UNC Football: Five Fearless Predictions

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Nov 30, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels safety Brandon Ellerbe (20) and wide receiver Mack Hollins (13) and long snapper Conor Fry (61) and cornerback Jabari Price (4) react after Hollins fumble recovery in the second quarter at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

2.  UNC will win ten games in 2014

Ten is a pretty big number in college football nowadays, and a 10-2 season would be pretty spectacular for the Heels.  But ten wins is certainly doable, especially considering how well North Carolina played in the second half of last year.

Let’s start with the games that should be easy wins, of which there are three.  These games are Liberty, San Diego State and Virginia.  Liberty and SDSU had solid records last year, playing against weak competition.  Virginia played against the same competition as UNC, and had a very poor record.  In any event, UNC will win these games, assuming they don’t take them too lightly.

Then, there are five games that UNC should win.  These opponents are NC State (who would be in the easy win category if this wasn’t a rivalry game), East Carolina, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and Miami.  North Carolina is better than ECU, and will be eager to avenge last year’s loss.  The same goes for Miami and Virginia Tech—UNC could have beaten these teams last year, and both opponents have considerable question marks on offense.  Pitt lost some key defensive players, like Aaron Donald, last year’s leader in sacks and tackles for a loss.  This weakened and unproven defense should match up for the Heels strong offense.

That puts UNC at 8 wins, with four games left: at Clemson, at Notre Dame, vs. Georgia Tech and at Duke.  The hardest of these games is at Clemson, and I don’t think it is unreasonable to think that UNC could win the other three games.  However, I think Notre Dame beats the Heels at South Bend.  I think UNC will take advantage of playing a Georgia Tech offense weaker than in years past (for example, without last year’s leading rusher David Sims), and use home field advantage to beat the Yellow Jackets.  UNC has been close to beating Duke the last two years, and I think they finally pull it out this season to reach the ten win mark.