It’s official, Auburn and North Carolina will meet in Atlanta early on during the 2020 season.
.@TarHeelFootball & @AuburnFootball will meet on the gridiron for the first time in 19 years at #CFAKickoff 2020.— #CFAKickoff (@CFAPeachBowl) July 12, 2018
: https://t.co/10nD0XdIhE pic.twitter.com/pLFPnW6DxQ
Instead of a true Kickoff Classic that comes on the opening weekend of college football season, the Tigers and Tar Heels will meet on September 12th as part of a multi-week “celebration” of college football in Atlanta. Auburn’s game will UNC will be part of a trio at Mercedes-Benz Stadium that includes West Virginia vs Florida State (September 5th) and Georgia vs Virginia (September 7th - Labor Day).
Auburn’s met North Carolina only three times in recent memory: a loss in the 2001 Peach Bowl, and then back-to-back wins against the Heels in 1987-88. If you want to go way back into the vault, Auburn’s third game ever in 1892 was a 64-0 defeat at the hands of the Heels.
Either way, this is the type of non-conference game that works well for Auburn. Over the past few seasons, Auburn’s started slow and had to deal with a top team right out of the gate. Both Clemson losses may have been wins if they were later in the schedule, and we’ll see exactly how things shape up against Washington to open the upcoming year.
It would’ve been nice to see a team that Auburn has never played make an appearance —
There's a lot of teams Auburn football has never played - 42 in fact.https://t.co/JIeHLT2YMs pic.twitter.com/jMDZh1NNZs— Clint Richardson (@Clintau24) July 19, 2017
— but all the same, North Carolina is a regional opponent, with a great TV market attached, and it’s a team that ought to be able to bring fans to give the game a fun atmosphere. Over the past few seasons, they’ve been mostly average, with one 11-3 season coming in 2015. Last year, the Tar Heels only went 3-9.
Of the schools in the tweet above, Auburn will be crossing some unplayed opponents off the list. They’ll meet Washington this year, obviously, and then Cal in the 2023-2024 seasons. Of the non-Power Five teams, Kent State, UMass, and Georgia State are all on the schedule over the next few seasons as well.
If we look at the schedule for the upcoming years, Auburn’s non-conference looks this way:
vs Washington (Atlanta, GA), vs Alabama State, vs Southern Miss, vs Liberty
vs Oregon (Arlington, TX), vs Tulane, vs Kent State, vs Samford
vs North Carolina (Atlanta, GA), vs Southern Miss, vs UMass, vs Alabama A&M
at Penn State, vs Georgia State, vs Alabama State
vs Penn State, vs Western Kentucky, vs Mercer
The Tigers are set with the required Power Five opponent over the next several years, and they still need some filler games for all years after 2020. Either way, Auburn vs North Carolina is official, and it’s a game that should be fun (and hopefully a solid win for the Tigers).