North Carolina vs Virginia, 3:30 PM, RSN
This has letdown game written all over it.
On Thursday, UNC heads to Pittsburgh for the first of three games against three of the top four teams in the Coastal Division(with the Tar Heels being the fourth.) It kicks off a huge stretch that could determine whether UNC can win the Coastal Division. Before UNC gets there the Tar Heels must dispatch Virginia. The Tar Heels are heavily favored and a little loss of focus wouldn't be surprising.
Despite the 5-1 record and the first 2-0 start in ACC play since 1997 the Tar Heels are still a handful of questions and tinge of trepidation whether UNC is who we think it is. Some of that is the difficulty in trusting a UNC program that has persistently fallen short when been given the opportunity to really have a special season. The other part of it is the Tar Heel offense, for as good as it has been, still suffers from inconsistency at times.
That inconsistency can be tied to the play of Marquise Williams. The fifth year senior QB can swing from one end to the other in his caliber if play. When he's on, UNC's offense is very, very good. When he is making poor decisions the offense suffers. Williams getting to a place where he plays a much cleaner game that he has so far will be key heading into the stretch of games ahead. Early turnovers could also pave the way for a Virginia team struggling for a signature win to gain some confidence on the road.
With the toughest stretch of the schedule still to come, UNC could position itself not with just a 3-0 record but with momentum heading to Pittsburgh on Thursday. It was also be beneficial for the Tar Heels to open the game up early and cruise in the second half to rest the starters with a short period to prepare for Pittsburgh.
UNC 49 Virginia 17