Just before the Saturday night, Oct. 21 college football game between the North Carolina Tarheels and the University of Virginia Cavaliers, many UNC students and fans were dreaming of a potential bid for the national championship in January.
And they certainly expected the Tarheels to move easily from 6-and-0 to 7-and-0 that night since the 10th-ranked Tarheels were playing a 1-and-5 Virginia team that was considered one of the worst teams in the country.
But UVA had other ideas.
The Cavaliers, which had never – in over a century of football – beaten a Top Ten ranked team on the road, were a 25-point underdog; but that didn’t stop them from pulling off an astonishing 31-to-27 victory, in Chapel Hill no less.
The UVA game and the next two upcoming games for Carolina were expected to be easy wins so many Carolina fans were already counting on the Heels being 9-and-0 before the team would be really challenged again on Saturday Nov. 11 when they play a ranked Duke team.
On the Adam Gold Show radio broadcast before the game, one commentator said that, when the college football playoff rankings first come out on October 31, Carolina should be near the top since they would be 9 and 0.
“They figure to have a great chance to be in that top six,” he said. “That is uncharted territory – how do you think they’ll handle that?”
Sportswriter Andrew Jones, after the game, said on the Tarheel Illustrated YouTube show that there was plenty of blame to go around.
For one thing, it was a beautiful night weatherwise, but there were loads of empty seats.
“The fans stunk. The crowd was terrible,” he said. “You have the number 10 team in the country, at this school…and people didn’t show up.”
He said the team itself was flat as well.
“You could point fingers everywhere tonight. This was a terrible look for North Carolina football,” he said.
“I didn’t have any traffic coming in,” Jones added. “In fact, other than the cones in the road and some of the parking people, you never would have known that there was a game today.”
The Tarheels will move on to face Georgia Tech on Saturday, Oct. 28.