Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in North Carolina Tar Heels fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.
Fun fact: the North Carolina Tar Heels have not won the ACC championship since 1980. A lot of you probably already knew that, but did you ever take the time to figure out which teams have won the conference title since then? If not, here’s the list:
The only teams that haven’t won the conference title since 1980 either used to be in a different conference prior to the 2000s, or they are NC State (their last one was 1979, for those of you are curious). Needless to say, it feels like the stakes are pretty high for UNC to finally do something special this season, but if they don't, one has to wonder what will become of the Tar Heels’ head coach Mack Brown.
While it might sound harsh put the season’s success squarely on his shoulders, there’s a few things to note here. First, Mack Brown did an incredible job with the football program back in the 90s, but he never found a way to win the ACC title despite winning multiple bowl games. Following his tenure at Carolina, he moved onto Texas and won two Big 12 titles, as well as a national championship. His return to Carolina has been program-changing off of the field, but if we’re being honest, the product on the field hasn’t looked much better than when Larry Fedora was here. Think I’m being dramatic? UNC has won 30 games during the first four seasons of the Mack Brown 2.0 era, and during Fedora’s first four seasons they won 32. It has literally been the same movie that we’ve seen before, though it’s somehow a regular Blu-Ray version instead of in 4K.
While bringing back Hall of Fame coach Mack Brown has been a positive for the program in many ways, it really does feel like Carolina football cannot escape mediocrity. If a guy like Brown can’t at least win the ACC title, then what are we doing here? What is Bubba Cunningham’s next move? It seems insane to take the “business as usual” approach if this team falls short of another conference title, right? We here at Tar Heel Blog really want to know your take on the situation, which is why our newest Reacts poll asks: Should UNC consider moving on from Mack Brown if this seasons doesn’t meet expectations?
The expectations for the Tar Heels are pretty subjective, but ultimately I feel like the minimum expectation should be finally winning the ACC championship. Winning the national championship is likely an unrealistic goal, so I feel like that’s a good place to set the bar. However, don’t let your dreams be dreams: let us know what your expectations are of this team in the comments below. There are no wrong answers here, but one thing is for sure: the Tar Heels becoming nationally relevant is long overdue, and if Brown can’t get it done, then Bubba Cunningham needs to think long and hard about what his next move is.