Tom Sorensen

Charlotte, Bank of America Stadium finally get a football game that counts this week

N.C. State and Jaylen Samuels will play meaningful football in Charlotte on Saturday when the Wolfpack faces South Carolina. It’s about time.
N.C. State and Jaylen Samuels will play meaningful football in Charlotte on Saturday when the Wolfpack faces South Carolina. It’s about time. AP

South Carolina and N.C. State open their college football seasons Saturday at Bank of America, and the timing is impeccable. By Saturday, fans will tire of NFL exhibitions. They’re ready for a game that counts.

The season will be Dave Doeren’s fifth as head coach at N.C. State, and he has more talent than his previous teams had. He better have talent. His team plays in the ACC’s Atlantic Division. The Atlantic features Clemson, Florida State and Louisville.

The ACC’s Coastal Division features, I believe, Presbyterian and Mars Hill.

I like the South Carolina-N.C. State matchup. Why ease into the schedule?

You can't walk into a bar in and around Charlotte without running into a South Carolina or N.C. State graduate. The match-up is a natural. Most seasons, the SEC is the best conference in football, and the Gamecocks have some of the most loyal and patient fans in the sport.

Fans of both schools want to believe. South Carolina or N.C. State will give them a reason.

Go downtown Friday night and in some places Charlotte will feel like a pep fest. On Saturday morning the tailgating will begin at – well, it already has.

This is a good game for both schools. We get major college football, so the game is good for us, too.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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