ELON (0-0) AT UNC (0-0)
PREGAME CHATTER: A new era begins this afternoon in Chapel Hill, where the only thing that matters will be the brand of football played on the field.
First-year coach Larry Fedora sends North Carolina onto the field against FBS opponent Elon. It has been an offseason of academic fraud talk, cell phone court hearings and the Tar Heels’ one-year bowl ban.
North Carolina should have the edge in all phases of the game as it debuts a new offensive attack and an energetic coach who wants to put all the attention back between the hashmarks.
WHAT IT MEANS: It’s always nice to open the season with an intra-state matchup. The Kenan Stadium crowd should be full. Elon would love to pull off a Week 1 shocker against it toughest opponent of the year.
KICKOFF: 12:30 p.m.
TV/RADIO: 106.1-WRDU F.M.
APP. STATE (0-0) AT ECU (0-0)
PREGAME CHATTER: This is a pivotal year for East Carolina. Not only do the Pirates need to replace their long-time starting quarterback, but it’s a rubber year for coach Ruffin McNeill. McNeill was great in his first season – leading ECU to a a bowl. Last year, despite just one fewer victory, the Pirates’ season was considered by some to have fallen well short of the intended finish.
WHAT IT MEANS: Like last year, ECU’s nonconference schedule is not easy. After this week, the Pirates will play No. 9 South Carolina and North Carolina before playing Navy later in the year. This is the best chance to win a game in the first four weeks, because the next three are on the road.
KICKOFF: 12 p.m.
TV/RADIO:FSN/107.9 WNCT FM
FLORIDA INT. (0-0) AT DUKE (0-0)
PREGAME CHATTER: The Blue Devils are 2-6 in their past eight home openers and haven’t beaten an FBS opponent in Week 1 since 2002. Duke needs a 1-0 start if it thinks it can turn the tides of a traditionally down program.
WHAT IT MEANS: Duke’s goal this season is to make a bowl. If the Blue Devils are going to reach the mandated six wins, tonight’s game is a must-have. Four of Duke’s opponents this year are currently ranked 21st or higher. That means the Devils can’t afford a letdown against the Golden Panthers.
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m.
TV/RADIO: ESPN3.com/WTIB (103.7 FM)
OHIO NO. (0-0) AT NCWC (0-0)
PREGAME CHATTER: Ohio Northern beat N.C. Wesleyan, 38-20, a season ago. The Polar Bears are one of the better teams on the Battling Bishops’ schedule once again this season, providing N.C. Wesleyan with a prime opportunity to improve before USA South games begin in a few weeks.
WHAT IT MEANS: This is a gauge game for the Bishops. Last season was the worst year in school history, and a tough opponent from a good conference is the best way to measure progress. KICKOFF: 1 p.m.
TV/RADIO: Streaming live at ncwcsports.com
– Jessie H. Nunery, Justin Hite & Nick Piotrowicz