UNC's lost opportunity

North Carolina has 12 players at the NFL combine -- by far the most of any school and four more than the two teams that played in the BCS national championship combined.

How good could the Tar Heels have been had the NCAA investigation not derailed their season?

"They should've been playing for the [BCS] national title with the talent they had," one NFL coach told ESPN The Magazine's Bruce Feldman at the NFL combine this weekend. "Their defensive personnel was [expletive] sick. They looked more like an SEC team than any SEC team last year because they had freak D-linemen inside and out, linebackers who can outrun running backs and playmakers in the secondary. No one had talent like that. Not even close. If anyone could've shut down Auburn this year, this would've been the bunch that could've done it."

Instead, the Tar Heels finished with another pedestrian eight-win season. It wasn't so average, though, considering how the injuries and suspensions depleted the roster. Much of the national championship talk involving the ACC tends to surround Virginia Tech, Florida State and Miami, but that doesn't mean another program like North Carolina can't or won't be in the conversation -- especially if Butch Davis continues to recruit athletes like the ones who never saw the field in 2010.