Fun Stat Nerd Tidbit: North Carolina

Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor poses for his University of North Carolina headshot in 1980. The New York Giants selected Taylor second in the 1981 NFL Draft, and he played 13 years with the team. (Photo by University of North Carolina/Getty Images)

Because the last 12 months haven't been all that kind to North Carolina fans, and because the coming years probably won't be either, I figured I'd be nice in this space today and talk about the best football UNC has produced.

Top 15 North Carolina Teams of All-Time
Rk Team Record Postseason
1 1925 North Carolina 7-1-1
2 1997 North Carolina 11-1 Gator Bowl (UNC 42, Va. Tech 3)
3 1996 North Carolina 10-2 Gator Bowl (UNC 20, W. Virginia 13)
4 1980 North Carolina 11-1 Bluebonnet Bowl (UNC 16, Texas 7)
5 1922 North Carolina 9-1
6 1935 North Carolina 8-1
7 1948 North Carolina 9-1-1 Sugar Bowl (Oklahoma 14, UNC 6)
8 1939 North Carolina 8-1-1
9 1938 North Carolina 6-2-1
10 1981 North Carolina 10-2 Gator Bowl (UNC 31, Arkansas 27)
11 1972 North Carolina 11-1 Sun Bowl (UNC 32, Texas Tech 28)
12 1947 North Carolina 8-2
13 1937 North Carolina 7-1-1
14 1929 North Carolina 9-1
15 1934 North Carolina 7-1-1

So basically, the Heels were at their best in the 1920s-1940s, in Lawrence Taylor's time, and at the end of Mack Brown's tenure. This is consistent, actually, with a lot of ACC teams. Programs like North Carolina, Duke, Maryland, etc., established themselves in the period from the 1920s to the early-1950s, then vanished from the face of the earth when the SEC emerged as the nation's pre-eminent football conference in the mid-1950s. The ACC began to have its moments again beginning in the early-1980s, but obviously it hasn't been quite as consistently strong as that other southern conference.

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