By R.L. Bynum
CHARLOTTE — No. 24 North Carolina’s Orange Bowl dreams died with the Tar Heels’ loss to No. 10 Clemson in Saturday night’s ACC championship game, and several projections suggest that they will be headed west for a bowl game.
There are several possibilities, with at least six projections indicating that UNC will likely meet No. 15 Oregon (9–3) at the 8 p.m. Dec. 28 Holiday Bowl in San Diego (Fox). That’s what ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, The Athletic, 247 Sports, Yahoo! Sports and The Action Network all predict if UNC doesn’t beat the Tigers.
Carolina has never played a bowl game in California.
One of the other projected possibilities is the first of two Orlando bowls on Dec. 29 (Cheez-It). The Sporting News has Carolina meeting Oklahoma State (7–5) in that game.
Carolina played in that game in 2015 (then known as the Russell Athletic Bowl), losing to Baylor 49–38.
Athlon Sports and USA Today project UNC to play in the Dec. 30 Gator Bowl against Mississippi State (8–4). UNC has played in the Gator Bowl seven times. Carolina won its last two Gator appearances — 20–13 in 1997 over West Virginia and 42–3 in 1998 over Virginia Tech.
Photo courtesy of the ACC