Just a few hours before the UNC Tarheels (No. 10, 11-1) are set to kick off the ACC Title Game against the Clemson Tigers (No. 1, 12-0), the school announced that they are extending head coach Larry Fedora through the 2022 season.
Long known for their basketball prowess instead of success on the football field, Fedora has transformed UNC’s program from middle-of-the-road to elite. The Tar Heels’ current ranking as the 11th-best team in the country is the team’s highest slot since Mack Brown and Carl Torbush combined to lead the team to an 11-1 record in 1997, hitting a high of being ranked fourth overall. Since that 1997 season, the Tar Heels have only won four bowl games, including a Belk Bowl victory over Cincinnati in 2013, Fedora’s first season at the helm.
With a victory over the Tigers tonight, UNC would stand at 12-1 and would have a significant case for inclusion in the four-team College Football Playoff. The Tar Heels’ only loss of the season came in their season opener against SEC opponent South Carolina, losing 17-13. Even with the loss, Fedora’s squad has finished games with an average 18.2-point margin of victory (38.1 points scored and 19.2 points conceded), while undefeated Clemson has an average margin of victory of 17.6 (35 point scored and 17.4 points conceded).