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Opinion: North Carolina, No. 1 on Misery Index, is a fraud -- the Milli Vanilli of college football

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 9/26/2021 Dan Wolken, USA TODAY

If you’re the kind of person who buys a fancy-looking sports car with new upholstery and fresh paint only to discover that the odometer was rolled back and the engine hasn’t been tuned since 1988, North Carolina is the team for you.

If you pick expensive restaurants based off Yelp reviews while on vacation, the Tar Heels are your kind of rip-off.

If you bought Milli Vanilli albums because you enjoyed their vocals, you’re just the kind of sucker who thought Mack Brown’s team was a legitimate playoff contender this season. 

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The Tar Heels were the Talented Mr. Ripley of this season, only it turns out they weren’t that talented. Unlike the character in the Matt Damon movie, which had a run time of nearly 2 1/2 hours, it only took about half that for North Carolina’s football team to be exposed as a complete fraud.

Mack Brown and the Tar Heels lost to Georgia Tech on Saturday. © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports Mack Brown and the Tar Heels lost to Georgia Tech on Saturday.

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The Tar Heels, it turns out, were as phony as Fyre Fest and disappeared from the scene faster than Crystal Pepsi. After getting absolutely wrecked by Georgia Tech on Saturday, 45-22, North Carolina as a preseason top-10 team is one of those notions that seems as ill-advised in retrospect as a $5 seafood buffet. 

Yes, we were all sold a bill of goods on North Carolina this year with a returning star quarterback in Sam Howell and an accumulation of talent that Brown and his staff had attracted over the last couple of years. But for Tar Heel fans especially, this journey to 2-2 after all of the offseason hype must seem like a total scam. 

It’s not just that North Carolina plays mediocre football. That’s the program’s general state of being. But when Brown comes out of retirement, starts recruiting well again, wins some games early on and raises expectations significantly — only to be out of the race for anything significant before October — there’s a different level of disappointment. 

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During the last part of Brown’s tenure at Texas, he had a habit of overpromising and underdelivering until eventually the program swept him aside. Even at age 70, Brown’s still got the charisma to sell a vision for all the great things he can accomplish. But the way this season is playing out looks a lot like one of those Texas teams where all the happy talk made the underachievement look that much worse. 

That’s why North Carolina is No. 1 in this week’s Misery Index, a weekly measurement of knee-jerk reactions based on what each fan base just watched. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: North Carolina, No. 1 on Misery Index, is a fraud -- the Milli Vanilli of college football

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