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The Daily Tar Heel

Football to Kick Off Against Oklahoma

He's already gotten his wish.

North Carolina officially announced Saturday that Bunting's first game as UNC's football coach will be against defending-national champion Oklahoma on Aug. 25.

The game, slated for a 7:45 p.m. EST kickoff will be played in Norman, Okla.

"I think it's a great opportunity for us to start our season off," defensive end Julius Peppers said Saturday.

Bunting traveled to Miami to watch Oklahoma and Florida State in the FedEx Orange Bowl. The Sooners beat the Seminoles 13-2 to win the national championship on Jan. 4.

"I was able to come back and tell our team -- it was our second meeting -- 'Guys, I saw the best. We want to play a game like that,'" Bunting said. "They're there. We're not even close."

By adding Oklahoma, North Carolina will start its season with three consecutive road games, part of a brutal opening five-game stretch.

UNC will play at Maryland on

Sept. 1 and at Texas on Sept. 8. The Tar Heels open at home against Southern Methodist and then play Florida State.

"Getting a game before Maryland helps us get ready for them," Bunting said.

The first three games of the season will mark just the third time in North Carolina's history that it opens the season with three road games -- 1892 and 1893 were the others.

Bunting said spring practice will begin the last week of March, but he said he wasn't sure of the exact date. Bunting moved practice back for quarterback Ronald Curry, who is also UNC's point guard.

"I bumped into Ronald (at the Smith Center), and he's thrilled with what we're doing recruiting-wise," Bunting said.

Curry will be working under his third offensive system in four years, which was a factor in backing up spring practice. There's also a little matter of the No. 1 Tar Heels and the basketball postseason.

"I hope the Tar Heels go all the way, and we'll pick (Curry) up on Monday night," Bunting said, referring to the Monday the national championship game is played.

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