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College Football Week 10: Teams Tar Heels Should Root For This Weekend

No need to figure out who to root for when UNC isn’t on (or even when they are); we’ve got you covered.

Miami v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

You are not a freak. No, you are a well-adjusted Tar Heel fan, with a nice family and interesting hobbies and lots of other great things going for you, I’m sure. You know you should watch and root for UNC when the Heels are on, but you don’t have the time, energy, nor depravity to figure out all the other college football teams you should root for any given week.

Luckily for you, I am a freak and a Tar Heel fan, so I’ve gone ahead and figured it out on your behalf. Each week, I will go through the list of TV timeslots and call out individual teams Tar Heels should root for, whether that be for rivalry reasons, strength-of-schedule implications, or playoff/NY6 positioning. I’ll even list the TV information for your convenience, as well as the point spread so you know how likely a win is (and how hard to root).

Unfortunately, we’ve learned for the second week in the row that, sometimes, rooting hurts. We’ve also learned that the Tar Heels are not making the College Football Playoff nor a New Years 6 Bowl. I’m sad, you’re sad, Mack’s sad, both Rameses and even Rameses Jr. are sad. We’re all sad.

But, while we’re sad, we can also be petty. This post will still detail who we should root for to have a shot at playing for the ACC title (the Charlotte contest is not out of the question, despite what it might feel like), but it will also point out teams we should root for — or rather, teams we should root against — because we’re feeling petty. Because it might make things hurt less. Because when we can’t root for the Heels, we should still root for chaos, fun, and others’ suffering.

Teams Tar Heels should root for are in bold.

Thursday Night

Toronto Raptors at Philadelphia 76ers (7:00 PM ET on NBA TV)

The legend Danny Green has been released by the 76ers. Time to burn Philly to the ground, even if it means rooting for the foreign dinosaurs.

Wake Forest (+12.5) at Dook (7:30 PM ET on ESPN)

We could really use a win from everyone’s 2nd favorite team in North Carolina to raise the spirits.

Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5) (8:15 PM ET on Prime Video)

Two Tar Heels reside in the ‘Burgh (only locals call it this) this season. Kenny Pickett may be returning Thursday night, but Mitch is still the people’s quarterback. Meanwhile, Cole Holcomb is the quarterback of the Steelers defense. That’s two Tar Heels quarterbacks for the Steelers. Meanwhile, the Titans will be starting Will Levis at quarterback. Levis played college ball at Penn State and Kentucky, two schools that are not UNC. This one’s double easy.

San Antonio Spurs at Phoenix Suns (10:00 PM ET on NBA TV)

As a reminder from last week: our appreciation for Nassir Little triumphs over our distaste for Allen, Grayson. Love wins.

Friday Night

The North Carolina High School Football state playoffs begin this Friday night. Root for health, happiness, high school dream fulfilment, and these future Tar Heels in their tournaments:

  • Malcolm Ziglar — Fuquay-Varina (4A Seed #25)
  • Alex Taylor — Grimsley (4A Seed #4)
  • Jordan Shipp — Providence Day (NCISAA Division 1 Seed #2)
  • Javarius Green — Crest (3A Seed #1)
  • Keenan Jackson — Weddington (4A Seed #1)
  • Khalil Conley — Christ School (NCISAA Division 1 Seed #4)
  • Curtis Simpson — King’s Mountain (3A Seed #10)
  • Desmond Jackson — West Forsyth (4A Seed #11)
  • Jani Norwood — Eastern Randolph (1A Seed #3)

You may find all of the state playoff brackets linked here.

Also, in a game that’s close to high school quality:

Boston College at Syracuse (-2.5) (7:30 PM ET on ESPN)

We beat Cuse, so this would be a nice, itty-bitty feather in the cap. Plus, BC has the same number of conference losses as the Tar Heels. We need Otto the Orange (and friends) to rectify that real quick.

Saturday (Early)

Ohio State at Rutgers (+18.5) (Noon ET on CBS)

You KNOW this would be funny. Remember, our world has already burned to the ground; we want to see everyone else burn with us.

By the way, Rutgers is bowl-eligible and receiving fewer than 3 touchdowns against Ohio State. This is already a top 10 season in program history. I am not joking.

Kansas State (+4) at Texas (Noon ET on Fox)

The Mack Brown revenge fan fiction is dead. If I can’t be happy due to a failed clash with the Longhorns I made up in my head, they shouldn’t be happy either.

Notre Dame at Clemson (+3) (Noon ET on ABC)

Notre Dame is gross and we play Clemson in 3 weeks. Could we sneak a lil upset on the road that means something and salvage this season? Well, it’s far from a guarantee, but Clemson beating Notre Dame on Saturday would help.

UConn (+36) at Tennessee (Noon ET on SEC Network)

Self-explanatory comedy here. PLEASE let the SEC get UConn’d on the SEC Network.

Jacksonville State (+15.5) at South Carolina (Noon ET on ESPNU)

Really, we’re just rooting for entertaining Cock on Cock violence, but it would be funnier if J’Ville State got the win. It’s just a shame this game is happening 4 days after Cocktober.

Georgia Tech at Virginia (Over 56) (2:00 PM ET on The CW)

Oh man, I really hope both these teams look awesome.

(They won’t.)

Saturday (Midday)

Missouri (+15.5) at Georgia (3:30 PM ET on CBS)

Should Georgia prevail at home on Saturday, the back-to-back champs will lock up the SEC East yet again. Who, outside of barking adults, wants that?

Florida State at Pitt (+21.5) (3:30 PM ET on ESPN)

Just when the path to the playoff via the ACC looked clear and easy...

*Pitt superweapon charges*

Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (+5.5) (3:30 PM ET on ABC)

Look, this is a rivalry in the way UNC-NC State Men’s Basketball is a rivalry. However, I can’t imagine Oklahoma State fans are quite that annoying, so you’re free and clear to root for the little guy getting their last shot at big brother. At the very least, this would make the Big 12 title race a bit more interesting.

Penn State at Maryland (+10) (3:30 PM ET on FOX)

BURN. IT. DOWN.

Virginia Tech (+9.5) at Louisville (3:30 PM ET on ACC Network)

Unfortunately, both these teams sit ahead of UNC in the ACC standings with only 1 conference loss each. Also unfortunately, UNC does not have a chance to play either and give them additional losses. So, we’re inclined to root for the underdog here and hope they find another loss later.

Yes, I’m very sad. I said that before.

Cal (+24) at Oregon (5:30 PM ET on PAC-12 Network)

However, a Cal win for the ACC (and chaos) would make me a bit happier*.

*More accurately: a bit less devastatingly sad.

Saturday (Primetime)

Kansas at Iowa State (-2.5) (7:00 PM ET on ESPN)

WE should be the basketball school in the CFP rankings, not Kansas. It should be us!!

Purdue (+32.5) at Michigan (7:30 PM ET on NBC)

Boiler up, baby. The only signals to steal here are train signals, and ya best get off the tracks.

Miami (-4.5) at NC State (8:00 PM ET on ACC Network)

Need I say more?

Chicago Bulls at Denver Nuggets (9:00 PM ET on NBA TV)

Coby White has a chance to break out against the reigning champs. All Hail Coby the Usurper.

Saturday (After Dark)

Oregon State at Colorado (+13.5) (10:00 PM ET on ESPN)

Whether you’ll predict them to win or lose, you’re going to want Colorado on your bowl pool picks sheet. The Buffs are 4-4 and will not beat Utah on November 25th. That means they need to win 2 of their next 3 games, which in turn means we need to root for them this Saturday night.

This season just won’t feel complete without Deion Sanders coaching the Jeff’s Tattoo and Soft-Serve Pine Cone Bowl.


I hope I’ve given you Tar Heels a helpful guide as you align your rooting energies ahead of this weekend. Are there any other teams you’re pulling for? Drop them in the comments below.

Remember, if we all root really hard, we can affect the games.