Illini and Tar Heels to meet on gridiron in 2015, 2016

Illini and Tar Heels to meet on gridiron in 2015, 2016
September 26, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Vinnie Duber

The Fighting Illini might be able to exact a little revenge on North Carolina for their loss to the Tar Heels in the 2005 National Championship game.

Of course, that opportunity won't be coming on the hardwood.

Instead, the Illini and Tar Heels will be meeting on the football field, as Illinois announced a home-and-home series with North Carolina for the 2015 and 2016 football seasons on Thursday.

North Carolina, a member of the ACC, has been to a bowl game in four of the past five seasons, and Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas said that the deal was made in part to make sure the Illini kept a team from a power conference on their non-conference schedule.

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"We have worked very hard at securing future football opponents and we're happy to be able to include a peer institution in North Carolina," Thomas said in the Illinois release. "We want to keep an opponent from one of the five major conferences on the schedule and maintain seven home games each season, even with the challenges posed when the Big Ten moves to nine conference games. This series accomplishes that goal."

Illinois will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2015 and then host the Tar Heels in Champaign in 2016.

Additionally, Illinois announced Thursday that non-conference schedules through 2017 have been set. The Big Ten moves to nine conference games in 2016, so the number of non-conference games will drop from four to three. You can check out the Illini's remaining 2013 schedule as well as the schedules for the next four seasons on the school's athletics website.