1. NORTH CAROLINA WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN
How much of a magician is Mack Brown?
Is there really talent in place after the end of the Larry Fedora era, or is there simply a lot of experience with the hope of it all coming together thanks to the new energy and fresh ideas from the regime change?
North Carolina has won five games since then-his-name-was-Mitch Trubisky and company lost to Stanford in the 2016 Sun Bowl. Two of those wins came against Pitt – each by three points – two came against FCS teams, and one came against Old Dominion. That’s it.
That’s a long, long drop from playing for the ACC Championship in 2015.
On the plus side, UNC lost five of its nine games by a touchdown or less, and it was at least competitive in other losses to Virginia and Georgia Tech. So is this going to require just a little bit of tweaking, or is there going to be an overhaul?
The skill players are fine, the offensive line was good enough for most of last year and gets most of the parts back, and the defense is at least experienced. That’s enough – along with the new coaching staff – to at least start to pull up out of the nosedive …
Set The Regular Season Win Total At … 4
The Tar Heels will beat Mercer. After that, good luck finding the other sure-thing wins.
South Carolina? It’s in Charlotte, but … nah.
Miami? At Wake Forest? Maybe on the right day there’s a split.
Clemson – next – or on the road against Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Pitt or NC State?
Even the Appalachian State game is dangerous.
But assume that out of all those close call games of last year, a few flip the other way this time around. The Tar Heels will beat Appalachian State, maybe take down Duke at home, and pull off a stunner somewhere else.
Brown didn’t sign up for mediocrity, but after the last two seasons, that would be a step up.