It's no big surprise my interest in Carolina football has plummeted over the last few weeks. They've played once in the past 20 days, an excruciating loss to Virginia Tech, and are now basically jockeying for position amongst a series of middling bowls. And now they close out the season against 3-8 Duke, a team once again doomed to mediocrity. UNC has walked away with the Victory Bell 20 of the 21 years; this year shouldn't be any different.
Duke is the worst ACC team the Heels have faced all year, but UNC can easily screw this up. The Blue Devils have the worst rushing offense in the conference, but only a little bit worse than N.C. State's, who handled themselves well against the Tar Heels. They del more on the pass than any ACC team, with Sean Renfree behind only Tajh Boyd in passing yards, but isn't particularly efficient. His favorite target is the junior reciever Conner Vernon, for what it's worth. Duke also flails once they get to the red zone, failing to score in one out of every four attempts.
On defense, the Blue Devils are better than only Maryland. Neither their rushing nor passing defenses are worth mentioning, and they rarely force turnovers, although they did pick off Logan Thomas twice in their best game of the year, a 14-10 loss to Virginia Tech. They're not very good at getting to the quarterback; even UNC's line should be able to hold them at bay. The guy to watch out for is Matt Daniels, strong safety, who is second in the conference in tackles. Of course, the fact that so many tackles are available to a safety tells you something about the success of the defense.
It's senior day against a rival football team that borders on incompetence; if there's one game where the team should not play down to their opponent and win handily, it's this one. But then again, the same thing was said about the State game, not to mention a number of earlier games when they could still contend for the Coastal Division crown. UNC have, if nothing else, proven they can lose any game. Can we at least end the season on a high note?