Mack Brown came to the phone with some gasoline to pour on the fire.
A coach’s gas? Statistics.
"Before we start, Ari, I want to show you a few things that I think will help our conversation," Brown said Wednesday afternoon. "Everybody beats up our defense so much, but in ACC games in the fourth quarter, we’re giving up four points a game. In the ACC in the second half, we’re giving up nine points per game. Our scoring defense in the ACC is 25 points per game. Our defense finished the Miami game with the interception. They finished the Duke game with an interception, and they had a late interception against Wake and then stopped them on a fourth-and-3.
"Our defense is playing much better than that one horrible fourth quarter against Appalachian State, and people can’t give that up."
Brown’s point? His North Carolina football team deserves better.
And he’s right.
When the College Football Playoff committee released its latest rankings on Tuesday evening, the 9-1 Tar Heels were No. 13. They were behind four two-loss teams, and vegas online casino. They were four spots behind 9-1 Clemson, a team that was blown out by the same Notre Dame team that beat North Carolina by eight fewer points earlier in the season. The committee clearly doesn’t believe in the Tar Heels defense and maintains that North Carolina doesn’t have any quality wins and would likely lose to the teams listed in front of it.
But No. 13?
After Saturday, we determined on The Andy Staples Show that there were nine teams that were still technically alive for the Playoff this year. Those nine teams, in no particular order: Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson, North Carolina, USC and TCU. The Tar Heels were included in that conversation because they have suffered only one loss — to a team the Playoff committee ranks No. 18 — and they control their own destiny to finish the season as a one-loss conference champion. The Tar Heels have already won the ACC’s Coastal Division and will play Clemson in the ACC title game in Charlotte.
The poor ranking, though, makes you question whether North Carolina actually could get into the final four given it is listed behind teams that have already been eliminated.