We’re only three weeks away from college football, which means a look at this year’s schedule is long overdue. (Now is a good time to let you take a look at the 2008 ACC Helmet Schedule from Sporting Gnomes.)
As you’re well aware, I (like most people) have high hopes for Carolina to challenge for the ACC Coastal Division this season. Several factors lead to this conclusion. We returned a lot of startes from last season, this team seems to have a steep learning curve, A lot of our close losses in 2007 can turn into close wins in 2008, T.J. Yates’ arm is finally healthy, and we may finally have a running game this year.
The most important factor leading to the extra optimism, however, is the schedule. Only one of our opponents (Virginia Tech) is in the top 25, and we get them at home. Most of our other opponents are solid, middle-of-the-road teams, ranked somewhere in the 30-55 range. We are right at that level with them.
What does that mean? Well, there are two sides to it. The optomistic side is that every game is winnable. If the defense plays at the same level that it did last season, and the offense can finally get clicking, 10 wins is not out of reach.
The pessimistic side is that these games are just as winnable for our opponents. @Rutgers, VT, @Miami, UConn, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, @UVa, @Maryland, NCSU–all of those teams have enough going for them to win, and there are anough pitfalls for us to end up losing those games. 5 wins and missing a bowl game isn;t entirely out of the question either. Much like last season, the only games you can definitely say will go UNC’s way are the 1-AA opener and Duke. And given the MIchigan fiasco and our close OT game at home last year, who’s to say that even those games are guaranteed anymore?
Our schedule certainly is manageable, but it isn’t as deliciously cupcake-y as one might think. This season could end anywhere between 5-7 and 10-2; It just depends on many factors, too innumerable to discuss in one post.
If Carolina plays to their potential, this certainly could be the year to make the leap to coastal division champions. As optomistic as I am, I have to compare this season’s potential success with the recent past. I would be ectsatic with anything over 7-5.