Tie Ins: ACC #6 vs Big East
Dan: UNC (pick em)
Finally, the games start improving once we hit the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s. Both West Virginia and UNC have been pretty inconsistent this year. They both have had good surprising wins and brutal upset losses. However, you have to give a pretty big advantage to Butch Davis with a month to prepare. While Carolina’s strength has been its pass defense, I have faith in Davis’s ability to hold White and Devine in check.
UNC 24 West Virginia 21
Matt: West Virginia (pick em)
Here’s another game I’m looking forward to. The game has been sold out for a while, with the Mountaineer faithful venturing down to Tobacco Road to see Pat White in his final college game. They take a lot of crap because they’re West Virginia, but I would trade the last 15 years of athletics at ND for what’s happened at West Virginia in a heartbeat. Big game wins, exciting players, great fans. I know they’ve been kind of hit and miss all year, but I think the ‘Neers are fired up for White’s last game and actually have as many or more fans there as UNC.
West Virginia 24 UNC 20
Mike: North Carolina (pick em)
Although Bill Stewart pulled off an impressive bowl victory last year, I do not expect him to have this year’s Mountaineer squad adequately prepared to beat North Carolina in a de facto road game for West Virginia. Big coaching mismatch here.
North Carolina 27 West Virginia 21
Doug: North Carolina (pick em)
Pretty good little game here between one of the better teams in the ACC and one of the better teams in the Big East. The game is being played in Charlotte, but I actually wouldn’t be surprised if West Virginia sends a bunch of fans to this game. West Virginia fans are no joke. They travel as well as anyone.
I think these two teams are evenly-matched, but I like the coaching matchup for the Tar Heels. Butch Davis is doing a nice job building up that UNC program, and I think a bowl win would be a big statement for his program to keep their momentum going. Their offense is just ok, but their defense is fairly opportunistic. I’m a little nervous about UNC’s ability to stop the run after they had only marginal success stopping ND’s running attack, but Butch Davis has had a month to get ready for this one.
I know West Virginia has made it happen on the big stages in the last ten years, but I wonder if they will be that geared up for the Meineke Bowl. Bill Stewart has had sort of a shaky first year at WVU, and I feel like their program is going to enter a sharp decline over the next few years.
I think UNC is going to be more excited about this opportunity to win a bowl game, so I’ll take the Heels.
North Carolina 23 West Virginia 21