On Saturday night in Charlotte, two Power Five teams from the Carolinas are set to face each other when the ACC and SEC square off on the gridiron. North Carolina Tar Heels make the in-state trip as they face South Carolina Gamecocks on Bank of America Stadium’s neutral field – the Tar Heels hold a 33-20-4 edge in all-time matchups between these teams overall!
North Carolina had an up-and-down season last year, finishing 9-5 overall and 6-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). They claimed first place in their Coastal Division but fell to Clemson 39-10 in the ACC title game before losing out to Oregon in the Holiday Bowl. Starting 9-1 but dropping their last four games, including a home loss to Georgia Tech, several starters from both sides will return this season, giving North Carolina another shot at an ACC Championship Game spot; whether Clemson or Florida State can oust them remains to be seen – or not!
South Carolina had their share of challenges in 2022. They started off strong at 5-2 before losing two out of three to Florida and Missouri before finding success offensively late in the season. South Carolina stunned #5 Tennessee 63-40 for an upset win and stunned Clemson 31-30 before challenging Notre Dame before falling short in the Gator Bowl. Additionally, Dowell Loggains took over as South Carolina’s new offensive coordinator from Marcus Satterfield, who recently accepted an offensive coordinator role at Nebraska. Defensively, South Carolina must fill key starter roles after losing three starting defensive linemen – including Jordan Burch – and both starting linebackers. Will they build upon scoring 132 points over its final three games or revert back to early season form where struggles prevailed?
Both teams scored plenty of points last season and have dynamic quarterbacks on both sides. It remains to be seen whether Rattler can maintain his impressive scoring output from the final three games or whether that was just an anomaly. With their newly appointed offensive coordinator and several keyholes on both sides of the ball, South Carolina could struggle early in the season to compete. North Carolina, on the other hand, boasts their signal caller and three veteran running backs from last season – all things that could provide them an advantage in keeping pace. Maye is the reigning ACC Player of the Year and can beat you both with his legs and arm. Consistency early in the season is key and with their advantage on both sides of the ball in this regard, Tar Heels take this one to start off their campaign off right.
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