• Tudor: UNC will run the table
UNC is good, Peach Bowl good, but not BCS good.
Tudor is confused. That's what happens when you've been in this business as long as he has. He covered Notre Dame's last trip to Kenan Stadium in 1975 (the year I was born).
There's no doubt the Tar Heels are better in their second season under Butch Davis. They are winning on the road, and so far, winning the games they're supposed to. That's the sign of good coaching.
They also have playmakers, on both offense and defense. And you can't win without talent. For that, Davis is largely indebted to John Bunting.
But improvement comes in stages. And while the Heels' schedule is wide open, 9-3 is the best they'll do.
Let's momentarily skip what will happen and talk about what has happened.
UNC's loss was a game it led 17-3 in the second half. After a combination of turnovers and penalties, the Heels ended up losing to Virginia Tech 20-17 at home.
Great teams don't give away games, certainly not at home. And to be 11-1, no matter how easy the schedule, you have to be great.
As for where the Heels will pick up two losses, how about a split with the combination of Notre Dame, Boston College, Georgia Tech and Maryland?
That's giving them a win at Virginia, where no UNC team has won since 1981, because Saturday's 31-0 win over Maryland was Virginia's Super Bowl.
While Notre Dame and Boston College ain't as good as they once were, they're good enough to beat a still limited offensive team, especially without T.J. Yates, who will miss both games.
Shaun Draughn showed progress against UConn, running for 109 yards, but the Heels have yet to establish a consistent running game. You can win without running, if Yates is back there to sling it all over the place to Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks, but he's not.
The difference between Yates and Cam Sexton was obvious on the first play of the UConn game. Tate ran free behind UConn's secondary but Sexton, who was rolling out and had to make a difficult throw, missed him and an easy touchdown.
Sexton has been capable, outstanding even in the fourth quarter against Miami, but if the run gets taken away, then he has to consistently make plays, too many plays, to win games.
And then there's the improving but still young defense, which is about to get a variety of tests from capable offensive minds. UConn rushed for 168 yards on Saturday. They gained more than 4 yards per carry and for some reason tried to beat the Heels through the air.
What will Georgia Tech's running game do to UNC's defense? I can promise this, Paul Johnson won't make the same mistake UConn's coaching staff did Saturday. The Jackets will run and run some more and keep running the ball all the way back to Atlanta.
And while everyone's down on Maryland for its clunker at Virginia, the Fridge is 4-1 against the Heels.
That's a lot of "ifs", too many to add up to 11-1. At 9-3, maybe even at 8-4, the Heels would get a shot at an highly-ranked SEC team (LSU? Georgia? Florida? Alabama?) in Atlanta in the Peach Bowl. That could be a springboard to a preseason top 10 ranking in 2009.
See, progress comes in stages. Tudor should know better.