CHARLOTTE, NC, Sporting Alert – North Carolina will not be the favourite heading into Saturday’s ACC Championship Game with No. 1 Clemson, but the Tar Heels are happy with it being way.
The Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division champ heads into the battle with the undefeated Tigers (12-0) on an 11-game winning streak, and the confidence in the camp is very high leading up to the clash at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
North Carolina (11-1, No. 8 AP, No. 10 CFP) is perhaps out of the race for a college football playoff top four spot, but their winning mentality will not be disturbed. Even if they are aware that they are 0-9 against AP No. 1 teams in school history.
The Tar Heels are sitting behind three two-loss teams going into their conference championship game, but they are prepared to do what it takes to convince the CFP selection committee.
A win alone will not be enough to persuade the committee, so Larry Fedora and his coaching staff will be reminding their players that only an eye-popping and crushing victory over Clemson would create any kind of chaos.
In the meantime, a win of any kind this weekend would see North Carolina lifting its first conference title since 1980, which according to ESPN Stats & Info, would break the “second-longest active drought among ACC teams that have been in the league for at least 40 years.”
At the same time, though, after wrapping up the regular season with a perfect record, Clemson, which is 12-0 for the first time since they won the national championship in 1981, has no intentions of dropping a game at this point in the season.
The consequences of a defeat could be very high.
The Tigers have occupied the No. 1 slot in all five College Football Playoff Polls so far and have also been the top-ranked side in the Associated Press top 25 for four straight weeks and three straight in the USA Today rankings.
The nation’s top side, which is allowing 18.8 points per game on defense, will start as a 5-point favourite this weekend against North Carolina, which is averaging 41 points per game.
Individually quarterback Deshaun Watson has thrown for 3223 yards and 27 touchdowns for the Tigers with an 81.6 QBR, while running back Wayne Gallman has rushed for 1145 yards and nine scores.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Clemson has dominated the Tar Heels in recent matchups.
Since losing three straight meetings from 1996-98, the Tigers have gone 7-2 against North Carolina, including winning the past two games, with six of those seven wins coming by a double-digit margin.
Clemson hammered North Carolina 50-35 in the last meeting between these two sides.