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SI: UNC Set To Improve In Football

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Stewart Mandel thinks UNC will be ready to make some noise in the ACC Coastal Division:

3) North Carolina (4-8). Like Jones, Butch Davis is another coach with a track record for rebuilding, and there's plenty of reason to think the Tar Heels will make a significant leap in Year 2 of Davis' tenure. After throwing freshmen like QB T.J. Yates, RB Greg Little and DT Marvin Austin into the fire a year ago, UNC returns 18 starters from a team that was highly competitive down the stretch. The Tar Heels' division is also ripe for the taking with Virginia Tech, Virginia and Georgia Tech all expected to be down and Miami still rebuilding.

I still think the Heels are operating with a narrow margin of error but considering how many games the Heels were in last season at the end only to fall short they should be in bowl contention. The Coastal Division of the ACC is weak. Heck even Virginia Tech is not as strong as they could be, especially since they will have close to nothing in their passing game due to rampant attrition in the receiving corps. The larger concern for UNC is playing UConn, Rutgers and Notre Dame on the non-conference slate. After whipping McNeese State the Heels need to take at least one of these games and then snag five ACC wins for a 7-5 mark.