IT's North Carolina game picks

IT's Michael Pearle and Clendon Ross give you their picks, and the reasoning behind those picks, in this week's game between Texas and North Carolina.

IT’s Picks:

Pearle -- UNC got down huge against OU 41-7 in the first half before scoring the game’s final 20 points to make it respectable. The Heels took some pride and momentum out of that one, having fought back against the national champs in their own backyard. But that momentum evaporated like a raindrop in August last Saturday as Maryland shocked the Heels in their ACC opener. So I have to believe the Heels will come into Austin with a lot to prove, both because of their 0-2 start and because they want to show their old coach that they can play a little. I think Texas will have a fight on its hands with the Heels, one that I think it will win, but not before UNC has tested the Horns’ mettle. I'm gonna go Texas 34, UNC 17.

Ross -- Texas RT Mike Williams Monday said this Longhorn team has its "head on straight." He was responding to a question about UT's propensity under Mack Brown to lose early season games it had no business losing based on the comparative talent levels of the teams. "We're going to respect every team because we know that no matter what people think, they're not going to be the same team we see on film or that the stats show," Williams added. For North Carolina to beat Texas, the Heels will have to be a different offensive team than they've shown on film and in the stats through two games. UNC totaled just 276 yards in its 23-7 loss to Maryland last Saturday (118 rushing, 158 passing) and managed 290 in its 41-27 opening day loss to the Sooners. The Heels have turned the ball over eight times already this season. Defense, though, is another story. Peppers and Co. held the high-powered Oklahoma offense to 286 total yards and limited the Terrapins to 247 and they will test Texas. This will be an emotional game for the fourth and fifth year players on North Carolina, eight of which are defensive starters, facing the coach that recruited them to play in Chapel Hill and the coach who told them he would not leave North Carolina. Those guys, rightly or wrongly, felt lied to and certainly spurned and will play with an intensity fitting of the circumstances. The Horns, however, should match UNC's intensity and emotion, but for a very different reason. Saturday's game will be dedicated to Cole Pittman and his family. The danger of being too jacked for the game and thus making a lot of mistakes is real, but this is a game the Texas players simply will not lose. It won't have to do with respect. It won't have to do with talent. This one will have to do with heart. Texas 31, UNC 13.

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