Sunday, September 28, 2008

Carolina chameleons

Young, talented teams will surprise you. In good and bad ways. This year's gridiron Tar Heels are 3-1 on the field and 2-2 in surprises. They have played better than expected on the road and have disappointed at home.

They could easily be 4-0 had they avoided 14 penalties and three huge turnovers in a 20-17 home loss last week to Va. Tech. This week they needed two interceptions in the final minutes (including an incredible pick in their own end zone by Tremaine Goddard in the closing seconds) to beat Miami 28-24 on the road.

Next week they play undefeated, nationally ranked UConn at Chapel Hill. And then unranked but always good for headlines Notre Dame, also at Kenan. UVa's a sure win on the 18th. Three good weeks and they're bowl eligible with NC State (another certain victory) and four question marks to go.

The schedule is turning out to be tougher than expected. Maryland and Ga. Tech and BC are decent teams. Dook, for crying out loud, is 3-1. (They meet Ga. Tech in Atlanta on Saturday. We'll see.)

The ACC is clearly weaker than the SEC, Big 10 and the Big 12. Better than the Big East and perhaps on a par with the Pac 10. (Take out USC and Oregon and there ain't much.) Is the WAC better than the Big East?

Anyway, the Heels could finish anywhere between 11-1 and 6-6. They are young and they're going to get better, so I plan to enjoy the ride.

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