ESPN published a roundtable this week breaking down college football’s coaches and players with the “most to prove” going into next season.

North Carolina coach Mack Brown was one of the coaches identified in the piece. Brown, 72, is already a Hall-of-Famer and has been the subject of retirement rumors in recent seasons.

However, after back-to-back second-half collapses the past 2 seasons, Brown may have missed his best window to make North Carolina a title contender, writes ESPN’s David Hale. Here’s an excerpt from Hale’s analysis:

But when Brown returned to UNC in 2019, it was with the intent to take the Heels from a regular bowl team to a regular playoff contender. At times, he’s seemed close, but despite having two extremely talented quarterbacks in Sam Howell and Drake Maye, UNC still seems stuck on the margins. Brown brought in Geoff Collins this offseason as his third defensive coordinator, and he’ll turn to either veteran Max Johnson or sophomore Conner Harrell to replace Maye. Brown will be 73 when the season kicks off, and while age doesn’t seem to be slowing him down, the window to transform UNC into a real playoff threat won’t be open forever, and there’s certainly those who’ll wonder if he already missed his best chance with Maye.

With the College Football Playoff set to expand to 12 teams next season, there’s a much-larger window for the Tar Heels to reach the CFP. However, UNC has been ranked in the final College Football Playoff selection committee poll just twice in the last 10 seasons.

Even with Maye and other key players moving on, Carolina is hoping to contend for the ACC title again in 2024. Florida State, Clemson and Miami are amongst the ACC’s other top preseason contenders for the title next season.