UNC replaces Georgia on Louisville slate

Georgia has bought out of a planned series with Louisville that was to begin next year, and North Carolina has replaced the Bulldogs on the schedule.

The Cardinals and Tar Heels will open next season on Sept. 3 in Chapel Hill, with Louisville hosting the return game sometime in 2012.

Georgia was supposed to play Louisville in next year's opener in Athens then come to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in 2012. But Georgia exercised its right to buy out of the series so it could play in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game next year, reportedly against Boise State.

"While we certainly would have preferred to keep the series with Georgia, we are pleased to open up the season next year at North Carolina and look forward to hosting them at Papa John's Stadium in 2012," Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a release. "We were thrilled when we secured a series with Georgia five years ago. We were approached to mutually agree to cancel this series, but we declined. ... Obviously, we wanted to retain the series as we know our fans have been looking forward to playing them since 2005."

It's disappointing for Louisville to lose out on playing Georgia, and for its fans to not get a chance to experience a game between the hedges. Credit Jurich, however, for finding a brand-name opponent to fill the hole instead of using the easy excuse and adding a pushover to the schedule. Of course, given North Carolina's current problems with the NCAA and the likelihood of an offseason coaching change, who knows what kind of shape the Tar Heels program will be in by September of next year. Louisville should be highly competitive in this series.