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2009 schedule analysis: North Carolina

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

NORTH CAROLINA

Nonconference schedule
Combined 2008 record: 27-23
FCS teams: 2
BCS teams: 1
Bowl teams: 2

Sept. 5 The Citadel
Sept. 12 at Connecticut
Sept. 19 East Carolina
Oct. 10 Georgia Southern

Analysis: This is not a very challenging schedule, considering there are two FCS teams from the Southern Conference who combined to win 10 games last year, and Connecticut won just three Big East games WITH Donald Brown. East Carolina won its first Conference USA championship in 2008 and quarterback Patrick Pinkney was granted a sixth year of eligibility, but the Heels will have home-field advantage. If UNC is going to be a top 25 team, it should go 4-0 against this schedule.

ACC schedule
Sept. 26 at Georgia Tech
Oct. 3 Virginia
Oct. 17 Open
Oct. 22 Florida State
Oct. 29 at Virginia Tech
Nov. 7 Duke
Nov. 14 Miami
Nov. 21 at Boston College
Nov. 28 at NC State

Analysis: The bye week comes at a good time, as back-to-back Thursday night games in October against Florida State and at Virginia Tech will mark the most challenging stretch of the schedule. First the Heels have to get past Georgia Tech in Atlanta. They should have some confidence from last year's 28-7 win in Chapel Hill. The loss that stung most from 2008, though, was probably the 20-17 loss to the Hokies. Considering the expectations for Virginia Tech this season, that should be another season-defining game. If the Heels find some dependable receivers, this should set up for another bowl appearance.