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Gamecocks, Tar Heels will open 2015 season on Thursday night

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For the second time in three seasons, South Carolina and North Carolina will kick off the football season on Thursday night.

Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth consecutive year, the South Carolina Gamecocks will begin their football season with a Thursday night game in prime time. The Charlotte Sports Foundation announced on Wednesday that the 2015 season-opening neutral site contest between the Gamecocks and the North Carolina Tar Heels will be moved from Saturday, Sept. 5 to Thursday, Sept. 3.

Apparently preferring a stuffy corporate venue such as Bank of America Stadium to the pleasant scenery and lively atmosphere of a college campus, the athletics directors of UNC at USC have agreed that the game will be played in Charlotte instead of either Columbia or Chapel Hill. South Carolina played at UNC in 2007 and it seemed like the Tar Heels might never fulfill their end of the home-and-home until they finally came to Columbia to open the 2013 season. So I guess this does create a fun matchup between border rivals without requiring either side to commit to (and eventually back out of the visiting end of) a home-and-home.

Because the SEC has not yet released its conference schedule for 2015, we currently only know what the Gamecocks' 2015 out-of-conference schedule will look like. Here's what we've got so far:

Date Opponent
Thursday, Sept. 3 vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (Charlotte)
Saturday, Sept. 26 vs. Central Florida Knights
Saturday, Nov. 21 vs. The Citadel Bulldogs
Saturday, Nov. 28 vs. Clemson Tigers
Saturday, Dec. 5 SEC Championship Game

It's also sorta int'resting that South Carolina's last two games against UNC were victories that nevertheless carry a bitter taste for Gamecock fans. After USC jumped out to a 21-3 lead in 2007, the Tar Heels scored 12 unanswered points in the second half and time ran out in the fourth quarter with T.J. Yates and the North Carolina offense just 31 yards away from the game-winning touchdown. After giving up the big lead in Chapel Hill, South Carolina lost every single game the rest of the way, finishing with a 6-6 record and missing out on a bowl game. (2007 was Nick Saban's first year in Tuscaloosa. South Carolina and Alabama both finished 6-6. The Crimson Tide got invited to a bowl game. We didn't. Not sure what this has to do with anything other than that 2007 was just the worst.)

The 2013 game is not quite as infamous, probably because South Carolina went on to have maybe its most successful season in program history. But it marked the beginning of the "Clowney is lazy" narrative that dominated the remainder of the season and even spilled over into coverage of the 2014 NFL Draft.

May the 2015 win be an unambiguous thrashing.