This is the sixth of a week-long series of posts sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011. The end is in sight, I promise.
I'm not going to go into extensive detail about my expectations for the 2010 season here; it is, after all, what I expect to spend the next two months mulling over. Suffice to say, I'm not thinking of a 12-0 season like some people. Even 10-2 is less likely than 9-3. Of course, I don't have nearly the expectations for Florida State and Miami either, so I do believe a trip to the conference championship is achievable with a 9-3 record, and a BCS bowl bid is quite possible. I somehow both overly pessimistic and optimistic about this team at the same time, a pretty nifty trick.
I will talk about the first concern I have of the season. It's not Quan Sturdivant's legal troubles or the risk of fire; it's the bye week. UNC's bye week this season comes right after the season opener against LSU, after which they plow through eleven straight games without a break. Unless, I suppose, you want to count D1-AA opponent William & Mary as a break.
Not only does this mean nothing but Saturday games for the Heels, but it gives them little margin for error. Last season UNC took the bye week midseason to heal a battered offensive line. They were 1-2 going into the week off with that win coming at the expense of Georgia Southern, while they came out of the bye with a heartbreaking loss to FSU and four straight wins. In 2008 they also had the post-first week bye, and faded down the stretch with poor losses to Maryland and State in November. Of course, in 2006 and 2007 the midseason bye did no good, as Carolina lost six straight and three of four, respectively. So perhaps it's not a big deal. However, that November stretch o FSU, Virginia Tech and N.C. State looked pretty difficult before. Coming as it does after seven straight weeks of games, it'll be exceedingly tough.