3. Q: How quickly can Louisville and North Carolina turn things around?
At the very least, they’re both going to be better – how can they just as bad? – even if they’re not battling for the ACC title quite yet.
North Carolina might be 5-18 over the last two years, but at least it’s loaded with veterans to go along with a good quarterback recruit in Sam Howell to build around. The talent level isn’t special, and it’s still going to take some work, but Mack Brown isn’t opening an empty cupboard.
Even with all of the defensive issues and offensive inconsistencies in a 2-9 season, the Tar Heels were competitive at times, with five losses decided by a touchdown or less.
The biggest blowouts were to Miami and … East Carolina. There will be a few of those, and the schedule isn’t a breeze, but Vegas has UNC’s win total at 5.5 – the expectations are there to improve fast. The problem? All 11 FBS teams on the schedule went bowling last season – Mercer is the other.
Even a five-win season would be a fantastic step back up.
Louisville would take that, too.
Without Lamar Jackson around, the offense fizzled with just 237 points on the year – the offensive line was awful – but the defense was the much, much bigger issue. On the plus side, all of the problems in last year’s disaster led to landing Scott Satterfield – and there’s your instant difference-maker.
The Cardinals might not have been able to hire Jeff Brohm, but Satterfield isn’t a consolation prize. At Appalachian State, his Mountaineers finished sixth in the nation in total defense and fourth in scoring D, and he gets seven starters back on D.
The ACC isn’t the Sun Belt, it’s going to be a process, and Vegas likes the Cardinals at 3.5 wins, but considering the program had eight straight winning seasons before last year, 2018 might have been nothing more than an ugly aberration.