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UNC Football: Games to keep an eye on today

With the Tar Heels on a bye, here are some interesting games to look out for from a UNC perspective.

NCAA Football: Marshall at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Normally on Saturday morning during football season, this would be our how to watch post that let’s you know how to check out North Carolina’s game that day. However, the Tar Heels are off this week, getting a bye before their matchup with Notre Dame next weekend. The “Week Zero” matchup against Florida A&M gave UNC an extra week for the 12 games to be spread across. As a result, the Heels will get two bye weeks this year, and we’re crossing one off the list this weekend.

The bye week should hopefully provide a chance to Carolina to build on what’s worked, and try and fix what hasn’t. However as people who aren’t on or coaching the team, it also gives us a couple free hours of non-UNC football watching. So, instead of preparing to watch Carolina, here’s a look at some games to keep an eye on from a Tar Heels’ perspective today.

Cal at Notre Dame - 2:30 PM ET on NBC/Peacock

As mentioned, the Irish are next up on the schedule for UNC. However, while Carolina gets a bye ahead of that game, Notre Dame does not, as they prepare to host the Cal Golden Bears this weekend. This game will be an interesting one in general, even beyond a UNC perspective. There are going to be some eyes on Notre Dame as people keep an eye on seeing how they bounce back from an 0-2 start, which included a home loss to Marshall.

While the loss to Ohio State was a completely understandable one, Notre Dame losing to the Thundering Herd is...less so. It’s clear that Notre Dame isn’t quite the #5 team in the nation, like they were considered by the AP Poll going into week one. However, there’s still talent on that roster, so can they use that to get back on track against Cal? It’ll be interesting to see how they look ahead of the matchup against the Heels.

Also, it’ll be interesting to see what they can take away from that game. Can they crush Cal and get some mojo back and then use it going into next weekend? A loss dropping them to 0-3 might suggest that they’re not a good team, but also might provide some extra motivation for the UNC game. Is it better that there’s a buffer in between the Marshall game or would it have been better to get them while they’re still licking their wounds? Anyway, this is probably the most interesting game this weekend from a UNC perpspective.

#13 Miami at #24 Texas A&M - 9:00 PM ET on ESPN

UNC’s conference season will open against Virginia Tech on October 1st. From a fan perspective, there’s probably not much that we can take away from the Hokies’ game against Wofford this weekend, even though Tech has already lost to a lesser conference opponent. However, UNC’s second ACC opponent of the season? Well, there’s probably some stuff we can learn from their game this weekend.

Miami are set to hit the road to take on Texas A&M, who, quite notable, have had a common opponent with UNC this season. The Aggies took a home loss to Appalachian State last weekend, scoring just 14 points on the defense that UNC put up 63 on. Now, there’s only so much you can read into transitive property things, but it should be interesting to see hot the preseason Coastal Division favorite does against a team that just lost to a G5 team, especially a G5 team that Carolina just beat.

Beyond this one, it’s maybe worth keeping an eye on how all of UNC’s upcoming ACC opponents look this weekend. Beyond this one, the other most interesting game is probably NC State hosting Texas Tech (7 PM ET on ESPN2).

Charlotte at Georgia State - 7:00 PM ET on ESPN+

I’m not saying watch this one as much as I am saying to keep an eye on the stats and the result. We got some pretty immediate validation for UNC after struggling with App, now let’s see how the Panther follow up their close loss.

Charlotte obviously is not remotely on the same level as Texas A&M, and has really struggled to start the season. If Georgia State comes in and blows them out of the water, then we might be able to feel a little better about UNC’s performance against them.

If none of those games are your thing, there’s plenty of UNC teams in action today, including women’s soccer, who will play Virginia at 6 PM ET on ACC Network Extra.