North Carolina football: Predicting the Tar Heels' final record in 2023
The North Carolina Tar Heels had a chance to do the unthinkable and sneak into the College Football Playoff. Instead, the Tar Heels stumbled at home against an inferior conference opponent and likely ended any Playoff hopes.
However, the Tar Heels still have much to play for. A New Year’s 6 bowl and the ACC Championship are still in play.
The Tar Heels must bounce back quickly as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are next on the schedule. The Yellow Jackets have already wrecked 1 ACC team’s season, and they would love to do it once again. Now, lets take a look at the rest of the Heels’ season and predict what the team’s final record will be.
Week 9: at Georgia Tech
Even on the road, the Tar Heels will be big favorites against the Yellow Jackets. The Jackets secured a big conference win by knocking off the then-undefeated Miami Hurricanes a couple of weeks ago. However, the team is still sitting at just 2-2 in the conference and 3-4 overall.
On Saturday, the Jackets fell 38-23 to a mediocre Boston College team. The Tar Heels had an even worse loss on Saturday, so you can be assured the team will be looking to take it out on the Jackets. The Jackets have the No. 125 total defense in the nation and are allowing 225+ rushing and passing yards per game. Drake Maye and the Tar Heels should be able to do whatever they want against this defense.
The Jackets have actually had success against the Heels historically, with 32 wins compared to the Heels’ 21 in the series. The Heels have not beaten the Jackets since 2019. However, none of that will matter next Saturday. The Tar Heels will be taking their anger out on the Jackets and it won’t be close.
Prediction: North Carolina 42, Georgia Tech 13
Week 10: vs. Campbell
The Tar Heels have never before played the Campbell Fighting Camels, even though the teams are just over an hour away from each other.
The Camels are an FCS team competing in the Colonial Athletic Association. The team is out to a 4-3 record thus far and is 6th in their conference. The Camels do have some offense, currently boasting the No. 14 total offense in the FCS. However, the defense has had a hard time stopping North Carolina Central, Elon, and Maine.
This game won’t be close either. Expect the Tar Heel starters to be on the bench by the 3rd quarter.
Prediction: North Carolina 54, Campbell 17
Week 11: vs. Duke
This rivalry has been all Tar Heels of late. The Tar Heels have won 4 straight in the series, with the Blue Devils last winning in 2018. Overall, the Tar Heels have 63 wins in the series while the Blue Devils have 41.
We have the Tar Heels heading into this game sitting at 8-1 and with the ACC Championship still within reach. These games are typically tight, with the Tar Heels escaping with a 3-point win last season. The Blue Devils’ play really solid defense and can run the ball efficiently. If the Blue Devil defense contains Drake Maye, it could be a long night for the Tar Heels.
However, I just don’t think the Devils can keep up with the Heels, even with Riley Leonard. Ultimately, I believe the Heels are able to pull away with this one.
Prediction: North Carolina 28, Duke 20
Week 12: at Clemson
The Tar Heels do not have a good history with the Clemson Tigers. The Tigers have 39 wins in the series, while the Heels have just 19. The Tigers have won 5 in a row in the series, with the Tar Heels not winning since 2010.
The Tar Heels, unfortunately, do not match up well with the Tigers. The Tigers boast the No. 7 total defense in the nation, and the secondary could be good enough to shut down Maye and his receivers. This could be one of those games where 17 points is enough to win. If that’s the case, the Heels will be in trouble.
It’s hard for me to pick the Heels to win in this series considering the history. For whatever reason, it seems like Dabo’s team just knows how to contain this UNC team. I think that continues this season.
Prediction: Clemson 24, North Carolina 13
Week 13: at North Carolina State
The Tar Heels have traditionally dominated this in-state rivalry. The Heels have 68 wins in the series compared to the Wolfpack’s 38. However, the Wolfpack have won 4 of the last 6.
This is another team that boasts a defense that is capable of stopping the Tar Heels’ potent offense. Unlike Clemson, however, I don’t think the Wolfpack have enough on offense to outscore the Heels. The Wolfpack scored 40+ agaisnt VMI and Marshall, but have a season-high of 24 points in all other games. Against Duke, the Wolfpack mustered just 3 points.
I believe the Tar Heels’ defense will get after the QB and the offense will score enough to secure a comfortable lead.
Prediction: North Carolina 31, North Carolina State 10