UNC Football Staff Picks: Holiday Bowl vs Oregon

Nov 12, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) throws a pass during the first half against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 12, 2022; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) throws a pass during the first half against the Washington Huskies at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

The UNC football team wraps up its 2022 season with a matchup against Oregon in the SDCCU Holiday Bowl.

North Carolina will look to end their season on a high note and get that elusive tenth win on Wednesday night when they face off against the Oregon Ducks in the Holiday Bowl.  UNC has an opportunity to bounce back from a rough end to the regular season and build some momentum heading into 2023 in a primetime matchup against a national brand.  Will the Tar Heels be able to pull off the upset and reach double-digit wins in their final opportunity to do so?  Find out what our staff thinks below!

Nick Delahanty

In what ended up being a rollercoaster type of a season, we have finally reached the end point of the ride.

Such a promising start has led us to this spot with such a disappointing finish to the regular season. Mack Brown and the UNC football program have the chance to end things on a good note, but it certainly won’t be easy.

With a handful of notable players not participating, this Tar Heels roster will look a lot different in this game. To add to it, they are taking on one of the best quarterbacks in the nation who has been protected at the highest level by his offensive line.

Let’s do the math: a stud quarterback, a strong offensive line, and a revamped Tar Heels defense, one that has struggled for most of the year.

Yeah, doesn’t seem like a recipe for success.

However, North Carolina still has Drake Maye, who has the ability to keep them in the game. I think this group will give a fight, but I expect Oregon to exploit the Tar Heels’ defense en route to a victory.

Prediction: Oregon 45, North Carolina 28

Mark DeMott

Both Drake Maye and Oregon quarterback Bo Nix were firmly in the mix for the Heisman Trophy at the beginning of November.  Unfortunately, both players’ hopes were derailed by rough finishes to the season for their respective teams.  Nonetheless, the Holiday Bowl matchup features two of the best quarterbacks in the country in what should be a very entertaining game.

Like any other bowl game, this game could come down to who is mentally prepared to play.  Hopefully, after last year’s terrible bowl game performance against South Carolina, the Heels will come to play on Wednesday night.

When it comes to the matchup, this game features two very explosive offenses.  The bad news for Carolina is that their most explosive weapon this season has been Josh Downs, and he has opted out of this game to prepare for the NFL Draft.  On defense, Carolina has also had some losses as cornerbacks Tony Grimes and Storm Duck (as well as some others) have entered the transfer portal.  Losing both of their starting corners (from an already bad secondary) will probably not bode well against a team that scores as many points as Oregon.

Fans should hope that the Tar Heels can take advantage of this game as an opportunity to get some key reps against a high-level program for some of their younger players that will have much bigger roles in 2023.  I expect some flashes from the young guys and a good game from Drake Maye, but I don’t think they will be able to score enough to keep up with Oregon given UNC’s defensive woes.

Prediction: Oregon 42, North Carolina 31

Aaron Conrad

UNC Football returns to the field for the final time in this 2022 season. After a number of players have entered the transfer portal and the season didn’t go as planned, I wonder just how much they will want this game.

Coach Mack Brown has to find the right buttons to push to get his team through this one with a win. To be honest, I just don’t see it.

Prediction: Oregon 54, North Carolina 32

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