5-6 overall, 4-4 conference, 4th ACC Coastal
Against the spread
6-5 (3-3 home, 3-2 away, 6-5 grass)
5-6 (1-5 home, 4-1 away, 5-6 grass)
-.09 per game
2005 Season Summary
After a promising 2001 season as rookie head coach at his alma mater which ended with an 8-5 record and Peach Bowl win over Auburn , John Bunting had struggled with horrible teams the following two seasons that went 3-9 and 2-10 straight up respectively.
Bunting earned a stay of execution
By the midway point of the 2004 season Bunting was seemingly about to face the firing squad. The low point came in a pathetic 16-46 loss at Utah as 21-point dogs that dropped UNC's record to 3-4 straight up and was their twenty-third loss in thirty-one games under Bunting's stewardship.
Incredibly enough, after being given up for dead and written off by the general gambling public, UNC won three of their final four games straight up, (including a dramatic last second home win over Miami), and covered all four, to end up in the Continental Tire Bowl, which they lost 24-37 as 2-point chalks against Boston College. Despite the bowl loss, it was a promising end to the Tar Heels' season and Bunting earned a stay of execution.
High expectations minus their key quarterback
With that dramatic conclusion to the 2004 season North Carolina faced high expectations minus their key quarterback, Darian Durant, who graduated. The Tar Heels would be facing a brutal schedule for 2005, which made a repeat bowl trip a tenuous prospect at best.
Bunting was back under fire in no time
North Carolina opened the season at Georgia Tech, who already had a game under their belts, a stunning upset win and cover at Auburn . This made the Tar Heels a valuable 12.5-point dog and they got the cash in a 21-27 loss. The home opener against Wisconsin followed, and was a lackluster as well as disappointing 5-14 defeat. The Tar Heels were a 3.5-point home dog and fell to 0-2 as Bunting was back under fire in no time.
Back-to-back good angle plays
If Carolina was down it would be for long as they prepared for their intrastate rival game against North Carolina State , who was installed as an 11-point home chalk. This was an excellent angle play as the Wolfpack was struggling at home and proving to be over-valued while Carolina would be fired up for this game, if no other, while being an excellent bargain as the general public had soured on them. UNC prevailed in a 31-24 upset win.
Next was a revenge matchup against a Utah team minus its star quarterback and brilliant coach from 2004. It was a perfect angle for the 5-point favorite Heels, who got the cash 31-17 to even their record at 2-2 straight up with these back-to-back good angle plays.
A roller coaster ride
Carolina next traveled to Louisville and was installed as a 14-point dog. Bunting returned to the firing line after a disgraceful 14-69 loss.
Incredibly enough, North Carolina recovered in their very next game at home against struggling Virginia, who was made a 1-point chalk based largely on UNC's debacle at Louisville . The Tar Heels got the game and cash 7-5.
Next was a trip to Miami , where the revenge seeking Canes were a 21-point chalk. The number proved to be too high for one of the public's most popular teams as Carolina covered the large number in a 16-34 defeat. This was followed by a nice 16-14 upset home win over the 4-point favored Boston College Golden Eagles. UNC headed into the home stretch standing at 4-4 straight up and 6-2 against the spread with three consecutive covers as they continued their roller coaster ride.
Bowl hopes were blown
Needing two wins in their final three games to go bowling, Carolina blew a winnable home game against Maryland 30-33 as 2.5-point chalks. They then barely got by Duke on Senior Day 24-21 as 22.5-point chalks and lost at Virginia Tech 3-30 as 24-point dogs as UNC's bowl hopes were blown for 2005.