The Game Colors are All-Whites
The Heels Haven’t Won that Many Games, Lately
Tech has dominated the series over the years. The series started way back in 1895, and Tech wasn’t necessarily too successful back then. But the early nearly annual matchup evaporated in 1946, and the teams didn’t meet again until 1997 with a loss (a drubbing, really) in the Gator Bowl. Tech just never got that one rolling and dropped the game 42-3. Ironically enough that was Brent Pry’s last football game as a Graduate Assistant with Frank Beamer’s Hokies. This will be Pry’s second game against the Heels.
Since the 1997 embarrassment, Tech has had the upper hand, though. Tech has managed a 14-win 4-loss record within the conference since we joined in 2004. The wins have been easy, difficult, insane (6 OTs?) and everywhere in between. Recently though Tech has been struggling and UNC has been operating at a slightly healthier level. They have a really good Quarterback and a high-powered passing offense that manages a decent balancing running game.
Let’s See What the Guys Think
The Virginia Tech Hokies are off to Chapel Hill and will face a North Carolina Tar Heels offense that has put up impressive numbers through the first four games. Freshmen, Drake Maye, is the new face under center for UNC and appears to be a quite capable successor to NFL fifth round draft pick, Sam Howell. While the Heels offense looks healthy the “revamped” North Carolina defense is anything but. Every team they’ve faced, including FCS foe, FAMU, have scored 24+ points. Although the weakness of UNC’s defense aligns nicely with VT’s own vulnerability on offense, the advantage of the Tar Heels offense over a decent VT defense is too much. The Hokies will struggle to constrain UNC’s big play ability for the whole game. Until the offense demonstrates potency, on a game day, the expectation will continue to assume they will struggle. Sure, there’s an outside chance that the Hokies can pitch an upset at an away game, but if both teams remain healthy and play at the same level they have thus far, then a Tar Heel victory is a near guarantee.
42 – 24, North Carolina Tar Heels
This is North Carolina, so I am inclined to pick the Hokies. Virginia Tech has dominated this series since entering the ACC back in 2004. In the last several years, UNC has the most talent among the two schools, but the Hokies still beat the Heels. UNC is loaded with four-star and some five-star talents in 2022. Yet, they still struggle to beat middling teams. The defense is dreadful. UNC’s inept defense may have met its match in Virginia Tech’s offense. The Hokies have a long way to go on offense, and there’s no reason to think they’ll exploit the Tar Heels. Tech’s defense can keep them in the game, but ultimately North Carolina is just better across the board — this time.
UNC 38, Virginia Tech 20
Wow am I tired of being wrong. There are just so many “Ifs” in this one it’s making me dizzy. The reality is that Virginia Tech is just not as good as it needs to be to win predictably, at all. Our offensive line can pass block well, but not run block. Our quarterback can sling it around, but he can’t read the field well for the pass or the run. Our star runningback is still on the sideline with a leg issue, and our two backups are manful, but are not the answer for any sort of inside out running game. One is good for 2 yards and a cloud of dust if the play is blocked well. The other is a good receiver out of the backfield and off of the ends on the ground. The line has, unfortunately, still not developed the ability to aggressively drive block off of the line of scrimmage and that’s a serious problem with the current backfield configuration. The defense has been a real bright spot, but when the offense doesn’t keep the ball and drive the field the D spends way too much time on the field and is blown by the 4th quarter. Will that happen again? UNC’s Defense is terrible. Their offense is high powered but tested only against FCS, and G5 teams. They lost to a struggling Notre Dame squad in a shootout.
The Hokies can win this game. They have many of the tools, but they just don’t have a good set of instructions to go by. IF the Defense can play the entire game and slow down the UNC Offense, the Hokies have a shot with their mediocre offense up against the awful Tar Heel defense. I just don’t like the odds of the Hokies pulling it off. I see a close game and a low-grade shootout.
35-27 Tar Heels (Please, I want to be wrong... really... honestly.)