What a college football season it has been. The North Carolina Tar Heels were deemed bowl eligible 44 days ago after a 10-point victory against Miami to reach their sixth win in as many games. Since then, it's been a different and painful regression.
Last night in Charlotte, Florida State defeated Louisville 16-6 to claim the ACC Championship and wrap up a dominant, undefeated season. Unfortunately for the Seminoles, it somehow wasn't enough to convince the committee they belonged amongst the nations four best teams. The debate is taking over the sports world, and I project it won't resolve anytime soon.
How does that impact the Tar Heels?
Well, the Noles are now designated to play in the Orange Bowl, beginning the chaotic domino effect that places every ACC team in their slot for this upcoming bowl season. Clemson is going to the Gator Bowl, NC State is going to the Pop-Tarts Bowl, and Louisville is going to the Holiday Bowl, just to name a few. So where does that leave Mack Brown and North Carolina?
The Duke’s Mayo Bowl vs. West Virginia
Kickoff: December 27, 5:30 pm ET, ESPN
Location: Charlotte, NC (Bank of America Stadium)
History repeats itself, not in a fond way, though. Many Tar Heel fans remember the beatdown received from South Carolina in this same bowl game in 2021. Sam Howell ended his career in Charlotte two years ago, and there is an off-chance Drake Maye could possibly do the same thing if he decides to suit up.
There will be opt-outs and transfers on both sides of this upcoming contest, but even with little at stake, two eight-win teams will have the opportunity to go out on the right note. It is honestly disheartening that two of the programs most prestigious quarterbacks end their time in Chapel Hill as plain as in a mayonnaise bowl. But, it is what it is, and if there is any way to spark a bit of support from the fans, winning wouldn't be a terrible start.
The roster may look completely different from the time I am writing this to kickoff. Who knows how long the lists of departures will be by then. With that being said, while it was a rocky road, the previous wins were earned and whoever does show up for North Carolina deserves to go out with some pride.