The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic announced Thursday that Georgia and North Carolina will meet inside the Georgia Dome on Sept. 3, 2016.
Georgia and North Carolina have not met in football since the 1971 Gator Bowl, when Vince Dooley's Bulldogs topped brother Bill Dooley's Tar Heels 7-3. The Bulldogs hold a 16-12-2 series edge, seven of the meetings occurring from 1895 to 1901.
"This will undoubtedly be one of the best games of the 2016 opening weekend and a long-overdue renewal of an old ACC versus SEC rivalry," said Gary Stokan, the president and CEO of Peach Bowl, Inc. "Both programs have a rich tradition, devoted fan base, top-notch players and elite coaches -- all elements of a blockbuster-type game that we can't wait to host."
North Carolina went 6-7 this past season, and coach Larry Fedora turned to former Auburn coach Gene Chizik as his new defensive coordinator.
Kickoff time has not been set for the game, which will have some company in the showdown department. Alabama and Southern California are vying in the Cowboys Classic on Sept. 3, 2016, and Auburn-Clemson, LSU-Wisconsin and Texas A&M-UCLA matchups also are scheduled that day.
Tennessee and Virginia Tech are having their Bristol Motor Speedway showdown the following week.
The Bulldogs played in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic, losing 35-21 to Boise State, and the Tar Heels lost to LSU 30-24 in the 2010 game. Georgia has out-of-conference games scheduled with Notre Dame in 2017 and '19.
"It's great to have the opportunity to be back in Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game," Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. "It will also be a special time to rekindle a long-ago rivalry with North Carolina, a team we have not played since the Gator Bowl game in December 1971. Georgia and North Carolina have played 30 times, especially through the (19)50s and '60s, and I'm sure it will be a very popular game among fans of both institutions."
Said Bulldogs coach Mark Richt: "I know our team, coaches, and fans will be looking forward to playing a quality opponent like North Carolina in Atlanta. It will be a national stage for a season opener and generate a lot of excitement for fans not only of both schools but college football fans around the country."
Auburn and Louisville will meet in this year's Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic on Sept. 5.
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