AT NORTH CAROLINA
over North Carolina - In evaluating
talent on a college football team, it can be helpful in certain situations to
take a look back at the previous season. The situations where that is helpful is
where teams have lots of starters back from the previous year. Such is the case
here for both of these squads as Uconn has 9 on offense and 8 on defense while
North Carolina has 10 on offense and 8 on defense. So these teams both have the
same core of talent as they did a year ago. Same coaching staffs, same schemes,
same team. One significant missing link for both teams is QB as both have seen
their starters go down with injuries. For Uconn it's QB Tyler Lorenzen who is
out 6-8 weeks with a broken foot. Notre Dame transfer Zack Frazer takes his
place. More on that later. For the Tar Heels, starter TJ Yates is out and Cam
Sexton and Mike Paulus are in.
So with the core talent the same as a year ago, what can we learn from taking
a look back? How about this. They had 3 common opponents, Duke, Virginia and
South Florida. The results? Uconn Beat Duke 45-14 while NC beat Duke 20-14.
Uconn beat South Florida 22-15 while NC lost 37-10. Uconn beat Virginia 16-17
while NC lost to Virginia 22-20. Sure, there was some bad weather involved here
with the Uconn South Florida game last year but by and large what we can take
away from last years results is that Uconn was a little better than North
Carolina. At the very least, we come away with these two teams being on the same
level talent wise.
Schedule strength will be one valid argument used for North Carolina
especially when you consider that North Carolina played Virginia Tech and Miami
in back to back weeks winning one and having the chance to win both. Playing a
higher quality opponent gives a team more chance for improvement from week to
week. Playing good teams makes you better. It's not Uconns fault, as a team, but
thus far they have played Hofstra, Temple, Virginia, Baylor and Louisville.
North Carolina will be their toughest opponent to date without question
SPORTS - THE BEST BIG GAME CAPPER IN THE NATION - COLLEGE FOOTBALL
GAME OF THE YEAR - SATURDAY
Uconn may actually benefit from the QB change. Zack Frazer was good enough
for the folks at Notre Dame to be interested. He's got a great arm and is much
more of a long ball threat than Lorenzen was. When you have the number one
rusher in the country in your backfield, and now a deep threat, the two go hand
in hand to help each other. Concentrate too much on stopping Donald Brown and
that leaves the deep threat open. Keeping the North Carolina secondary honest
opens it up for Donald Brown to continue to eat up yards on the ground.
The Uconn defense been a bend but not break defense. They gave up over 500
yards to Louisville but kept them out of the end zone. They had a yards per
point number last season of 18 and this year it's currently at 22. Very good.
Again, who they did it against will be the common argument against Uconn, but we
have shown that going back and taking a look at the core talent from a year ago
for both squads, that these teams figure to be evenly matched. Uconn has played
a weak schedule perhaps, but they have done what's expected when you play a weak
schedule....they won and are 5-0.
This isn't a play against North Carolina or for that matter, a play on Uconn
because we feel they are superior. What we have here are two well coached teams
that aren't beating themselves. Both teams can pound the ball. Uconn may have
the better defense but the offensive edge goes to North Carolina with more
weapons. Shake it all up and we have two evenly matched teams taking the field.
The +8 is what attracts us here. This Uconn team is built to play the type of
game that gets decided late, which is an ideal spot for an 8 point underdog.
One area of concern here, and it's a legitimate one, is Uconns performance on
the road. They have only had a winning record on the road once this decade. Even
last years team managed just a 2-3 road record. But the talent is there for a
close game, even a win, so we'll grab the +8 here and make a 2* play on Uconn.