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Projecting The Rest Of The Season

Considering the circumstances in which this season began with the firing of a head coach and tons of uncertainty, to sit here at the halfway point and have a legitimate discussion about nine regular season wins is a great position to be in. The problem is, the last half of UNC's schedule is easily the more difficult segment with three tough road games and not much easier at home. In fact none of the six games left are ones I would strongly categorize as "should wins" All are toss-ups at best or probable losses at worst.

Still, UNC should be competitive and have a chance in every game so without further ado, here is what the rest of schedule looks like.

October 15th, vs Miami, 12:30 PM

Miami is a tough team to read. Like UNC a year ago, the Hurricanes have been sorting through NCAA suspensions. They lost at Maryland but beat Ohio St. Then there was the inexplicable first half performance versus Bethune-Cookman followed by a points outburst in Blacksburg while losing to Virginia Tech.  The upside for UNC here is the game is at home and the matchup favors UNC to some extent. For UNC to get the most out of the six games left defending their home turf is essential.

Prediction: Probable win

October 22nd, at Clemson, TBA

Clemson has given all the indications of being "for real" which makes a game in Death Valley a daunting task. It would be such a task under any circumstances but even more so given how well the Tigers have been playing. Not to mention, Clemson QB Tahj Boyd will have a field day with the Tar Heel secondary. UNC's only hope is Clemson decides to be Clemson and UNC can win in a shootout. Otherwise, the odds are not good.

Prediction: Probable loss

October 29th, vs Wake Forest, TBA

One of the greatest mysteries of our time: How the heck does Jim Grobe win football games at Wake Forest. After a couple of down seasons in Winston-Salem that had people asking if Grobe's magic run had ended, Wake is one Tanner Price injury away from being 5-0 right now. Prior to the season I had this pegged as a game UNC should win but now that Wake has some confidence, it is definitely moved closer to a toss-up. Plus, Grobe will coach circles out Everett Withers' staff which will further anger the masses. This will be another challenge as UNC tries to keep their home record spotless.


November 5th, at NC State, TBA

As expected, the NC State team which wet the bed on national TV versus Cincinnati is steadily improving, getting players back from injury and will be the freaking Green Bay Packers by the time UNC shows up in Raleigh on November 5th. Still the Pack defense is not great much like UNC's defense is not great. That will make this game more of a shootout with the notable edge for UNC being Gio Bernard. I would characterize the passing games as being even. The main issue for UNC is having wandered into a place where the losing streak takes on a life of its own and becomes a pressure point. UNC has to work past that but at least Russell Wilson is not around to torture UNC anymore.

Prediction: Toss-up

November 17th, at Virginia Tech, 8:00 PM

The last time UNC visited Lane Stadium on a Thursday night, the Heels won. Then the NCAA investigation came along and now the win no longer counts. I guess that means UNC should go up there an get another one. The Hokies have their share of issues, especially on defense. If UNC's offense can get rolling it will give them a chance. However I get the feeling this is more likely a game UNC can't quite get over the hump on especially since the Hokies' run defense is pretty good.

Prediction: Probable loss

November 26th, vs Duke, TBA

Despite Duke's improvement and more people beginning to believe the Blue Devils might be ready to crawl out of the hole they've been in for two decades, I am still not convinced. Duke will give UNC's defense its share of trouble but the Tar Heels offense will be equally as challenging to the Devils' defense. Plus this is a rivalry game for which UNC gets an extra two days to prepare.

Prediction: Probable win

The rest of the season breaks down this way. UNC has two games they will likely lose at Virginia Tech and Clemson. There are two games they will likely win in Miami and Duke which is 2-2 and puts the Heels at 7-3. From there it could be 7-5, 8-4 or 9-3 based on what happens in the two toss-ups versus Wake and NCSU. Despite the recent inconsistent play, I am going to optimistic route and put this team at 4-2 the rest of the way for a final 9-3 regular season mark.

Honestly, I could be just as wrong because all these games look as though they could be wild, unpredictable affairs.