clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tar Heel Hangover: A spooky season

Far more tricks than treats.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Tar Heel Hangover. This is our Monday morning opportunity to review last week’s game, second guess all of the key moments, and set the game plan for the week ahead.

The Elevator Speech: What happened last week.

Another week, another loss. The first half was pretty competitive with the Cavaliers only holding a three point lead at halftime. The Carolina offense stagnated in the third quarter, however, gaining just over 40 yards and only managing two first downs. This one was not as close as the final score.

Water Cooler Discussion: If I were the coach . . .

Let’s put a Halloween theme on this week’s review.

The Tar Heel offense is cobbled together like Frankenstein. Their movements are jerky but when they get a bit of momentum they can actually put a scare into the local villagers. In the end, it is really just a sad ending and a few questions about what went wrong.

Like so many scary movie monsters, the perceived strength of the offense did not show up at critical times. The horror show on Saturday was watching the Cavaliers methodically march up and down the field while eating up huge chunks of time. The Carolina offense could not respond and had far too many three-and-outs. A twenty-minute time of possession difference and a mere 66 rushing yards spelled doom.

Perhaps this team will rise from the dead like a lovable zombie, win out, and go on to a storybook bowl game ending. Much more likely would be bringing Jaws home to hang out with your goldfish. While Saturday was not a complete nuclear apocalypse, it certainly wasn’t very pretty to watch.

Lying In Bed, I Wish I Could Change . . .

My preseason predictions and expectations for this team. This is really saying something considering my generally pessimistic attitude toward the football program. There were too many questions on both sides of the ball to anticipate a division-winning season, but it is safe to say that one win at this point is shocking.

Perhaps this is really more of a statement about how delusional Tar Heel fans can be. Even after the suspensions were announced, there was an undercurrent that staggering the missed games could limit the damage. There was hope that the rushing game could carry an unproven but high-potential passing game. The defense looked to be improved. Seven wins seemed reasonable.

And while we are on the subject, how incredible is it in retrospect that Fedora was not fired for cause the moment infractions were discovered? I have not researched or reviewed the Fedora extension agreement, but many coaching contracts contain separate termination provisions for with and without cause. Losing a lot would not likely be “cause” for termination purposes. Allowing NCAA conduct violations, however, may be. The difference in the two is more than mere semantics. A firing with cause could void any penalty or buyout provision.

What the whole scenario may say is that the administration had plenty of hope in the success of the season. Looking back now after a disastrous couple of months, I wonder if this decision would have been different.

Looking Forward: A quick peak ahead.

Playing Georgia Tech this year feels like a Twilight Zone episode. The Rambling Wreck are a team that gains over 75% of its total yards on the ground (nearly 370 yards per game). Granted this is their scheme that has been in place for years, but this is precisely the type of offensive imbalance that I have been pleading for week after week.

It is not often that one looks to a .500 team with envy, but that’s precisely what Tar Heel fans will be doing next week.

Final Thoughts

Next week we will get to start talking about basketball. This week, we will put on our costumes and go trick-or-treating. A huge sugar rush could mask our football sadness.