North Carolina

Quick hits: UNC’s best- and worst-case scenarios heading into the season

UNC's Fedora talks Mitch Trubisky, the Tar Heels' running game and more

University of North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora talks about quarterback Mitch Trubisky, the running game and the Kickoff Classic game against Georgia.
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University of North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora talks about quarterback Mitch Trubisky, the running game and the Kickoff Classic game against Georgia.

2015

8-0 ACC, 11-3 overall

Coach Larry Fedora

Record at UNC: 32-20 (4 seasons); 66-39 overall (8 seasons)

Returning starters

Offense: 8; Defense: 8

Best-case scenario

Mitch Trubisky is as good as advertised, or better, in his long-awaited debut as the starting quarterback, the run defense is significantly improved and for the second consecutive season UNC finishes 11-1, wins the Coastal Division and appears in the ACC Championship game. The regular season includes a thrilling season-opening victory against Georgia, a difficult but competitive defeat at Florida State and a convincing win at Miami before another trip to Charlotte for the league title game. Anything beyond that – an ACC championship, a College Football Playoff berth – would be a dream season for the Tar Heels. If they can avoid injuries and fix the run defense, those lofty goals might not be so far-fetched, either.

Worst-case scenario

The offense regresses under Trubisky, the defense continues to falter against strong rushing teams, like Georgia in Week 1, and UNC loses all of its marquee games – against Georgia, at Florida State and at Miami. But that’s not all. The Tar Heels also lose at home against Pitt and against N.C. State on the day after Thanksgiving. That leaves UNC with an underwhelming 7-5 finish in which Larry Fedora and his players find few reasons to be thankful. Such a finish, which seems unlikely barring key injuries or unforeseen failures in positions in which UNC has expressed confidence, would be a colossal disappointment for a program that believes it’s on the rise.

Predicted finish

9-3, 6-2 ACC

Andrew Carter

University of North Carolina football coach Larry Fedora talks about quarterback Mitch Trubisky, the running game and the Kickoff Classic game against Georgia.

Video: North Carolina players, Logan, Hood and Trubisky offer comments on the start of the 2016 season following the Tar Heels’ first practice on Friday, August 5, 2016 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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