The final game of the season is finally here: the Tar Heels are just moments away from taking on the Oregon Ducks in the Holiday Bowl. This will be UNC’s first ever bowl game in California, and it is also the first time that the Ducks and the Heels have played each other in football. Both teams will enter this game with offenses that dominated most of the season, but neither team were able to do quite enough to earn a New Year’s Six game bid. The big differentiator here, however, is that UNC is still fighting to earn the respect of the college football landscape, so this game is pretty big from that perspective.
While we are uncertain how this game will play out, we do know that Mack Brown really wants his guys to take this game seriously. When speaking to media members, Brown mentioned that last season he felt like the players didn’t give 100% in their bowl game against South Carolina, and that he has reminded them at practice for the Holiday Bowl that it was unacceptable.
“I told the guys this week before we started out here, I said, ‘If you are not going to give us 100 percent during the game, do us a favor, do the fans a favor, do the Holiday Bowl a favor. Stay home. Stay home.’”
While he expects players to show up for this game both literally and figuratively, one person who will not show up at Petco Park is Phil Longo. Now that he has accepted a job in Wisconsin, the Heels will have to navigate the offense without him, which will make for a really interesting situation to say the least. Will Drake Maye & Co. still be able to get the job done without the guy that’s been leading the charge all season long? We will find out soon.
As always, we will be back after the game with post-game analysis and takes. Until then, Go Heels!