UNC Football: Staff Picks Game Nine: @ Virginia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 29: Brennan Armstrong #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers scrambles under pressure from the Miami Hurricanes in the first half during a game at Scott Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 29: Brennan Armstrong #5 of the Virginia Cavaliers scrambles under pressure from the Miami Hurricanes in the first half during a game at Scott Stadium on October 29, 2022 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

The UNC football team can all but wrap up the Coastal Division Title if they leave Charlottesville with a victory on Saturday.

This is the final year that the ACC is using the divisions to determine who will meet for the ACC Championship in Charlotte.  The Coastal Division has long been known for its “chaos”, as the division has been as unpredictable and wild as there is in the sport.

However, in the final year of “Coastal Chaos”, the division could be decided in early November.  The UNC football program has a two-game lead with four to play and hold the tiebreaker over both Duke and Miami, who are tied for second.

Carolina can clinch the division with two wins in November, and even one could potentially be enough to send them to Charlotte.  North Carolina has a great opportunity to all but seal the division on Saturday against a Virginia team that has had a ton of struggles thus far.

Will the Tar Heels take care of business and improve to 5-0 both on the road and in ACC play?  Find out what our staff thinks below!

Nick Delahanty

Over the last few weeks, I’ve felt more confident making my weekly pick in favor of the Tar Heels.

This week is no different, as I believe the UNC football program will run away with this one. However, I will make a side note that this could easily be a “trap game” for Mack Brown’s team if they take the Cavaliers lightly.

Virginia has struggled mightily offensively all season, as they haven’t been able to find the right recipe for success. On the contrary, scoring points has been the Tar Heels’ forte, as Drake Maye and company have had no issue lighting up the scoreboard each week.

The Tar Heels have to come into this one and score points early and often. If they challenge the Cavaliers to compete in an offensive slugfest, it’s a battle that they’ve shown they aren’t ready for.

Prediction: North Carolina 45, Virginia 17

Isaac Schade

North Carolina travels to Charlottesville to take on Virginia on Saturday in the South’s Oldest
Rivalry (trumped only by Minnesota and Wisconsin at the FBS level). The Tar Heels have lost
each of their last two matchups at Scott Stadium, last winning in 2016.

The last time these teams met in Charlottesville, UNC trailed by 21 late in the third quarter
before a furious comeback fell just short. Carolina has made a habit of having to come back
recently, needing to overcome double-digit deficits in each of the last two games (Duke and
Pitt). That model of success is not sustainable long-term; it will eventually come back to bite
Mack Brown’s team.

Virginia has not allowed a touchdown in the last eight quarters, however, that streak will likely
meet an inglorious end in the hands of Drake Maye and the UNC offense. Maye is operating at
the top of the position and sport in his redshirt sophomore season, leading all of FBS in multiple
categories and finally starting to show up in Heisman conversations.

Carolina gets out ahead in this one and doesn’t let up, the defensive fill-ins do a solid job
against Virginia’s poor offense, Elijah Green scores in his debut as the starting running back,
and Maye once again moves his Heisman candidacy forward.

The Tar Heels win (and cover the seven-point spread) 38-14, but the total falls short of the over.
More importantly, a victory means Carolina needs just one more win to clinch a spot in the ACC

Prediction: North Carolina 38, Virginia 14

Mark DeMott

When looking at the UNC schedule throughout the season, I have been concerned about this game for a while.  I know that Virginia has been bad thus far, but I am very aware of the problems that UNC has had facing UVA QB Brennan Armstrong and their recent struggles playing in Charlottesville.

However, if UVA is going to pull off the upset, they are going to have to play out of character from how they have performed all season.  The Cavaliers have not scored more than 20 points against an FBS opponent all season.  Armstrong was one of the ACC’s best quarterbacks last season, but he has taken a major step back this year under new head coach Tony Elliott, throwing for just six touchdowns and nine interceptions.

The Cavaliers’ defense has been much better than their offense, holding opponents to 21.5 points per game, good for 30th in the nation.  However, Virginia has not faced any offenses on UNC’s level, and they still allowed Duke and Louisville to score over 30 points.

While the Tar Heels should get the victory, Virginia is definitely talented enough to knock them off if they don’t take them seriously.  I just don’t think Drake Maye (and his outstanding receivers) will allow Virginia to catch them sleeping.  Maye has proved early in his career that he is not only an outstanding talent but also a fierce competitor.  He will make sure the Heels seize an opportunity to all but seal the Coastal Division, moving UNC to 5-0 on the road and earning more Heisman chatter in the process.

Prediction: North Carolina 49, Virginia 17

Aaron Conrad

North Carolina travels to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers. On paper, this one should be a win for the Heels. However, there are a significant number of injuries that have taken place for the Heels.

Again, the offense is really never in question for the Heels at this point. Neither is the play of Drake Maye.  Maye continues to put together a Heisman hopeful resume that cannot be ignored.

I think the Heels get out of there with a win but it will be closer than it should be if they had a healthy squad.

Prediction: North Carolina 42, Virginia 35

Staff Standings

Isaac: 7-1

Mark: 7-1

Nick: 6-2

Aaron: 6-2

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