This time last year, Carolina wasn't interested in a bowl game, rather just trying not be embarrassed in their last two games of the ACC season. While a bowl no longer is an option for the 2007 Heels, they would like to finish the season strong for their coach and their fans that have supported them all season.
North Carolina (3-7, 2-4) takes on Georgia Tech (6-4, 3-4) this Saturday in Atlanta. After coming off a heartbreaking loss to rival NC State last weekend, the Heels look to gain momentum going into next season by taking the poison out of the Yellow Jackets' sting. Georgia Tech has had a disappointing season by their standards, and are limping in with a sub-.500 record in ACC play.
The last time Carolina beat Georgia Tech was in 2004, and the Tar Heels look to repeat that performance with a strong showing this weekend. To do so, UNC must look to their run game, which took a step back last weekend in Raleigh.
The Heels had started to run the ball well, with over 100 yards in four straight games. But they could not produce last weekend against one of the worst rush defenses in the ACC. No matter what Carolina quarterback T.J. Yates does, they must use the run game to get pressure off of him and move the ball down the field.
Speaking of Yates, he must get the ball to his big-time play makers, but do it the smart way. Yates started off the last three games by throwing an interception, which is not productive for his stats or his team. Getting behind early has been a problem for the Heels, as when they do they rarely come back. A team that is composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores can't be expected to have the mentality to come back from that, and Yates must protect the ball at all cost.
It doesn't get any easier with the Yellow Jackets this weekend. Georiga Tech has the number one rushing offense in the ACC, averaging over 200 yards a game. If the Heels want to win this game, stopping the run has to become their top priority.
Over the last few weeks I have picked Carolina, but this week I just don't think I can get my heart broken again. Carolina will be a good team under Davis in the years to come, but I just don't think they have the fire power to win in a hostile environment against a team hungry for a win.
But remember Tar Heel fans: Mack Brown went 1-10 his first TWO seasons before taking the Light Blue to a top-ten ranking.
Prediction: North Carolina 14, Georgia Tech 28