North Carolina has established it is a very good football team. How good, no one really knows. What’s for certain is the Tar Heels haven’t seen anything like they’ll see Saturday from Clemson, except maybe in practice. Making that jump in degree of difficulty is tough at any point in the season, let alone after 12 games.
Just as North Carolina was on a different level from Duke and N.C. State, Clemson is on a different level from North Carolina. It will likely take some freebie points, a defensive or special-teams touchdown, to bridge that gap. The good news for the Tar Heels is that they’re certainly capable of doing that, especially with Ryan Switzer returning punts.
There is no margin for error, but it is not impossible. The defense will have to play impeccably against the best offense it has yet faced, the offense cannot afford any turnovers. The Tar Heels can certainly win this game, but it’s too much to expect it of them.
Clemson 41, North Carolina 34