North Carolina Tar Heels: At Least It’s Basketball Season?

CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 28: Malik Rosier
CHAPEL HILL, NC - OCTOBER 28: Malik Rosier /

Coming into the bye week, the Tar Heels’ woes continue with only one non-conference win on the season. But at least it’s basketball season

At one point, there was at least some glimmer of hope for North Carolina (1-8, 0-6 ACC). Even without now-Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, the Tar Heels had a solid returning corps of players that could have put together a modest season.

Now, though, the Tar Heel fans can look forward toward their primary reason to cheer for the boys in baby blue: basketball.

Head coach Larry Fedora’s squad seemed to drop like flies with injury after injury dismantling Carolina’s roster. According to Inside Carolina, the Heels’ players gone for the rest of the season include wide receivers Austin Proehl (former Carolina Panther Ricky Proehl’s son), Rontavius Groves, Thomas Jackson, and Devin Perry. Other notable names include cornerback Corey Bell, linebacker Andre Smith, offensive lineman Tommy Hatton, and tight end Carl Tucker.

But at least it’s basketball season.

The Heels allow 447.1 yards of offense per game to its opponents, dead last in the ACC. Carolina averages only 344.2 yards per game, 13th out of 14 conference teams. Opponents outscore the Tar Heels on average, 33.4-21.3. That -12.1 differential not only ranks last among the teams in the conference but also gives the team the distinction of being one of four ACC teams to have a negative average point differential. Florida State (-6.9), Pittsburgh (-3.7), and Boston College (-0.5) are the other three. In fact, only three ACC schools outscore their opponents more than UNC gets outscored: Virginia Tech (23.9), Clemson (19.1), and Miami (13.3).

But at least it’s basketball season.

The Heels’ lone win of the season came against Old Dominion. The Monarchs currently sit at the bottom of Conference USA’s East division with a goose egg in league play and only two wins on the season. Carolina decimated ODU with a 30-point win on the road. The last remaining non-conference game on the team’s schedule pits the Tar Heels against Western Carolina, a middle-of-the-road FCS Southern Conference team. As expected, it’s the only game out of their remaining three where the Heels are picked to win.

But at least it’s basketball season.

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To be completely fair, Larry Fedora has done a good job of raising the team back up after the last head coach left following a massive scandal. To be even fairer, not everything has been abysmal. Chazz Surratt has shown promise behind center. When he gets to be a junior or senior, even next year as a sophomore, he will definitely make waves as one of the ACC’s best throwers. Jordon Brown also shone as brightly as he could during the doldrums of this season. The pieces are there for the Tar Heels to dominate moving forward. Just not right now.

Here’s the point though: attempting to garner any attention to the football team at North Carolina, no matter what happens, is like trying to sell season tickets for the Cleveland Browns. It’s possible, but look at who’s throwing down the basketball over elsewhere. There are plenty of fans and alumni who will fight anyone who says the Heels can’t aspire for greatness on the gridiron, and more power to them. However, when the pit keeps getting dug deeper and deeper, no one can blame fans for looking elsewhere for relief.

Next: NC State Wolfpack: Keeping The Hype Train Rolling

To fans of the Tar Heels everywhere: the Carolina football team this year is absolute garbage, but there’s hope for next season. In the meantime though, there’s still some semblance of hope. At least it’s basketball season.