The Charlotte 49ers will host six football games during the team’s inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference, the school announced Tuesday.
Memphis, Navy and Florida Atlantic headline the 49ers’ games under first-year head coach Biff Poggi at Richardson Stadium. Charlotte opens against South Carolina State on Sept. 2.
The most intriguing matchup on the schedule falls on Oct. 21, with a trip to Greenville to take on East Carolina for the first time. Six of Charlotte’s 2023 opponents including Florida and Maryland, participated in bowl games last season.
For fans who are anxious for the return of college football, the 49ers will start spring practice on March 21. There will be 15 practices, concluding with the program’s spring game on April 22.
Here is a breakdown of the 2023-24 slate, Charlotte’s first in the AAC:
Sept. 2: South Carolina State. Charlotte will open the Poggi era at home against the Bulldogs, a program that posted a 3-8 record in the MEAC last season with notable victories over Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central.
Sept. 9: At Maryland. The 49ers will head to College Park for a rematch against the Terps, who rolled the 49ers 56-21 at Richardson Stadium a season ago. That game featured quarterback Xavier Williams’ first and only college start and could be a huge opportunity for Charlotte to capture its second victory against a Power 5 program.
Sept. 16: Georgia State. Charlotte’s first victory of the troublesome 2022 season came in Atlanta against head coach Shawn Elliott and the Panthers, causing extreme frustration for Elliott and company. Expect this one to be chippy.
Sept. 23: At Florida. This contest was hand-picked by Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill, a former Gator himself. Charlotte is 0-2 against SEC opponents and will look to break the skid down in the Swamp.
Sept. 30: At Southern Methodist. The Mustangs finished fourth in the AAC last season with a 7-5 record in Rhett Lashlee’s first season as head coach. Fortunately for the 49ers, the Mustangs travel to TCU to take on the national championship runner-up the weekend prior.
Oct. 7: Open
Oct. 14: Navy. The 49ers will host the Midshipmen in the first meeting between the two programs. It will be a battle of first-year head coaches, as Brian Newberry was tabbed as head coach at Navy in December.
Oct. 21: At East Carolina. The in-state matchup that Charlotte fans have long awaited arrives. These programs will meet annually, with the first coming in Greenville against a solid Pirates program, which finished the 2022 season 8-5 under Mike Houston. East Carolina will be rolling with a new quarterback as Holton Ahlers played his final snaps in purple and gold in the Birmingham Bowl.
Oct. 27: Florida Atlantic. A Friday night home game against a program that Charlotte hasn’t beaten since 2018, in Brad Lambert’s final game as head coach. The Owls have had Charlotte’s number for years, but this 49ers team is expected to be completely different.
Nov. 4: At Tulsa. Another first-year head coaching matchup between Poggi and Kevin Wilson, who took over the Golden Hurricane’s program in December. Tulsa finished the 2022 season with a 5-7 record, missing out on bowl eligibility for the first time since 2019.
Nov. 11: Memphis. This is one of the biggest non-Power 5 matchups scheduled at Richardson Stadium. The Tigers are coming off a seven-win season and a dominating victory agasinst Utah State in the First Responder Bowl. As Charlotte’s quarterback battle begins to unfold, it is worth noting that three-star prospect Carson Black flipped his commitment from Memphis to Charlotte after Poggi took charge.
Nov. 18: Rice. These programs have met four times, splitting the series 2-2. Charlotte dominated the Owls on the road last season, scoring a program-best 56 points on the way to victory. The last time these teams met at Richardson Stadium is noted as Will Healy’s final home win and was an overtime thriller on homecoming. Former five-star quarterback JT Daniels joins Rice, where he will finish his career after stops at Southern California, Georgia and West Virginia. This will serve as Charlotte’s senior day.
Nov. 25: At South Florida. The Bulls have not posted a winning record since 2018 and are coming off a 1-11 season with the lone victory against Howard. This is yet another first-year coaching matchup, with Alex Golesh taking the reigns for South Florida. He was most recently the offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Volunteers.