North Carolina at Virginia Tech, 12:30 PM, ACC Network
If pessimism set up a concession stand and were giving out snow cones, it is pretty obvious most UNC fans are taking and eating them without question. And why not? When the associate head coach for defense sounds like someone ran over his dog...three times...it is easy to be depressed. Now UNC has to face Virginia Tech at the always intimidating Lane Stadium. Hope is most definitely a fleeting thing at this point.
Looking at the tail of the tape, it certainly doesn't look favorable for the Tar Heel offense. UNC's rushing offense is awful ranked 113th in the country. It is unlikely there will be much production there, even if Romar Morris is back in the lineup. That leaves the passing game which, statistically speaking, UNC is good but not great. The Heels are 23rd in passing offense but that ranking is based on yards per game. When it comes to yards per play, UNC is 44th. The passing offense has been so-so and after watching Bryn Renner struggle last week, it is not clear if he can find his groove again. Oh and Renner is also injured having been seen in a walking boot earlier in the week. It is unclear if he will play today. Given the offensive inconsistency it probably doesn't bode well for UNC to face the 5th best pass defense in the country, especially if Renner is injured.
So if UNC is going have trouble scoring and on paper that looks like it might be the case, the best hope is the Virginia Tech offense shoot itself in the collective foot over and over. There is just no confidence the Tar Heel defense can actually stop the Hokies, especially given how well quarterback Logan Thomas played against UNC last season. What North Carolina is going to need is for Virginia Tech to do what they did against Alabama which is give up a pick six, a punt and kickoff return for touchdown. That is unlikely to happen but you get the point. UNC's best chance in this game is for the Hokies to oblige with some poorly timed mistakes.
Then again, it probably wouldn't surprise anyone for the Tar Heel defense to actually start making plays, the offense to find something resembling momentum and UNC somehow win this game. It is the sort of head scratching moment that happens in ACC football though it does need to be weighed against UNC's penchant for perpetual mediocrity which is usually a stone around it's neck.
Virginia Tech 28 UNC 6