Team preview: North Carolina

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(All information as of July 1, 2005)


John Bunting pulled off the biggest Houdini act in the Atlantic Coast Conference last year. Just how did the UNC coach escape with his job after going 3-9 and 2-10 -- and with college football pundits predicting a fatal 2004 for the former NFL linebacker?

Most people are still scratching their heads on that one.

The Tar Heels went 6-5 in the regular season and tied for third in the ACC despite allowing 31.8 points and 446.5 yards a game, edging powerhouse Miami and North Carolina State in the final seconds of home games to land a bid to the Continental Tire Bowl.

It was one of the biggest surprises in college football, quite frankly.

"Nobody thought we would win more than three ball games," Bunting said. "Our guys got confidence and now they have a good understanding of how that happened. It happened because of a lot of work. Guys continued to believe in spite of nobody believing in them except this coaching staff. And I don't think we got any breaks when it came to the schedule."