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Georgia Tech vs. UNC Tar Heels: the ACC Sanction Bowl

The North Carolina Tar Heels have prided themselves in the ACC as being a proud team of elite defenders. Nine Tar Heels have been drafted since Butch Davis took over at Chapel Hill. Quinton Coples and several other Heels are projected as 2012 Draft picks. Butch Davis' defense was consistently in the top half of the ACC in allowed rushing yards per game so let's compare UNC to Tech's other most common opponents since the installation of the Wreck Bone.

There are seven teams that have played Tech at least 3 times since 2008: Clemson, VPI, UVA, Duke, uga, Miami, and UNC. Of the seven, UNC has the second worst rushing yards allowed with 338 ypg. However, they're scoring defense has been the best by about one and half points at 20.3 ppg.

This Heel squad is no different than their Butch Davis contemporaries. In three games this year, the Heels have only allowed 16.3 ppg. The three opponents (despite poor offensive showings against the Heels) still have scoring offenses averaging over 30 ppg. And to me, the Heels squad is built around their veteran linebackers.

Zach Brown and Kevin Reddick remind me of the Tech duo Keyaron Fox and Daryl Smith. They are less heralded than Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant but are still tackling machines. The two have accounted for 32% of the Heels' 2011 tackles including 7 of the Heels' 20 TFL's.

The secondary has not played up to par, in my opinion, for the Heels. The secondary has 22 combined starts with a majority in Charles Brown's pocket (13). Most were rushed into active duty last season due to UNC's illicit affairs but were eventually supplanted by more talented and veteran starters. The Heel secondary has given up 4 TD's and around 230 passing ypg to start the season despite having one of the best pass rushes in the ACC.

Offensively, the Heels are very interesting. Only Texas Tech's Seth Doege and Baylor's Robert Griffin, III have a higher completion percentage than Bryn Renner. Renner is in the top 10 nationally with regards to passer efficiency as well. There should definitely be concerns with allowing UNC to start out hot like Kansas did last week because I don't see a pissed off UNC defense quitting in the second half like Kansas did.

Unfortunately, UNC is similar to Tech in that neither team has met a team comprable to the team they're facing this Saturday so it's tough to really gauge the quality of the teams. If I were a betting man, I'd take Tech. I feel like Tech has handled its mediocre competition with relative ease while UNC really struggled to put away two squads coming off 4 win seasons. I think the loss of Butch Davis literally cut the head off the snake that is UNC. I'm predicting some fourth quarter coaching blunders from the Heels with Tech winning a 35-24 type game.