UNC Football: Staff Roundtable and Predictions

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Sep 6, 2014; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels fans cheer prior to a game against the San Diego State Aztecs at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

What is the most important three game stretch of the season?

David Staley: Unless you want to say Wake, Virginia, and Pitt because somewhere in there the Heels should become bowl eligible, it has to be the final three games of the season. That stretch features two coastal opponents in Miami and Virginia Tech, along with the always chippy battle against N.C. State. If things go well, it’s feasible that winning all of these final three games sends Carolina to the ACC Championship game. Of course it’s also feasible that losing all three of these games sends Carolina back to Shreveport.

Jackson Hicks: Pitt, Duke, Miami. These three teams are all ranked slightly ahead of Carolina in preseason polls. If Carolina can go 2-1–or even 3-0–against these teams, that should give them a good chance to get past the 8-win mark, something they haven’t done since 1997.

Zack Pearson: vs. Duke, vs. Miami, @Virginia Tech. Three out of the final four games which could really determine whether or not the Tar Heels will make a bowl. The Heels should be able to win both home games, giving them some momentum heading into VT.

Brandon Griffin: I am going with the Duke, Miami, Virginia Tech stretch. Not only is it against the three coastal teams, but three coastal teams picked by a lot of people to win the Coastal. Going at least 2-1 during that stretch will have a huge impact on whether Carolina can win the Coastal this year.

Ben Coley: Miami, Virginia Tech, N.C. State — a tough stretch to end the season. Miami has Brad Kayaa, Virginia Tech is a trendy pick for the ACC Title, and N.C. State is always tough in Raleigh.

Leonard Meade: Home vs Duke, Miami and at Virginia Tech. This stretch will let us know if Carolina is a real threat in the Coastal Division.

Simeon Jackson: Miami, at VT, at State. Only won one out of three against these teams in 2014. Plus, only a one point win over VT at home. This time, we play on the road against them as well as in Raleigh for NC State. Last year, that was an ugly loss to UNC Raleigh.

Matthew Haley: North Carolina opens the ACC slate with Ga. Tech and then two home games with Wake Forest and Virginia. Can the Tar Heels steal a win on the road and jump out to a quick 3-0 start in the Coastal division? This stretch along with the final three weeks jump out as pivotal stretches on the schedule. Both are important however if the Tar Heels stumble out of the gate it is hard to see them recovering as their schedule becomes tougher in October and November.

John Bauman: The last three games of the season, including the bowl game. Last year, Carolina stumbled and crumbled down the stretch run of the season. That cannot be the case this year. Fedora and co. have to keep this team going strong all the way through the end of the season to try to build some momentum for 2016.

Next: How much better will the defense be?