When you’re North Carolina the opportunity to be a great football team doesn’t come around often. Maybe there will be more opportunities in the future, but history says those chances will be limited. UNC had a chance Tuesday to be great, and they absolutely blew it.
You wouldn’t have known the way UNC’s D was gashed time and time again that the Heels were facing a Baylor team decimated by injury especially on the offensive side of the ball.
The Heels defense looked every bit like it was last year. Arm tackling, poor angles, and undisciplined play led to Baylor moving the ball at will.
UNC goes 11-3 on the year, and will likely finish in the top 20. That’s a good season. The Tar Heels won the Coastal Division. It could be a major step forward for the program, but you can’t help but think UNC let a truly great season slip away. QB Marquise Williams will be gone, though some think Mitch Tribusky is better. Offensively I don’t see much drop off, but defensively Fedora is going to have to recruit, recruit, and recruit some more if this isn’t going to the high water mark for his program.
Remember despite winning 11 games, there wasn’t a win against a ranked team. Against Clemson and Baylor in their final 2 games, the defense looked helpless. We know Gene Chizik improved them fundamentally, but talent wise this wasn’t a good unit. They were exposed badly when they faced high octane offenses.
So here is the question when looking at UNC in 2015. Did they miss an opportunity against Baylor or did they overachieve and this season was a stepping stone to more?
The answer is yes to both. As I suggested earlier these opportunities don’t come around often. Since 2009 unless you’re Clemson or FSU the only other ACC team to finish in the top 10 was Georgia Tech in 2014.
UNC missed a big chance, but they can use the season as foundation to greater things. UNC will still be 3rd best team in the ACC this year, and winning 11 games says something. That’s progress, but the Heels have to keep the momentum going.