UNC Football: Will Tar Heels still play Auburn Tigers in 2020?

The UNC football program was slated to play Auburn in 2020, but the marquee non-conference matchup is in serious jeopardy.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Atlantic Coast Conference released its plan for the 2020 college football season. Included in the plan is the outline for an 11-game season in which all but one matchup will be played against conference opponents. And the one non-conference game that each program can schedule must be within the home state of the individual ACC member.

That makes the Tar Heels’ inter-conference matchup against the Auburn Tigers nearly impossible, since the game was slated to be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, the only way that the marquee non-conference matchup could be played is within the state of North Carolina.

But would it make sense for Auburn to schedule what essentially ends up being a road game against a team as good as North Carolina? Probably not. Could the two programs work up some sort of home-and-home deal that involves matchups in future seasons? Or potentially involve the basketball program, too? Those all seem like non-starters at this point, given that the season is just around the corner. And with that in mind, the Tar Heels’ lose at least one opportunity for big wins on the 2020 season.

We do know now that the Tar Heels will face Notre Dame, who will be a full-time ACC member in 2020, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest at home this season. On the road they’ll face Boston College, Duke, Florida State, Miami and Virginia. Getting both Notre Dame and Virginia Tech at home is fortuitous for UNC, as is not having to take on Clemson until the ACC Championship Game, should both teams make it that far.

Along with Auburn, the Tar Heels were scheduled to take on UCF the as part of their 2020 non-conference schedule. For now, that looks to be another game that is unlikely to happen unless a whole lot of things change between now and the month of September.

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