The 2019 football season will begin with a bang in North Carolina, with three high-profile game on the opening week schedule involving the state’s ACC teams.
The marquee matchup has Duke taking on national runnerup Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic on Saturday, Aug. 31 at Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium.
That same day, North Carolina will make its debut under new/old coach Mack Brown with another battle against an SEC opponent when the Tar Heels take on South Carolina at Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium in the Belk College Kickoff.
NC State will open its season on Aug. 31 with an in-state rivalry game against East Carolina at Carter-Finley Stadium in a rematch of last year’s season finale. The game will mark the first with the Pirates for new coach Mike Houston.
Wake Forest, meanwhile, will kick things off a day earlier with a Friday night matchup against Utah State at BB&T Stadium.
Other highlights of the 2019 ACC schedule, which was released by the conference on Wednesday, includes a rare nonconference meeting between ACC foes UNC and Wake Forest, scheduled for Thursday night, Sept. 12 in Winston-Salem.
The Tar Heels will also play host to Clemson on Sept. 28, marking the Tigers’ first trip to Chapel Hill since 2010 and the first time a reigning national championship has ever visited Kenan Stadium.
In addition to the game at Wake, UNC will also play three other in-state opponents — Appalachian State on Sept. 21, Duke on Oct. 26 and a season-ending rivalry game at NC State on Nov. 30.
The Wolfpack will follow its opener against ECU with a home game against Western Carolina before taking to the road for the first time at West Virginia on Sept. 14. The remaining home games for coach Dave Doeren’s team are against Ball State on Sept. 21, Syracuse on Oct. 10, Clemson on Nov. 9, Louisville on Nov. 16 and UNC.
The Syracuse game will be on a Thursday night, as will the Wolfpack’s away game at Georgia Tech on Nov. 21.
The early matchup with Alabama is just one of two games against 2018 College Football Playoff participants. The Blue Devils will welcome Notre Dame to Wallace Wade Stadium on Nov. 9.
Coach David Cutcliffe’s team will also play a team from the MEAC, only instead of cross-town rival NC Central, next season’s opponent will be two-time defending league champion NC A&T. The Blue Devils have one prime time weeknight game, on Friday, Sept. 27 at Virginia Tech.
The distinguishing feature on Wake’s schedule is the abundance of early season home games. Six of the Deacons’ seven home games will be played in the first eight dates, with three of the last four coming on the road — including a Nov. 16 trip to Clemson’s Death Valley.
Because the 2019 season will be spread over 14 weeks instead of the usual 13, each team will have two open dates. The ACC Championship Game will be played in Charlotte on Dec. 7.
Also of note, the long-anticipated debut of the ACC Network will kick off on Aug. 22 with the first live game broadcast coming on Thursday night, Aug. 29 with Georgia Tech’s game at Clemson.
Here are the complete schedules for all four state ACC teams:
Aug. 31 vs. Alabama (Chick-fi l-A Kickoff Game, Atlanta, Ga.)
Sept. 7 NORTH CAROLINA A&T
Sept. 14 at Middle Tennessee
Sept. 27 at Virginia Tech (Fri.)
Oct. 5 PITT
Oct. 12 GEORGIA TECH
Oct. 19 at Virginia
Oct. 26 at North Carolina
Nov. 9 NOTRE DAME
Nov. 16 SYRACUSE
Nov. 23 at Wake Forest
Nov. 30 MIAMI
Aug. 31 vs. South Carolina (Belk College Kickoff , Charlotte)
Sept. 7 MIAMI
Sept. 12 at Wake Forest (Thurs.) (non-conference)
Sept. 21 APPALACHIAN STATE
Sept. 28 CLEMSON
Oct. 5 at Georgia Tech
Oct. 19 at Virginia Tech
Oct. 26 DUKE Nov. 2 VIRGINIA
Nov. 14 at Pitt (Thurs.)
Nov. 23 MERCER
Nov. 30 at NC State
Aug. 31 EAST CAROLINA
Sept. 7 WESTERN CAROLINA
Sept. 14 at West Virginia
Sept. 21 BALL STATE
Sept. 28 at Florida State
Oct. 10 SYRACUSE (Thurs.)
Oct. 19 at Boston College
Nov. 2 at Wake Forest
Nov. 9 CLEMSON
Nov. 16 LOUISVILLE
Nov. 21 at Georgia Tech (Thurs.)
Nov. 30 NORTH CAROLINA
Aug. 30 UTAH STATE (Fri.)
Sept. 7 at Rice
Sept. 12 NORTH CAROLINA (Thurs.) (non-conference)
Sept. 21 ELON
Sept. 28 at Boston College
Oct. 12 LOUISVILLE
Oct. 19 FLORIDA STATE
Nov. 2 NC STATE
Nov. 9 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 16 at Clemson
Nov. 23 DUKE
Nov. 30 at Syracuse