Today I received an email from a fellow Tar Heel. After the hello he just typed out one sentence, which was… “is this game against ECU a must win game for Carolina?” The answer about this game, which is also the Military Appreciation one for the 2013 season, from me was even shorter than the email I received, since all I said was: “Yes”. The reasoning behind it is a bit longer, and is the topic of this post about the UNC Football squad.
It’s a must win cause a negative outcome might put this team into the middle of a four game slide, as Virginia Tech (on the road) and Miami (at home) could easily be losses. Let’s face the fact here, most people said that this season the harder part would come at the beginning and not in the back half of it. But ECU was penciled in as a win for most everyone.
Both South Carolina and Georgia Tech proved too much for head coach Larry Fedora’s squad. In retrospect, with a bit more showing by the defense and some type of a running game, Carolina might have been able to beat the Yellow Jackets and might have made the match up against the Gamecocks a lot more competitive. However that momentum is not there, but the next three games are, and so yes, this is a must win game for the Tar Heels.
It’s a must win game because while most of the fan base might not believe East Carolina to be a true rivalry, the Pirates see the Tar Heels as one. Meaning they will be at their best each and every time the two programs meet up. I can guarantee you that ECU isn’t coming to Kenan Stadium to lay down and let Carolina roll over them. They are coming to Chapel Hill to play their high energy offense to bring back a win.
But even more… this is not just a must win game, it needs to be a “big win game”. Why? Cause the Tar Heels need to get some momentum going for the next two games. After a close lose to Ga Tech the last thing that UNC needs is a close one at home. Both for the team and for the attendance issue, since we all know that the fan base needs a motivation to get to the game!
Furthermore, it’s a must be a game that makes the Heels forget the first three games of the seasons, since that is what exactly needs to happen. The East Carolina game is just not sixty minutes of playing time, it’s also a step forward towards a bowl bound season.
So, yes, the answer was short and simple, the reasoning behind it was a lot more vast and complicated. On the other hand, if North Carolina wants to be part of the top echelon of the conference and the college football landscape, they must get to the point that every game is a must win in order to meet the season’s expectations.