Over/Under 5 Wins () vs North Carolina Tar Heels ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : North Carolina Tar Heels @ California Golden Bears 4:00 PM
Location : Kenan Memorial Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 5 Wins vs North Carolina Tar Heels
The North Carolina Tar Heels are looking to rebound in 2018 after missing the postseason for the 1st time in the Larry Fedora era as there were concerns on both sides of the ball. The offense struggled with finding consistency as there was a cycle of quarterbacks getting reps which resulted in the worst scoring offense in the ACC. Defensive wasn’t their strong suit either as the Tar Heels got destroyed especially on the ground as they let opponents score around 31.3 PPG. Luckily for Fedora, he brings back most of his talent at his skill positions and they should be ready to take another step forward this season. North Carolina is known year after year for its basketball program but Fedora has been really good on the recruiting trail which could put the football program on the map. Fedora was one of the best recruiters in the nation last year as he ranked 4th in the ACC with 6 4-star signees. North Carolina may have found their QB of the future as they were able to snag the best player out of the state of Kansas in Jace Ruder. North Carolina has brought in more talent to go along with the talented roster Fedora has already established but is it unlikely they compete in the ACC just yet.
Over/Under 5 Wins's Latest Performance :
North Carolina is coming off their worst year since 2006 as they were only able to win 3 games last season and they were even worse in ACC play as their only win came against an average Pittsburgh team. Larry Fedora has some talent at his skill positions but he has uncertainty at the QB position and an inexperienced offensive line which has oddsmakers setting the over/under at 5 wins which would determine if the Heels are postseason eligible.
Tough Non-Conference Schedule
ACC teams have been accustomed to stacking their non-conference schedules with a bunch of FCS teams as well as the group of 5 schools but the Tar Heels did not do themselves any favors with those teams this year. North Carolina will be opening the season on the road against California who gave the Heels some problems in 2017. The toughest game on their non-conference schedule is a matchup against the UCF Knights as they are coming off an undefeated season with a bowl victory over the big bad Auburn Tigers. Another tough matchup for the Heels is on 9/27 when they have to travel down to Miami for a matchup against the Hurricanes. Luckily the Tar Heels will not have to see Florida State, Clemson, or Louisville but they still have to worry about their side of the conference.
North Carolina Tar Heels's Latest Performance :
Larry Fedora knew he would have trouble finding a great QB like Mitch Trubisky and last year was an example as North Carolina had a mini-carousel as they had 3 different starters at the quarterback position. Chazz Surratt was the better of the bunch as the redshirt sophomore is a threat to run and to throw it long something that has become the norm for quarterbacks in college football. Surratt was able to lead the team in passing yards with 1342 but he was also effective on the ground as he compiled 5 TDs which was good for 2nd on the team. Surratt should get the start this season and to his advantage, he will have a big-time target to throw at as the Tar Heels return their top playmaker from 2017. Anthony Ratliff-Williams become a downfield threat in his sophomore season as the 6’1 pass catcher compiled over 630 yards and 6 TDs. Ratliff-Williams will be joined by some young receivers as 4-star WR Antonie Green could be a prime candidate to start opposite of Ratliff-Williams. North Carolina will also be in good hands when trying to establish a rushing game as they return their top two running backs in Jordan Brown and Michael Carter who combined for over 1172 yards and 12 touchdowns last season. Fedora will have to focus on the offensive line more than any other position as they are left with only 1 starter from 2017. The North Carolina defense was awful last season but Fedora brings back his top tackler, sack leader, and interception leaders from 2017. Cole Holcomb is the leader of the defense as he plays the middle linebacker spot and he was really solid last year as he led the team with 93 tackles. Malik Carney is another senior who will have to shoulder the load if the Tar Heels want to make the postseason again but that shouldn’t bother Carney as he has led the Tar Heels in sacks for the last 2 seasons. North Carolina was mostly destroyed on the ground last season but their front 7 should be much improved this season.
Player To Watch
Myles Dorn, DB, Jr.
Dorn has been a major piece of the Tar Heel defense ever since he walked in the doors of North Carolina but the safety will have to shoulder a much bigger load in 2018 given the departures of two starting defensive backs. Dorn was the interception leader last season as he had 2 for Fedora and staff but he was also a really good tackler as he sat inside the top 3 with 71. Dorn will have to be the leader of this Tar Heel defense as he has plenty of knowledge in this Tar Heels scheme and I am interested in watching the hard-hitting safety in what could be his final season for the Heels.
How Over/Under 5 Wins & North Carolina Tar Heels Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 5 -Even
Under 5 -120
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- @ California- L
9/8- @ East Carolina- W
9/15- Central Florida- L
9/22- Pittsburgh- L
9/27- @ Miami- L
10/13- Virginia Tech- L
10/20- @ Syracuse- L
10/27- @ Virginia- W
11/3- Georgia Tech- L
11/10- @ Duke- L
11/17- Western Carolina- W
11/24- NC State- L
Overall Record- 3-9
Against The Spread Selection: Under 5 Wins -120
My reason for the pick :
The Tar Heels will eventually get back to relevancy in the ACC Coastal division given the way Larry Fedora has recruited but it is still too early for the youth to compete with the likes of Miami and Virginia Tech. As I stated the Tar Heels will have a tough time in their non-conference schedule as they will see a PAC-12 team as well as arguably the best non-power 5 school. North Carolina will also get swept against their biggest rivals as they have to travel to Duke and end the season at home against a solid NC State program. Not having an established QB concerns me and whoever is penciled into the starting role will be protected by guys who have never started before which can be a recipe for a disaster. Look for UNC to fall under the 5 win mark as they miss a bowl game for a second consecutive year.