Dec 5, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; The North Carolina Tar Heels Rameses lays on the field during the game against the Clemson Tigers in the ACC football championship game at Bank of America Stadium. The Tigers won 45-37. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
With the North Carolina Tar Heels playing their thirty-second bowl game this December, we rank the previous thirty-one
The North Carolina Tar Heels will face the Baylor Bears in the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 29. It will be the thirty-second bowl game that the team has played in its long football history. The Tar Heels first went to a bowl in 1947 and their most recent trip was last year when they played Rutgers in the Quick Lane Bowl.
North Carolina has an up and down record in bowl games. They are only 14-17 overall. They have played in the biggest bowl games only three times and won none of them. All of those appearances date back to the post-World War II era as well.
The Tar Heels are more at home in lower bowls. Among the bowls that the Heels have frequented the most, the most prestigious was the old Gator Bowl. The Gator Bowl not only marked the apex of certain seasons for the Heels, but also certain eras since no Tar Heel team has seen a better landing spot. This is one of the reasons that a victory against Clemson would have been so new for the football program, it would have put the school back into the big games.
Of course the bowl era itself has shifted over time. At one time there were few bowls and only the very best got to go to them. Over time bowls have sprung up and some have disappeared, but bowls have become less prestigious as a whole. A 6-6 team can make a bowl game these days, and the NCAA had so many games that it considered looking at 5-7 teams to fill spots.
For the Tar Heels, these increased bowl numbers have meant more potential locations if they can have just a mediocre season. The Tar Heels have been to the Charlotte Bowl in its various forms. Whether it was Continental Tire, Meinke Car Care, or now the Belk Bowl, the Tar Heels have the distinction of being a team that has played in all its incarnations.
So how do these games stack up? How did the Heels fare against the Georgias, Michigans, and Texases of the world? And what is the best Carolina bowl victory ever? Let’s try to figure it out over the following slides.