North Carolina Tar Heels: Headed to the Russell Athletic Bowl


The North Carolina Tar Heels face the Baylor Bears in the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 29th.

North Carolina Tar Heels, you just won eleven games this season and lost the ACC Championship Game by a single touchdown. What are you going to do next?

If your answer was go to Disney World, then you were not far off. The bowls played to form and the Peach Bowl decided Florida State was the bigger ticket and the Tar Heels fell into the lap of the Russell Athletic Bowl. There, in Orlando, FL, they will play the Baylor Bears in one of the better matchups the bowl games have to offer.

If the Tar Heels fell into this game, so did Baylor to a certain extent. A Baylor victory against Texas might have vaulted a one loss Baylor into the Sugar Bowl. However now it is Oklahoma State who will be headed to New Orleans and Baylor who will be headed to Orlando to face Carolina.

That means you have a matchup of two two loss teams who are both looking to reverse the course from the last game of the season. While there may be some differences between Baylor-Texas and the ACC Championship, neither team will want to leave the season all together with a loss.

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Points should not be a problem in this game. More so than the Clemson game, this should play as a shootout. This is assuming that either Baylor’s starter or first backup is healthy at quarterback for this game. No offense to third-stringer Chris Johnson, but the TCU game showed that he could be rattled by defensive pressure.

North Carolina’s quarterback will also be looking to put a disappointing game behind him. For three quarters against Clemson, Marquise Williams could do nothing. In the final quarter, he went better with the flow in order to bring the Tar Heels back. Williams still will not want to leave the college game with that particular effort. It would be much more satisfying to pick apart the Baylor secondary.

Next: Coach Littrell to North Texas

North Carolina will be playing this game without their offensive coordinator as Seth Littrell was hired to be the head coach at North Texas. That won’t change the game plan much. The only concern will be to prevent a letdown similar to what happened last season after the State loss. The Quick Lane Bowl against Rutgers did not show any resiliency, and a better effort will be needed this time.

North Carolina plays Baylor on December 29.