CHAPEL HILL, N.C.- Suddenly, it doesn't seem all that far-fetched to pencil North Carolina into a bowl game.
A two-game winning streak has the Tar Heels (3-5, 2-3 ACC) facing a now-manageable path to the postseason, with slumping Virginia (2-7, 0-5) up next.
North Carolina needs three wins in its four remaining games - among the three Bowl Subdivision teams left, only Duke has a winning record - to return to the postseason after an NCAA-mandated one-year absence.
That's a big deal for a team that started 1-5.
Yet coach Larry Fedora says "this team has become mature enough to understand the pitfalls of a lack of focus."
Much of the credit for the turnaround goes to the defense - which is no longer the worst total defense in the league.