Heel Tough Blog: Breaking Down Latest Bowl Projection

Updated: Dec 9, 2019

For the first time in three years, the Tar Heels are going bowling and there are plenty of different projections about where and who this team could end playing. Let’s take a look at all of the experts updated predictions and breakdown what each matchup would entail for the Tar Heels.




Kyle Bonagura (ESPN)

Projection: Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

Date, Time, TV: December 31st, 2:00 PM, CBS

Location: Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX

Opponent: Arizona State

One of the more intriguing projections that we’ve seen so far, this game would two of the nations best true freshman quarterbacks in Sam Howell and Jayden Daniels, both of whom put together huge first seasons to will their team to bowl games. The Sun Devils also one of the nation’s better running backs that no one is talking about in Eno Benjamin that can make them tough to slow down at times. Their offense has had some consistency issues, but they have the help of an strong defense that, led by Jermayne Lole and Jalen Jones. Overall, this would be a great all around test for two teams on the rise.



Mark Schlabach (ESPN)

Projection: Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

Date, Time, TV: December 31st, 2:00 PM, CBS

Location: Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX

Opponent: Washington

This would be the second straight bowl trip to El Paso, but this game doesn’t pack the punch that it would have just a week ago. Huskies head coach Chris Petersen stepped down from his position on Monday afternoon, leaving defensive coordinator Jimmy Lakes to coach the bowl game. The Tar Heels would get a second crack at Jacob Eason, who beat the Tar Heels in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game back in 2016. Running back Salvon Ahmed would be an interesting challenge for this Tar Heel rushing defense and the Washington secondary headed up by safety Elijah Molden would be a test for Sam Howell and this Tar Heel passing offense.



Brett McMurphy (Stadium)

Projection: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Date, Time, TV: December 27th, Noon, ESPN

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opponent: Temple

This matchup in Annapolis would favor the Tar Heels a little more than the one above. After a ton of turnaround in the offseason, former Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey has this team in a good spot once again. He helped the Owls battle to five wins in the toughest Group of Five conference, the American, and has this team sitting with an 8-4 record heading into their bowl game. The Owls, as always are led by their stiff defense, but overall provides one of the more favorable matchups for the Tar Heels of the current projections.

Jeremy Brevard- USA Today Sports/ Julio Cortez- Associated Press

Chance Litton (CBS Sports)

Projection: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Date, Time, TV: December 27th, Noon, ESPN

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opponent: Navy

This seems to be a popular destination for the Tar Heels and would provide one of the toughest tests the team could face. In this scenario, the Tar Heels would be faced with a road game, as the game is played in the home stadium of the Midshipmen. If that isn’t enough, the Midshipmen have had a nice bounce back season, currently sitting at 9-2 ahead of their December 14th meeting with Army. The Midshipmen have one of their best offenses in school history, averaging 39.2 points per game and 361.6 rushing yards per game led by a Manning Award finalist in Malcolm Perry. This game would be a huge challenge for a rushing defense that has taken a major step forward this season.



Steven Lassan (Athlon Sports)

Projection: Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl

Date, Time, TV: December 31st, 2:00 PM, CBS

Location: Sun Bowl, El Paso, TX

Opponent: Arizona State

One of the more intriguing projections that we’ve seen so far, this game would two of the nations best true freshman quarterbacks in Sam Howell and Jayden Daniels, both of whom put together huge first seasons to will their team to bowl games. The Sun Devils also one of the nation’s better running backs that no one is talking about in Eno Benjamin that can make them tough to slow down at times. Their offense has had some consistency issues, but they have the help of an strong defense that, led by Jermayne Lole and Jalen Jones. Overall, this would be a great all around test for two teams on the rise.


Robert Willett- News & Observer/ Naval Academy Athletics

Jerry Palm (CBS Sports)

Projection: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Date, Time, TV: December 27th, Noon, ESPN

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opponent: Navy

As we said above, this would be a tough draw for the Tar Heels. Navy possesses one of the nation's top offenses, led by the best rushing offense in the country. This would also be a fun coaching battle between Coach Brown and longtime Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo.



CollegeFootballNews.com

Projection: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Date, Time, TV: December 27th, Noon, ESPN

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opponent: Temple

This matchup in Annapolis would favor the Tar Heels a little more than the one above. After a ton of turnaround in the offseason, former Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey has this team in a good spot once again. He helped the Owls battle to five wins in the toughest Group of Five conference, the American, and has this team sitting with an 8-4 record heading into their bowl game. The Owls, as always are led by their stiff defense, but overall provides one of the more favorable matchups for the Tar Heels of the current projections.



Bill Bender (Sporting News)

Projection: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Date, Time, TV: December 27th, Noon, ESPN

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opponent: Temple

This matchup in Annapolis would favor the Tar Heels a little more than the one above. After a ton of turnaround in the offseason, former Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey has this team in a good spot once again. He helped the Owls battle to five wins in the toughest Group of Five conference, the American, and has this team sitting with an 8-4 record heading into their bowl game. The Owls, as always are led by their stiff defense, but overall provides one of the more favorable matchups for the Tar Heels of the current projections.


Jeffrey A. Camarati- GoHeels/ Louisiana Tech Athletics

Joe Tansey (Bleacher Report)

Projection: Walk On’s Independence Bowl

Date, Time, TV: December 26th,4:00 PM, ESPN

Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

Opponent: Louisiana Tech

This is the first of a string of projections that has the team going to Shreveport for the first time since 2011, a game where the Tar Heels were blown out by Missouri. The good news is, the SEC affiliation is gone and now is has a Conference USA tie-in. Louisiana Tech would be the toughest of the three projected Independence Bowl draws, not just based on location. The Bulldogs finished the regular season 9-3 and missed the Conference USA title game only because of the tiebreaker that was held by UAB. Skip Holtz’s group boast one of the better backfields in the Group of 5 with quarterback J’Mar Smith and running back Justin Henderson. While the defense has missed NCAA career sack leader Jaylon Ferguson, cornerback Amik Robertson makes this defense a tough one to face.



Jason Kirk (BannerSociety.com)

Projection: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Date, Time, TV: December 27th, Noon, ESPN

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opponent: Temple

This matchup in Annapolis would favor the Tar Heels a little more than the one above. After a ton of turnaround in the offseason, former Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey has this team in a good spot once again. He helped the Owls battle to five wins in the toughest Group of Five conference, the American, and has this team sitting with an 8-4 record heading into their bowl game. The Owls, as always are led by their stiff defense, but overall provides one of the more favorable matchups for the Tar Heels of the current projections.


Robert Willett- News & Observer/ 3Down Nation

Erick Smith (USA Today Sports)

Projection: Walk On’s Independence Bowl

Date, Time, TV: December 26th,4:00 PM, ESPN

Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

Opponent: Ohio

A matchup of two 6-6 teams might not be something people would flock to see, but there is a little bit of intrigue here. Mack Brown and Frank Solich are 1st and 4th in career wins among active coaches, making this a matchup of two of the best coaches since the turn of the century. The quarterback matchup between Sam Howell and Nathan Rourke would be one of the better ones that we’ve seen projected and both of these offenses are on the rise, meaning this could be a high-scoring affair. Still, overall, this Ohio team is not one that provides an attractive matchup for the Tar Heels.


Jim Hawkins- Inside Carolina/ Gregory J. Fisher- USA Today Sports

Nick Bromberg (Yahoo Sports)

Projection: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Date, Time, TV: December 27th, Noon, ESPN

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opponent: Temple

This matchup in Annapolis would favor the Tar Heels a little more than the one above. After a ton of turnaround in the offseason, former Northern Illinois head coach Rod Carey has this team in a good spot once again. He helped the Owls battle to five wins in the toughest Group of Five conference, the American, and has this team sitting with an 8-4 record heading into their bowl game. The Owls, as always are led by their stiff defense, but overall provides one of the more favorable matchups for the Tar Heels of the current projections.



Brad Crawford (247Sports)

Projection: Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman

Date, Time, TV: December 27th, Noon, ESPN

Location: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD

Opponent: Navy

This seems to be a popular destination for the Tar Heels and would provide one of the toughest tests the team could face. In this scenario, the Tar Heels would be faced with a road game, as the game is played in the home stadium of the Midshipmen. If that isn’t enough, the Midshipmen have had a nice bounce back season, currently sitting at 9-2 ahead of their December 14th meeting with Army. The Midshipmen have one of their best offenses in school history, averaging 39.2 points per game and 361.6 rushing yards per game led by a Manning Award finalist in Malcolm Perry. This game would be a huge challenge for a rushing defense that has taken a major step forward this season.

Kerry Miller (Bleacher Report)

Projection: Walk On’s Independence Bowl

Date, Time, TV: December 26th,4:00 PM, ESPN

Location: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA

Opponent: Florida Atlantic


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