CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina is finally free of NCAA sanctions that kept the Tar Heels out of last year's Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.
UNC finished tied atop the Coastal Division in coach Larry Fedora's first year, though the one-year postseason ban ended the run after 12 games. That success sends the Tar Heels into this year believing that the program's first league title since 1980 is within reach.
Fedora says last year "made guys really dig down and find out why they played the game." Senior defensive end Kareem Martin says players know every game in 2013 will "decide where we're going to play in December."
UNC quarterback Bryn Renner is back to lead an offense that set school records for scoring average and total yardage.