All the signs were there that the Duke’s Mayo Bowl was not going to be a highlight for the 2023 Carolina football team. With Drake Maye’s tenure in Chapel Hill closing with the redshirt sophomore announcing he’d be declaring for the NFL Draft, in addition to ten other starters opting out of the game, there seemed to be little hope that this would be anything worth really tuning in for, and that feeling was not wrong.
The Tar Heels were simply overmatched in the 30-10 loss. Possible quarterback-to-be Conner Harrell had good flashes mixed with some unfortunate decisions and interceptions, but there just wasn’t enough offense or defense to make the game feel truly competitive. That was not helped by the fact that the defense gave up a touchdown on the literal first play of the game and West Virginia never looked back. Turning the ball over three times and allowing six sacks didn’t help either.
What can really be said about this game, though? It’s not representative of the team that played this season, and there will be plenty of changes before next season that will further change what things will look like before we see the team again in 2024. That’s just how bowl season goes these days, which feels like it might be due for a change before long within the current landscape of college football.
So now we wait to see the extent of personnel changes that happen now that the season has concluded. This one will likely be remembered as a season that could have and perhaps should have been much more than it was and that is disappointing. There were definitely some fun moments at the beginning of the season, but things turned sour in a hurry down the stretch.
At least Mack Brown was able to avoid a shower of mayonnaise, which actually sounds like a win to me.