COLUMBIA — Since opening in 1996, Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium has served primarily as the Carolina Panthers’ home field. But the stadium, located in a state known almost exclusively for college sports, has also hosted a college football bowl game since 2002, and has been the site of the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game since 2010.
Moreover, East Carolina has played five non-conference regular season games there, including a 2011 season-opening loss to South Carolina, and will play its 2014 opener there against the Gamecocks.
On Thursday, the Gamecocks announced that they would open the 2015 season at Bank of America Stadium against North Carolina. It will mark the fourth time in eight years that the stadium will host a season-opening college football game, dating to East Carolina’s 2008 game against Virginia Tech.
USC was originally scheduled to visit East Carolina on Sept. 5, 2015, a Saturday. Instead, the Gamecocks will meet the Tar Heels on that date. The trip to East Carolina will be pushed to a to-be-determined season. More details for the USC-UNC game, including the kickoff time and television broadcaster, will be announced later. Each school will receive a 12,500-ticket allotment.
USC is 17-34-4 all-time against North Carolina. They met every year from 1949-70. Both schools were original members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, which began in 1953. USC left the league after the 1970 season. Since then, it has played North Carolina 11 times – 1974, 1977-79, 1981, 1983, 1988-91 and 2007 – and is 6-5 in those games.
USC won in 2007 in Chapel Hill and has won five of the past seven meetings. The teams will open the 2013 season against each other in Columbia – the Tar Heels’ first trip to USC since 1990, when the Gamecocks beat them. The 2013 opener will be on a Thursday night, Aug. 29.
With the East Carolina game bumped off the 2015 schedule, the Pirates will have to wait for their home game against USC. After the 2011 opener in Charlotte, the teams met again in Columbia last season. The Gamecocks won both meetings. Before that, USC and East Carolina hadn’t played since 1999. USC last traveled to East Carolina in 1997. In addition to the 2014 USC-ECU opener in Charlotte, they are scheduled to play in 2016 in Columbia.
This season, USC’s non-league opponents other than North Carolina and the yearly game against Clemson are Central Florida (road) and Coastal Carolina (home). In 2014, USC will host Furman and Troy in addition to the East Carolina opener in Charlotte. In 2015, after playing North Carolina in Charlotte, USC will host Central Florida and The Citadel. No other 2016 non-league games have been announced except East Carolina and Clemson.