UNC vs. Georgia Tech has been a house of horrors for the Tar Heels in recent history. They haven’t been able to figure out the triple option. Last year, Tech was able to figure out Carolina’s spread just enough to pull out a victory in a game where anyone that took the “under” felt foolish by the end of the first quarter.
Here’s why UNC needs to figure out Tech with a quickness… the winner (for all intents and purposes) has the inside track to face Miami for the division title. For once, the ACC has some parity. This is the first year in recent memory where Miami could take it, but it’s not Virginia Tech that’s also in the running. I know Georgia Tech has been good in years past, but the offense always felt more gimmicky to me. This, of course, coming from the fan of a team that historically plays the matador defense against them. Ole.
So let’s take a look at the rest of UNC’s schedule.
East Carolina – doesn’t matter, but should win. At VT, does matter, UNC should win. Home at Miami, wow. That’s the big game if UNC can get by Tech. If not, UNC has a lot more pressure on their away game at Pitt, but they have Virginia and Duke at home. It’s a very early litmus test for how the Heels will stack up within the conference. If they can pull out a win in Atlanta, the rest of their schedule sets up well to potentially sneak a championship game.
I’d have preferred to see Old Dominion earlier in the season, maybe buffering the VT and Miami games, but it is what it is. Whatever happened to New Dominion? Did it go the way of New Coke? Are we a few years away from playing against Dominion Classic? I’m sure there’s a reason for the name. Back to Tech.
In a little over a week, when we face them at noon (of course) on the 21st, arm tackles will be the derailment of the Heels. If they can make solid form tackles, hold their gaps, not rely on other players to save them after a mistake (that’s where the triple option gets you. One person doesn’t play their position, everyone gets shifted, the Yellow Jackets gash you), UNC can win.
Here’s what I know from looking at the history of the rivalry… UNC has to have a short memory on defense and an unwavering desire to score on offense. The Jackets are going to score points on UNC. Probably a fair amount. UNC just has to stop them a few more times than they did last year if they can produce offensively the way they did last year. If you give up a bad TD, you have to shrug it off, bear down, play smart, and cause a turnover on the next defensive set. The big question is… can the Heels do that? I don’t know.
I do know that whichever team comes out of this game with the win, they will be a win against Miami way from having an unexpected disaster take them out of title contention.