What started as a dream season ended in a night of disappointment in Charlotte for the University of North Carolina football team. The Tar Heels were on the wrong end of a 30-10 pasting on Wednesday at the hands of West Virginia in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl, a letdown for many of those still awaiting the launch of North Carolina sports betting.
The loss put an unsatisfactory final note on an 8-5 campaign that started with six straight wins and ended with double-digit losses to Clemson, N.C. State and West Virginia. It also saw the Tar Heels get shellacked in their home state by an up-and-down Mountaineers team that also entered the game with 8-4 record. The result leaves many UNC fans to wonder what comes next.
The Tar Heels fell behind Wednesday on the game’s first play, surrendering a 75-yard touchdown pass that left them in a hole they couldn’t escape in downtown Charlotte. All year long, BetCarolina.com has updated UNC’s bowl game odds, from their opening win over South Carolina at Bank of America Stadium on Labor Day weekend to the team’s year-end clunker in the same stadium.
Here’s what you need to know about the Tar Heels football team as it heads into the offseason.
The Tar Heels started 2023 with the program’s first 6-0 start since Mack Brown’s final season of his first stint with the school in 1997, but couldn’t keep that momentum going. UNC lost to ACC bottom feeders Virginia and Georgia Tech, then had double-digit defeats at the hands of Clemson and N.C. State.
Still, UNC won seven or more games in each of Brown’s five years during his second stint in Chapel Hill, pointing to the program’s growth under the veteran coach. Quarterback Drake Maye was the star of the year, throwing for 3,608 yards and 24 touchdowns (to nine interceptions), while completing 63.3% of his passes. Keep up with our Drake Maye NFL draft odds right here.
Throw in 1,442 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns from sophomore running back Omarion Hampton of Clayton and you have one of the nation’s most explosive backfields. The issue for UNC this year was that defensive coordinator Gene Chizik’s unit finished 74th in the nation in scoring, allowing 27.1 points per game. The Heels fell short of what would have been their first bowl game victory since the 2019 Military Bowl.
For more on UNC football and basketball odds, keep a close eye on BetCarolina.com.
The biggest question surrounding UNC is whether Brown will hang up the whistle for good this offseason, as the 72-year-old is one of the oldest head coaches in college football. One thing that could propel Brown to return in 2024 is UNC’s 26th-ranked recruiting class (per 247 Sports), which is currently the fourth-best in the ACC behind Florida State, Miami and Clemson.
Throw in the return of Hampton at running back and a handful of other skill position players and there’s no reason to suspect a major slide in win totals for UNC in 2024. Stay with BetCarolina.com for all of the latest sports betting news and the best NC sportsbook promo codes as soon as they become available.
Staff writer Christopher Boan contributed to this report.
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