Many thought Texas A&M deserved to be in the College Football Playoff, so when it was announced that the Aggies would take on the Tar Heels in the Orange Bowl, not many gave UNC a chance of walking away with a victory. Add to that the announcement running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Williams, wide receiver Dyami Brown, and linebacker Chazz Surratt opted out of playing in Saturday’s game in order to prepare for the NFL Draft and the Heels are officially an underdog with a chip on their shoulder.
“I guess you could say that,” Sam Howell replied when asked his team has an underdog mentality. “People aren’t really giving us a chance anymore, especially with these guys opting out. So they’re probably thinking it’s going to be a blowout. We know what people are saying that about us, but we really don’t care about that. We know the guys we have.”
“We see all the things people are saying,” wide receiver Dazz Newsome said. “We see all the comments people are saying. It’s definitely making everybody play with a chip on their shoulder.”
For Mack Brown, making a major bowl appearance just two years into his second tenure in Chapel Hill is quite an accomplishment. It’s a testament to what he and his staff have built. Saturday will be an opportunity to measure themselves against a top program…again.
“We’ve played against No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 10 Miami and now No. 5 A&M at the end of our season. This is great for us to see where we are as a program and where we need to be. A&M and Notre Dame have been in this area before. They’ve stayed here a lot and we haven’t. It’s important for us to start trying to do everything within our power and recognizing what it takes to be a top 10 team. Then you work to the playoffs and then you work to the National Championship game.”
Don’t get it twisted, appearing in the Orange Bowl in definitely a step up for UNC, but winning would be an even bigger accomplishment…and they know it. Brown’s team may be missing 4,000 yards of offensive production and one of their best defensive players, but that makes them even more dangerous – a young, talented team with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“They know that not one person in America is going to pick us to win outside of our
room, so we have very direct transparent conversations all the time.”