Desmond Howard knows a thing or two about intense rivalry games and “border battle” contests in college football. That makes his comments from Week 1’s “College GameDay” broadcast even more interesting.

During a breakdown of the North Carolina-South Carolina matchup in Charlotte, the ESPN analyst and former Michigan star said the “Battle for the Carolinas” is “another level” compared to the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry.

“I’m familiar with the border battle – Ohio State and Michigan fighting for Toledo,” Howard said on ESPN from the site of the UNC-SC meeting in Charlotte. “This is another level.”

The statement is certainly odd, even just compared to the number of meetings within each rivalry. The Tar Heels and Gamecocks have played a total of 59 games since 1903 and just 5 times since 2007. UNC holds the all-time series edge, 35-20-4 against South Carolina.

By contrast, The Game has been played 117 times since 1897 with Michigan holding an all-time edge of 60-51-6 vs. Ohio State. The Buckeyes and Wolverines also have 13 top-5 matchups throughout the historic rivalry.

At the end of the day, UNC and South Carolina should provide an awesome season opener from Charlotte, but it will be tough to live up to Howard’s ultime hype of the matchup. Ohio State and Michigan enter another season as top-5 teams and looking to fight it out for the Big Ten East late in the year.

(H/T Eleven Warriors)