That's Miami's record on the road at North Carolina, who own a 3-2 record against the Hurricanes since Miami joined the ACC in 2004. Though it's not what stab-ready college football would call a notable rivalry -- even with notorious Coral Gabes deserter Butch Davis at the helm in Chapel Hill -- that record provides sufficient motivation for the Hurricanes to get up for today's 3:00 game and not let late-season malaise set in.
They can't afford that: while the Tar Heels are rather impotent on offense behind Human Magic 8 Ball quarterback T.J. Yates, Davis has a very athletic, very well-coached defense that will cause fits for Miami if the 'Canes come sluggish. North Carolina lead the ACC in total defense and scoring defense, and defensive end Robert Quinn and linebackers Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter will do their best to decapitate Jacory Harris at every turn against a Miami offensive line that's brave but ragtag and often inconsistent.
In the secondary, Carolina corners Charles Brown and Kendric Burney will likely be the best Laron Byrd, Leonard Hankerson, Aldarius Johnson and Travis Benjamin have seen in some time, so the key for Miami will be its running game. Fortunately, that's gotten a shot of life and depth with junior Damien Berry joining Javarris James and Graig Cooper in the 300 yards-plus category, and all three are healthy. If Miami can keep possession and move the chains, there's not much chance Yates and his offense can keep up now that leading rusher Shaun Draughn is out for the season.
Last week, in the first game since a soul-crushing and likely BCS bowl-busting second loss to Clemson, Miami avoided their recent habit of flailing late in the season. After a week of reduced practices, the Canes trounced Virginia 52-17 -- an improvement over 2007's humiliating 0-48 loss to the Cavaliers, proving that this Miami team is leaps and bounds over what Larry Coker left in the fridge for Randy Shannon. With just three games remaining, the challenge for the rested Hurricanes is to keep that up and not get complacent.
Oh, and to finally -- finally! -- win a game in Chapel Hill.
ACC Jiggling: keep an eye on Duke-Georgia Tech at noon. If the Yellow Jackets fail, Miami lucks into the ACC title game if the Hurricanes win out. It's not likely, but it's a chance.