An upbeat guess, certainly, but not one that sophomore Sean Francis can agree with. "… The D-line gets manhandled. The defense isn't creating any turnovers and they're on the field a lot. Syracuse isn't a great team, but they were down 17 points on the road and came back. Florida State blanked us and I think Wisconsin is a ranked team in merit. They just lost probably because of the injury to their starting running back (Anthony Davis)." Francis' prediction: Carolina 17, Wisconsin 38.
Other students didn't see a blowout Carolina loss in the forecast. However, senior Luke Meadows couldn't honestly predict a Carolina victory, either. "They got rolled by UNLV at home (last week). They'll be angry and the way our ‘D' is playing I don't think we can hold them under 28 points. Most of our points will be through the air; we don't seem to be very good at running the ball. But if we do somehow shutdown the run I think we have a chance to win." Meadows' prediction: Carolina 24, Wisconsin 28.
Of course, there are students other than Linens who are predicting a loss for the Badgers. Some, like sophomore Zach Bailey, see the Tar Heels pulling out a tough win in Madison. "I think it's gonna be a close game. I think our last touchdown will be sometime late in the fourth quarter. We put up a good showing against Syracuse; our boys played their hearts out in that game. If we can keep that spirit we'll be all right. After the blowout loss to UNLV, I think Wisconsin will be a little self-conscious. It seems to me that when teams get beat bad or lose in an upset, they're either angry and pumped or self-conscious and hesitant in the next game. I think Wisconsin will be a little self-conscious." Bailey's Prediction: Carolina 35, Wisconsin 28.
Four interviews that led to four completely different predictions. Certainly, more than four students were interviewed, and in all honesty, most predicted Carolina to lose this Saturday. "In Big Ten football they run over teams like us. We've got no run ‘D' and no running game," said one pessimistic fan. But it's important to understand that predicting a Carolina loss doesn't mean these students aren't still Tar Heels at heart. Every Carolina football fan interviewed wanted the Tar Heels to do well. All were asked the same opening question: "What do you think the final score will be in the Carolina/Wisconsin game and why?" Many of the students began their responses with something like, "The final score? Well, I hope we win, but…" They're going to pull for the Heels, but that's not the question they were asked.
So it seems that above all else there's an issue of uncertainty surrounding undergraduate opinion of this year's football team. Will the offense be able to score enough to pull out the victory, or will Wisconsin's running attack be too much for Carolina's young defense? Those are questions that cannot be answered until the final gun sounds on Saturday, but one thing's for sure: Carolina students will be pulling for the Heels, even if they don't expect them to win.