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UNC Football: What to watch during the Tar Heels’ bye week

Carolina might not have a game this weekend, but there are still some games out there that could have an impact on the Heels.

NCAA Football: Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the “Week Zero” game against Florida A&M, North Carolina football got to stretch their 12 game season over an extra week, allowing them a second bye week. Here in Week Eight of the season, we’re now at the second as the Tar Heels will get the weekend off.

While we won’t get the chance to see a UNC football game today, there’s still plenty of other college football action, including a bunch that will be relevant for Carolina. Thanks to a 6-1 start, the Tar Heels currently sit atop the ACC Coastal Division, as the only team yet to take a conference loss. While there’s still plenty of season left, with most teams at or beyond the halfway point, the division race is at least something to keep an eye on. With Carolina idle for the weekend, here are some games to keep an eye on from a Tar Heel perspective.

Pitt at Louisville - Saturday 8 PM ET on ACC Network

One team to watch out for is Pitt, who is next up on the schedule for UNC when they return from the bye.

It’s been a weird season for the Panthers so far. They currently sit at 4-2, featuring a memorable Backyard Brawl win over West Virginia, a six touchdown performance from running back Israel Abanikanda against Virginia Tech, and battling a clearly very good Tennessee team until the final moments. Their other unexpectedly loss came to Georgia Tech, right after the Yellow Jackets had fired coach Geoff Collins.

Louisville hasn’t been great this season, and it seems like there’s a chance that it’s the end of the line for Scott Satterfield. However at 3-3, they’re also not pushovers. Louisville is slight favorite at time of writing, but it’s by a slim margin and with the benefit of homefield. Pitt stands a good chance in this game, and if they do, they’ll be 2-1 in the conference going into next week. That situation could definitely lead to some Coastal implications next week.

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia - Thursday 7:30 PM ET on ESPN

The team currently right behind UNC in the Coastal is Georgia Tech, which is fairly unexpected. Even going into the season they picked toward the bottom of the division, and even beyond that they made midseason coaching change. However, since firing Collins and making Brent Key the interim coach, Tech has won two games over Pitt and Duke. As a result, the Yellow Jackets now sit second in the division with five conference games left in their season.

Tech is set to face UVA tonight, and they stand a decent shot at winning that game. After that, they still have conference games against Florida State, Miami, and UNC, which they’ll probably be the underdogs in, however, this game might be worth keeping an eye on.

Wake Forest vs. Boston College - Saturday 3:30 PM ET on ACC Network

Especially in light of Devin Leary’s injury for NC State, Wake Forest seems like the most difficult test left on UNC’s schedule. The Heels won last year’s weird non-conference meeting between the two, but this year’s will count in the ACC standings. You’d have to figure that they’ll be able to handle Boston College, and if so, this year’s meeting could end up being an all-ranked battle.

There’s plenty of other games on the slate this weekend, so enjoy your lack of a UNC-caused heart attack.