Ready or not, here it comes! The UNC Football season that is, and while the coaching staff and players have to worry about “one game at a time” I have decided to break down the season into thirds. In this post some thoughts about the first four games that head coach Larry Fedora and his squad will face in the upcoming season.
Before going with the post, let me just say, that for the 2013 edition of UNC Football the first part of the schedule is the most important as they could easily end up being way behind and out of momentum if they can not get the wins that are there for the taking.
Thursday, August 29th at South Carolina
Can’t get much bigger than this when you talk about season openers for the Tar Heels. The Border War, against a Top 10 squad in the polls from the best football conference, led by a coach who still remembers when he was at Duke and how he beat the Heels more than they beat him. If this is not a rivalry that should be played each and every year I am not sure what could be.
Add to the mix that South Carolina could have the leading candidate for the Heisman on the defensive side of the ball with D lineman Jadeveon Clowney, and well, you do have plenty of side stories to think about leading up to the game. Make no mistake, you do not stop Clowney, you try to contain him as best possible and hope for the best. And when you have an offensive line with two new members on it, like the Heels do, hoping might just not be enough.
If there is any possibility of the Heels winning this one it comes from a couple of things. First game of the year, no one is expecting North Carolina to go on the road and win against a Top 10 squad, and most of all… for as small or big the odds are there is a reason that they play the games!
Saturday, September 7th vs Middle Tennessee State
This is one of those games that scares me, since it is the perfect proverbial “trap game” that most every school has on their schedule. And while people might scratch their heads thinking who this opponent is, let me remind you, it’s the one that beat Ga Tech last season 49 to 28. It is a team that is looking to get another quality win this year, and will be coming right after what could be the toughest test UNC has all season.
It is also the game prior to the Tar Heels going back on the road to face Georgia Tech, who has had UNC’s number for quite sometimes. So this game scares me more for the fact that it is sandwiched in between two tough ones more than for the team that UNC will be facing.
As I write this I can see that the coaching staff is going to be put to the test in the first weeks of the season. First, trying to keep pace against South Carolina, then trying to keep the team in the game against a weaker opponent and not thinking ahead.
Saturday, September 21st at Georgia Tech
If I can find a good thing about this game it is that the Tar Heels will have an extra week to prepare for it. Not that it has helped much in the past, as UNC is 1 and 2 against the triple option with an extra week off, but more because this team is still needing to gel, and any extra time to prepare is always good. As we all know most people that talk about Carolina this season have spoken about Bryn Renner and the offense and not so much the defense.
I am always waiting for it to be the season that North Carolina takes care of this divisional opponent, unfortunately it has not happened in a while. The fact that the game is on the road makes it even harder to believe that 2013 will be the year the trend changes.
Saturday, September 28th vs East Carolina
As we end the first of the three roller coaster rides, the last game is another one that the UNC Football team can not sleep on. East Carolina is not a cake walk and they always come to play against their “bigger” brothers. Their players, lots of them shunned by ACC squads in recruiting, want to show they were worthy of playing in the conference. Taking down a team like the Tar Heels is a way of proving that point.
After having played two of their hardest opponents for the campaign (S. Caroline & Ga Tech) the Tar Heels have to be once again refocused on getting the wins that are out there to be had. This game, without a doubt, is one of them.
If this going as it should North Carolina should be at .500, with two wins (MTSU & ECU) and two losses (S. Carolina & Ga Tech). It would be great if UNC could grab an extra win, especially against a divisional opponent, but the one thing that coach Fedora and his team can not do is come into the the mid part of the schedule with a 1 and 3 or 0 and 4 record.
Now it’s your turn, you tell me what the UNC Football team’s record will be after four games…