For John Bunting anyway.
As much as I have pursued the case against John Bunting I have done not so much on the record itself but on the performance during the games with Clemson being a particular focal point. In my own season preview I figured UNC would be 2-3 at this point and they are 1-4. The Rutgers game was one they should have had even though Rutgers is 5-0 now. Winning against Rutgers would have been a sign of progress. Likewise progress would have been indicated by beating Furman to a bloody pulp and not surrendering 500 yards of offense to a I-AA team. Playing close to the same level as Clemson and Miami, even if it meant a loss, would have shown progress. None of those things have occurred and when you couple that with the mathematical reality that UNC needs to win five of the last seven games to be bowl eligible what happens against South Florida is perhaps the most important game of the season. Wake Forest is nearly a Top 25 team, NC State has found an offense, and Georgia Tech is immensely so the possibility of six wins looks bleak.
I thought before the season that this game would be extremely important because the room for error was so slim. Saturday's game is a home game, against a middle of the pack Big East team which last season was shutout by NC State in the Tire Bowl. By all accounts this is a winnable game against a decent opponent. Losing this game would mean almost certain death to any bowl hopes and brings a certain reality to bear about where this season is headed. It was also be further evidence that the program is not even capable of beating lower level opponents, a sign of football team in shambles. To this point it could be argued that people, such as myself, have jumped the gun and declared the season finished prematurely. An assertion could be made that we unfairly threw Bunting under the bus ahead of actual certainty that the season would end with fewer than six wins. However, a loss on Saturday removes any doubt that this season would be a losing season.
A loss on Saturday only increases the drumbeats for dismissal and even some of the most ardent supporters will be hard pressed to argue otherwise.