North Carolina is looking for some help for a repeat appearance in the ACC Championship Game, but the Tar Heels' first order of business is to win their three remaining conference games so they can gain the advantage should Virginia Tech stumble in any of its three remaining ACC contests.
That starts Saturday when the 18th-ranked Tar Heels (6-2, 4-1 ACC) host Georgia Tech (5-3, 2-3) at 12:30 p.m. ET (ACC Network) at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.
North Carolina and Virginia Tech are currently tied at the top of the Coastal Division standings but the Hokies hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their 34-3 beat-down of the Tar Heels on a dark and stormy afternoon brought on by Hurricane Matthew.
The Hokies lost the next week at Syracuse, but have since beaten Miami and Pittsburgh to remain in control of the race. Virginia Tech travels to Duke this week and has games against Georgia Tech and Virginia left on its conference card along with a non-conference game against Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, after the visit from the Yellow Jackets, North Carolina will be facing Duke on the road and North Carolina State at home among its remaining league foes with a non-conference affair against The Citadel, an FCS opponent, tucked in there at home.
Of course, nothing should be taken for granted at this point of what has been a typically crazy college football season.
Georgia Tech may be out of the division race but is showing some signs of life with wins it its last two games. Quarterback Justin Thomas is rounding back into 2014 form for the Yellow Jackets.
Over the last two weeks the senior has looked more like the guy in control of the nation's top running attack instead of the one who was frustrated and flustered in 2015. Last week against Duke, Thomas rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-35 win for the Yellow Jackets.
"You have to look at Justin Thomas and say he might have had his finest hour," Duke coach David Cutcliffe said. "He played like a senior. That's what I told him after the game."
Thomas' own coach was a bit more reserved.
"I thought he played very well," Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. "He made some plays."
The Yellow Jackets also present the usual problems for opposing defenses with their triple-option, run-oriented attack. The offense demands a disciplined approach from a defense.
"It's a lot of attention to detail, because you don't see this offense a lot throughout the year," North Carolina cornerback Des Lawrence said. "It's almost foreign to you, so you have to revamp your thinking of how you're going to attack this team.
"It's switching gears and being able to be mentally focused on what you have to do."
The challenge comes at a time when the Tar Heels' defense seems to be rounding into form as well. In the two games before last week's break, North Carolina kept Miami at bay for a 20-13 win, and then two weeks ago it held Virginia to just 253 yards of total offense and 14 points in a three-touchdown win.
"Each and every week, we were able to find some improvement defensively, whether it was within a unit or in one aspect or not, we were able to find some of that and you were able to see them growing," Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora. "I think they're playing with some confidence, and their confidence has grown over the last couple of weeks, and they're just playing much better football."
And the offense keeps on rolling.
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky has performed at an all-conference level. He has completed 71.2 percent of his passes with only two interceptions (both in the Virginia Tech loss) against 18 touchdown tosses.
Even with the loss of Mack Hollins (four touchdown receptions) to a season-ending knee injury, the receiving corps is deep. Ryan Switzer has 66 catches for 678 yards, Bug Howard has 36 for 538 and Austin Proehl 27 for 378.
Elijah Hood also is back to give the running game a jolt. He rushed for 107 yards against Virginia in his second game back from an injury that had cost him half of one game and all of another.