There's been an uptick in referrals this week from your finer Notre Dame blogs, seeking out information on their opponent this weekend. Or perhaps just looking for someone dumb enough to pick against South Bend. Either way, I'm your huckleberry. Presenting:
The measurement "five minutes" should not be construed as a guarantee of a length of entertainment. Those patrons wanting to maximize time spent to approach the title's estimation are encourage to read slowly. All rights reserved. Some lefts reserved. Dinner reservations available from the concierge. The following analysis is provided by basketball fans and should not be taken as the official views of UNC athletics, the North Carolina sports media, or anyone who knows a damn about football. All provisions of the small print are expected to be followed by anyone accepting the implied license inherent upon beginning to read said small print. Samll print is under no obligation to be of a dimished size in comparison to text above, below, or interspersed among it. All jokes involving a disclaimer are mandated to go on a full four (4) times longer than any reasonable reader could be expected to find remotely humorous.)
So you'd like to know more about UNC football, but can't seem to find televised coverage on NBC. Or any other broadcast channel, cable channel, cable access, radio broadcast or teletype summary available to you. Never fear, the fine proprietors at Carolina March can give you a brief rundown of what you can expect to see in South Bend this weekend.
The Rushing Offense: The man to your right (Not your actual right, that's your boss wondering why your reading the internet at work. The picture to the right of this text.) is Ronnie McGill, senior tailback. McGill is averaging 65 yards a game, which doesn't seem like much until you realize a full 64 of them come on second efforts after to being stopped at the line. With fellow tailback Barrington Edwards missing a second straight game for an undisclosed violation of team policy, he's the primary rushing attack. Look for him to be tougher to stop than the UCLA and Stanford games, but probably not as difficult as Navy. (You guys really let Navy put up 271 yards on the ground? Really?)
The Passing Attack: Can your secondary catch? They've only got six interceptions on the year, but that's proof-of-concept, I suppose. They're going to enjoy UNC's passing attack, which is based around Joe Dailey, an extremely mobile and short yardage-thrower and Cam Sexton, a more traditional pocket-passer, alternately throwing lots of passes to the opposing team. Dailey has 7 picks in the four games he's started, and Sexton 8. The consensus is Dailey is the better tackler.
The past two weeks UNC has strictly alternated QB's, giving each two series under center before, swapping them out for the other. It can't be called a quarterback controversy, as no one is really arguing for one or the other. Should either player catch fire, they will almost certainly remain in the game until something goes wrong. The most likely way one will catch fire would involve arson of some sort however, and the perpertrator will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The Rushing Defense: A veritable who's who of college running backs has come through, around, and over the Carolina defense this year, including Rutgers' Ray Rice (201 yds), Virgina tech's Brandon Ore (111 yds), Miami's Javarris James (111 yds), USF's Ricky Pontin (102 yds), and Virginia's Jason Snelling (132 yds). Clemson's James Davis was held to 95, but the Tiger's offense collectively managed 324, so that really can't be looked upon as a triumph.
The Tar Heels also lost their leading tackler, linebacker Larry Edwards, for the season with a broken collarbone before the Virginia game. His replacement, Garrett White, was benched before his first start more making an inappropriate gesture to the UVa crowd before the start of the game. Carolina fans were both proud at the integrity shown by a beleagured Coach Bunting, and chastened by the fact they too, would have been benched at Charlottesville. Virgina fans can evoke quite a few gestures of inappropriateness, you see.
The Passing Defense: UNC has given up a respectable 150 ypg through the air this year. True, a fair amount of that can be chalked up to the fact that most of the second half consists of opponents grinding away at the clock, but recent close(r) games against South Florida and Wake Forest show promise. The defense has only come up with three interceptions, however.
Special Teams: UNC has a good placekicker in Connor Barth, who is perfect on the year, including attempts of 46, 47, and 52 and a glorious 21 yard rush against South Florida. Of course, he's gotten relatively few attempts over the season, but look for him to take the field on some fourth downs a surprising distance from the end zone.
The Heels will occasionally have a punt block or a kick returned. Nothing like the problems Clemson or Boston College encountered earlier this season, though.
Coaching: The coach has been fired, effective at the end of the season. It may have made the papers. He'll still be paid through 2009, so he's really got nothing to lose here. Bunting has also made a habit of knocking off the occasional overhyped major name - Florida State in 2001 and Miami in 2004. Unfortunately, he's been absolutely steamrolled by the not-so overhyped more often, such as Oklahoma in 2001, Utah in 2004, Louisville in 2005, and Clemson this year. So your level of concern should probably depend on whether you think the Irish are worthy of the press they've recieved this year or not.
That's pretty much all you need to know. Well, that and the fact that no matter how this weekend turns out, UNC will still kick your ass in women's soccer. Good luck this weekend.