The good news: the North Carolina Tar Heels are two wins away from bowl eligibility.
The bad news: there are just two games to play.
Carolina comes into the final home game of the year as 39-point favorites over FCS Mercer. UNC needs to take care of business this week to set themselves up for their most meaningful game in two seasons.
The Tar Heels should hold the size and talent advantage over the Bears, but there are a few key points to watch on Senior Day in Kenan Stadium.
Live Action for More Players
Lack of depth has been a theme for the Tar Heels since training camp. Adding to this, injuries throughout the season, especially on the offensive line and in the defensive backfield, has caused many players to carry the workload for the team.
Some younger players were thrown into the fire and some were held back as they were not ready for the tight games the Tar Heels played this season.
If Carolina plays like the 39-point favorite as deemed by the oddsmakers, this will allow for the starters to get a breather and the depth players to get extended playing time. As mentioned time and again, there is nothing like playing in a game and this young time can benefit with more players on the field this weekend.
This connects with the previous point. This is not a conference game, however it is important to UNC’s total season effort. This is a must-win.
With injuries and lack of depth, the Tar Heels simply cannot afford for any more of their key players to go down with an injury. One of the worst situations is an injury in a game that is already well in hand.
If the Tar Heels get to that point on Saturday, one has to believe that players on both sides of the ball will be pulled with this consideration in mind.
Making the Day Count
As mentioned yesterday, this will be the final collegiate home game for many players on the roster. I am not sure those seniors expected the changes in Chapel Hill the past couple years after recruitment and enrollment in 2015 and 2016.
In his weekly press conference, head coach Mack Brown emphasized how important this day is to the players and coaches.
No doubt, it will be an emotional day. And it will be one last chance to leave it on the field for the home crowd. Let’s see if any magic happens on Saturday.