1980, all Wolfpack wins. … Jimmye Laycock begins his 37th season as William & Mary’s coach with a 238-174-2 record.
SOUTH CAROLINA AT VANDERBILT (0-0)
Vanderbilt Stadium, Nashville, Tenn., 8 p.m., ESPN
Will Muschamp makes his debut as the Gamecocks’ coach, opening the 2016 season against SEC rival Commodores. … South Carolina, 21-4 all-time against Vanderbilt, has won the series’ past seven games. … The Gamecocks were picked to finish last in the SEC’s Eastern Division and the Commodores fifth.