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Ranking the Toughest Games on North Carolina's Football Schedule in 2015

Author:
Marquise Williams

Marquise Williams

North Carolina plays seven games at Kenan Memorial Stadium and one game in Charlotte. Only four times does UNC play on someone else’s campus. On top of that, North Carolina did not draw Florida State, Clemson or Louisville in crossover games with the ACC Atlantic Division. From that perspective, it seems that Larry Fedora's team has a dream schedule.

However, there are some pitfalls. The Tar Heels’ four toughest games on the season are road contests. They close the regular season by going to Virginia Tech and then hop over to Raleigh to play the Wolfpack. So while Carolina could have a tougher slate, it is not all peaches and cream either.

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Here is the ranking of North Carolina’s 12 regular season games from easiest to most difficult.

12. Sept. 26 vs. Delaware

The Blue Hens, historically, have been an FCS power. But they have slipped recently and by the fourth game of the season North Carolina should have its offense clicking.

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11. Sept. 12 vs. North Carolina A&T

The Aggies were a 9-3 FCS team last year and will be pumped to play the big, in-state power. The Tar Heels have way too much talent, though, and will prevail easily.

10. Oct. 17 vs. Wake Forest

The Heels play the Deacons in the game following Georgia Tech, but there is a week off in between. Even the Heels’ questionable defense should be able to hold down the Deacs’ offense and Carolina should be able to score more than enough to win.

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9. Sept. 19 vs. Illinois

This should be the first real test for Illinois and embattled coach Tim Beckman. UNC will have played South Carolina and should have no trouble piling up points against last year’s No. 112-ranked defense.

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8. Oct. 24 vs. Virginia

Virginia loses a lot off a decent defense and its offense in 2014 was not productive at all. North Carolina has won five in a row against the Cavaliers.

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7. Nov. 14 vs. Miami

This one could be a shootout. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya will find ways to score on UNC, but the Miami defense will be equally hard-pressed to stop Marquise Williams as well.

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6. Nov. 7 vs. Duke

The strong Duke secondary is deep and talented much like the Carolina receiving corps. The Blue Devils fell at home to the Tar Heels last year and will look to return the favor when they make the short drive to Chapel Hill.

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5. Sept. 3 (Thursday) vs. South Carolina (in Charlotte, N.C.)

If you heard Steve Spurrier talk about his team earlier this week, you’d think this would be the easiest game on the Tar Heels’ schedule. But the Ol’ Ball Coach will have Pharoh Cooper and the rest of the Gamecocks ready for opening night.

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4. Nov. 28 at NC State

The Wolfpack host Syracuse the week before the season-ending rivalry tilt. Meanwhile, UNC heads to State following a big road date in Blacksburg, Va. Schedule advantage, NC State.

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3. Oct. 29 (Thursday) at Pittsburgh

It’s never easy playing a game on Saturday then hitting the road for a Thursday night contest. That is what UNC has to do in this spot and containing James Conner, Tyler Boyd and company won’t be much fun either.

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2. Nov. 21 at Virginia Tech

The Heels should have a great offense, but Tech has the defensive personnel to make things difficult for North Carolina. Virginia Tech will be coming off what could be the Coastal game of the year against Georgia Tech, meaning focus could be a concern for the Hokies.

1. Oct. 3 at Georgia Tech

Last season, North Carolina was 117th against the run. Georgia Tech was No. 1 in the nation in rushing offense. New UNC defensive coordinator Gene Chizik knows what he has to do to try and defeat the Yellow Jackets on their home turf.

— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.