Where: Memorial Stadium aka "Death Valley" Clemson, SC
When: Saturday, September 23rd, 12:00 PM
TV: Lincoln Financial Network
Records: UNC 1-2, 0-1 in the ACC Clemson 2-1, 1-1 in the ACC
Oh where to begin. I almost did this preview in poetry form in honor of former UNC basketball player Rashad McCants but decided that would be nearly as embrassing as the poetry McCants wrote. Anyway, it would be nice if I could approach this game the same way I approached the Virginia Tech game and that is with some hope the impossible could happen. Before the game with VT there was the idea the offense was in good shape and the defense was going to vastly improve. Now with UNC at 1-2 and that one win coming at the cost of 42 points to a I-AA team I cannot find reason to hope. And I think it is really sad that I cannot approach every game UNC plays with some degree of hope, some kind of scenario in mind which will give the Heels a foothold in the game. Thus far the only scenario I can come up with is if UNC can force Clemson to kick field goals every time they get within 30 yards of the end zone.
The bottom line is the UNC defense is bad. My assertion has been that the coaches are doing a poor job of prepping the defense on how to handle the offense. The spin out of Chapel Hill is that the inexperience plays a huge role there and I really cannot disagree with that so let's call it even and say it is both. The fact of the matter is that this has the potential to be a very ugly game against an offense that is playing as well as Clemson is playing. Could this be a trap game for Clemson? Sure and that might serve to leave UNC in the game until halftime. And as much as it pains me to give in to the popular opinion on this I just do not see any way the defense is going to be able to stop Clemson.
As for the offense, this is a great opportunity for Cam Sexton to show he is the real deal. I have been adamant about my belief that Sexton is the QB of choice annd Dailey should not see the field. Of course if Sexton struggles, Bunting will probably opt for Dailey and I cannot imagine that turning out well. The bottom line is Sexton has a chance to show some serious fortitude here and prove that he is not only the QB of this season but until the day he graduates which would give UNC a lot of security at that position. If Sexton struggles, then he struggles and all that means is he has more growing to do. I know that I am applying a double standard to Sexon and Dailey but Sexton is young and it gives him a little leeway with the fans. Ronnie McGill also needs to step up along with Barrington Edwards and give this offense a strong game. This is a game for the offense to be tested and in turn excel.
So in short this is a growing game. The offense can grow and hopefully have some success. The defense can grow and hopefully surprise some people. I think an upset is too much to expect unless Clemson decides to turn the ball over five times and the kicking game remains as bad as we have seen the past two weeks. So I think Clemson may come out slow but ultimately get the offense clicking. The UNC offense will be good and show a lot of promise but the Tigers will win the game. Clemson 41 UNC 21.