The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and North Carolina Tar Heels will meet on Black Friday in Chapel Hill. This is a big matchup in the ACC featuring two ranked squads. This is only the second time in 21 games that Notre Dame and North Carolina will meet as ranked teams.
Notre Dame is undefeated with a record of 8-0. With their win over Clemson, a trip to the College Football Playoff is within sight. The Fighting Irish are currently ranked No. 2 in the nation and will hold there if they win out the rest of the season.
Notre Dame has North Carolina, Syracuse, and Wake Forest left on their schedule. In other words, if Notre Dame gets by North Carolina on Friday, there’s a really good chance they will go undefeated in the regular season. Notre Dame will be heavy favorites over Syracuse and Wake Forest.
That is not up for debate. It would take a massive upset for Syracuse or Wake Forest to pull off a win over Notre Dame. Spoiler alert, I don’t think that’s happening. However, the Tar Heels have a decent enough chance of getting the upset at home.
If we’re going by the odds, this wouldn’t be that much of an upset at all. The media would certainly treat it that way, but a 6-point underdog winning straight up isn’t anything noteworthy. Given the situation with the race to the College Football Playoff, it would go down as a big loss for Notre Dame.
A loss would make it more difficult on the CFP committee. Clemson is No. 4 in the country right now. How could they take Clemson, a team who lost against Notre Dame, over the Fighting Irish? The excuse would be Trevor Lawrence wasn’t playing, but the game still counts and must be taken into consideration.
Clemson has to be a fan of Notre Dame down the stretch. Notre Dame keeps winning and it makes their resume look better. There won’t be any controversy, but North Carolina certainly wants so stir up some trouble on Friday. The Tar Heels head into Friday with a record of 6-2, with losses against Florida State, 31-28, and Virginia, 44-41. The loss against Florida State was inexcusable. They nearly pulled off a big come from behind victory.
With the game there for them to take in the final drive, drops and mental mistakes did the Tar Heels in. They looked bored in the first half and unfocused on the road. After realizing they took FSU a bit too lightly, North Carolina finally woke up in the second half. North Carolina is jacked up for this game, so motivation is not going to be a factor at home, though. Head below for our free Notre Dame vs. North Carolina pick for November 27, 2020.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. North Carolina Tar Heels ACC Football Betting Odds:
Notre Dame vs. North Carolina Prediction:
Sam Howell is coming off a monster performance against Wake Forest. He passed for 550 yards with 6 touchdowns and 1 interception in a 59-53 win. If Javonte Williams and Michael Carter are running downhill, then it opens everything up for Howell downfield. Howell has thrown for 23 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on 67.7% completions.
If you want to name a comparison, Baker Mayfield is a pretty good place to start. Put Howell in the Oklahoma offense and he likely puts up similar numbers. I don’t know what that says for Howell’s NFL prospects, but certainly there are some similarities between college Baker.
Howell has the luxury of handing the ball off to Javonte Williams in the backfield. Williams can win a game with his ability alone. Along with Williams, Michael Carter is a major force running with the football as well. Carter has gained 807 yards and 4 touchdowns on 7 yards per carry. For Williams, he has run for 868 yards and 15 touchdowns on 7.2 yards per carry.
It doesn’t matter who is running the ball, they know how to find yardage. In total, the Tar Heels have racked up 563.4 yards per game for fourth in the FBS. They’ve also scored over 40 points a game with 43.1 points conceded. Notre Dame has a solid defense, sure, but against the only really good offense they played, Clemson scored 40 points with a backup quarterback. Boston College, a mediocre offense, put up 31 points in a 45-31 win for the Fighting Irish two weeks ago.
North Carolina will get cornerbacks Kyler McMichael and Storm Duck back on Friday. The secondary has dealt with a rash of injuries this season. Hence, the number of points they’ve allowed this season. The Tar Heels have surrendered 30.8 points per game in 2020. With reinforcements on the way, they should be in better form.
They’ll get some help against an offensive like that had to be re-worked during their week off. Two starting offensive linemen are scheduled to be out for Friday. North Carolina is going to be completely amped up for this game. If there’s any game this season that the Tar Heels bring the energy, it’s going to be on Black Friday. This game is likely going to be closer than people expect. The points with the home dog is where I’m looking.