Why is no one talking about North Carolina having a chance to reach the College Football Playoff for the first time? Coach Mack Brown's Tar Heels are 9-1 (the lone loss in late September to Notre Dame), have already clinched a spot opposite Clemson in the ACC title game and feature a Heisman Trophy candidate in quarterback Drake Maye, maybe the best true freshman in the country. Yet the Heels are +800 long shots at DraftKings to make the playoff – you can't even bet on them at Caesars – and -1400 to miss.
History says North Carolina will not get in even it wins out. The Tar Heels are No. 13 in the new College Football Rankings and no team has been ranked outside the committee's top 10 at this point in the season and still made the CFP. The lowest was Michigan State in 2015 and Oklahoma in 2019, when both were ranked ninth.
North Carolina is behind a handful of two-loss teams: No. 6 LSU, No. 8 Alabama, No. 10 Utah, No. 11 Penn State and No. 12 Oregon. The Crimson Tide probably aren't losing again as they play FCS school Austin Peay this week (come on!) and then host Auburn in the Iron Bowl and will be heavy favorites there. Penn State probably won't lose again either, as it is solidly favored this week at Rutgers and will be in the regular-season finale at home vs. Michigan State.
That said, the Tar Heels would get a decent bump by beating No. 24 NC State next week and then No. 9 Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. At +650, Maye likely won't win the Heisman but could be a finalist and he'll be an early 2023 favorite. He has thrown for 3,412 yards with 34 touchdowns and just three picks on the year and has rushed for 584 yards and five scores.
Carolina is a 21-point favorite at home vs. Georgia Tech this Saturday and should have a good chance to run up the score. The Yellow Jackets are without their top two quarterbacks due to injury in starter Jeff Sims (foot injury) and No. 1 backup Zach Pyron (broken collarbone). Akron transfer Zach Gibson will start. Gibson has completed 25 of 51 passes for 224 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
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