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The Debate: Summer finale

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Wrapping up a summer of debates and looking ahead.

NCAA FOOTBALL: NOV 10 North Carolina at Duke Photo by William Howard/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It has been a fun summer at The Debate. We have covered topics from basketball to football, family to fandom. We have looked at the Kenan playing surface and seating arrangements. We have viewed basketball eras, recruits, and departures.

At times, the summer topics can get a little hard to come by. This is especially true when recruiting hits a lull. Those are the times that my fellow writers at tarheelblog.com chime in with (mostly) great ideas. In addition to what you have read and hopefully enjoyed debating this summer, these are the suggestions that did not quite make it to Monday morning:

Five best UNC point guards of all time.

Who should start at quarterback?

Was Butch Davis good or bad for UNC?

What was worse; Mack’s first two years or Fedora’s last two?

Most overrated basketball players.

The comments this summer have also been tremendous. I have been writing on the site for over two years now and this readership is consistently more knowledgeable and analytical than any other site. And that’s not just because the readers are, mostly, fans. Readers of this site really know their stuff. Thank you for being a part of my summer.

Classes are about to start as students and fans alike return to campus. So where do we draw to a conclusion on the eve of college football week 1 and just over a month until Late Night with Roy?

The Debate for the week of August 26: The summer ends full of potential. What will things look like in three months?

Point: Tar Heel Fans are in for a good fall.

Is the football season going to be perfect? No. Will the team be undefeated when Clemson comes to town? I think not, but there is some debate on that point from my fellow writers including Jake Lawrence. By the time the end of November arrives, this will be a Tar Heel football program that is heading in the right direction.

The Debate has already covered the topic of what a successful football season means (also the subject of a podcast with Chad Floyd). This Debate is more about what general direction the program will feel like it is going. The 2019 Tar Heels will lose some tough games on the gridiron, but the days of frustration at inexplicable play calling and silly penalties have come to a conclusion. The offense will, based on Phil Longo’s history, move the ball and put points on the board, something that has been in increasingly short supply the last few years. The defense will probably do enough to some win games.

At the very least, this will not be a team competing to be on worst 10 lists.

The end of November will not bring a definitive determination for the basketball team, but it will bring optimism. Matching great recruits, talented transfers, and seasoned veterans will serve the Heels well in the early going. Plus, for the first time ever, Carolina will have a winning conference record before December 1. Winning the Battle 4 Atlantis will cap a great early season.

Counterpoint: Expectations are a little too high right now.

For a team with so few wins over the past two years and only a few months of Mack Brown recruiting, there is just too much optimism. Cutting out the terrible mistakes will help, but only by a couple of wins. The real rebuilding will not really take form for another year or two as more tremendous recruits, such as the 2020 class, pour into Chapel Hill. For now, fans will need to be content with a bright future and mediocre results, particularly with as brutal a schedule as UNC is facing.

There should be as much fear around the season as there is hope.

Basketball could also very well get off to a slow start. Roy Williams is historically a very patient developer of freshmen. It may be that Cole Anthony is the exception, but more likely is that a freshman point guard for the Tar Heels will hit early bumps. That could especially be true when there are not a ton of experienced pure scorers surrounding him.

Do not be biased by Coby White’s success. He was on a team full of All American talent that started three seniors who won a ton of games in their careers. Anthony will be surrounded by Garrison Brooks and a lot of questions.

The basketball Heels may end up with a great season, but that success will come in February and March, not necessarily November.

Time for you to decide! Wins fans be generally pleased or frustrated in three months? Will the football team start to climb the hill or is this just a waiting game for more players? Is this finally the preseason that player turnover catches up to Roy Williams?

As always, readers are encouraged to join in through the comments and point out what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we never thought of. It has been a pleasure presenting these topics throughout the summer and I look forward to resuming a weekly recap article as football starts again. As the sign in my parents’ yard reads, Keep Calm and Go Heels!