The 128 Team Playoff, Day 108: Utah vs. North Carolina

Photo courtesy of Utah athletics


We’ve created a 130-team bracket using ESPN’s FPI as our ranking system.

“But, anyone can create a bracket, how will the games be simulated?” Great question; NCAA Game Sim was used.

For each game on the bracket, the matchup was simulated once and every day a write-up will be done.

For the matchup, player statistics will be simulated and included in the write-ups.

Finally, thanks to the NCAA Game Sim premium membership, we’ll show the results of doing 100 simulations all at once. This is to see if a given result was more towards the expected side or if a given result was more towards the upset or luckier side.

All of the results have been simulated and tabulated, so at the time of writing the introduction, the results are already in.

This is designed to be fun, so please enjoy.

From Georgia to Massachusetts, here’s the 130-team bracket:

Match 109

(2) Utah vs. (6) North Carolina

How Utah Got Here: 59-17 win over (15) Arkansas State, 70-31 win over (7) Washington State

How North Carolina Got Here: 27-13 win over (11) Rutgers, 34-33 win over (3) Wake Forest

Remember in 2019 when North Carolina went for two at the end of the game to try and beat Clemson?

Funny how history repeats itself.

Quarterback Sam Howell was all over the field for the Tar Heels.

Leading passer for the game? Check. Leading rusher for the game? Check. If Howell could’ve thrown the ball to himself, he probably would’ve led the game in receiving yards, too.

He finished 17-for-30 with 167 yards and a touchdown through the air. On the ground, he finished with 116 yards and a touchdown on 19 rushes.

Utah quarterback Cameron Rising was 14-for-25 with 140 yards.

Running back Tavion Thomas ran the ball 15 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns.

With only four seconds remaining, Howell scampered into the end zone to cut the 30-23 deficit to one. After coming back from a 23-7 deficit midway through the third quarter, most were expecting the team with all of the momentum to take this game into overtime.

But head coach Mack Brown had other plans for North Carolina. Howell reached for the goal line after none of his receivers could get open. He was stopped mere inches from the winning score.

After winning in the second round by one point, North Carolina unfortunately finds itself on the losing end of a one-point contest. The Utes survive and advance, 30-29.

In 100 simulations, Utah won 68 of them by a margin of 35.5-27.4.

Winner’s Next Matchup: (1) Notre Dame

Tomorrow’s Matchup: (3) Arkansas vs. (7) Fresno State

Updated Bracket

Teams Lost, In Order:


Massachusetts, Connecticut


Akron, New Mexico State, Florida International, Temple, New Mexico, Bowling Green, Rice, Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Monroe, Texas State, Arkansas State, Charlotte, Southern Mississippi, Ohio, Kansas, Duke, UNLV, Georgia Southern, UTEP, South Alabama, San Jose State, South Florida, Arizona, Old Dominion, Louisiana Tech, Ball State, Minnesota, Navy, Nebraska, Buffalo, Troy, Colorado State, North Texas, Eastern Michigan, Northwestern, Northern Illinois, Florida Atlantic, Stanford, Tulane, Colorado, Wyoming, Middle Tennessee, Rutgers, Miami University, Indiana, Louisville, Georgia Tech, East Carolina, West Virginia, Central Michigan, Missouri, Syracuse, Tulsa, Western Michigan, Utah State, Liberty, UTSA, Boston College, Nevada, South Carolina, Army, Washington, Air Force, Virginia Tech


Toledo, Alabama, Illinois, TCU, UAB, Marshall, USC, San Diego State, California, UCF, Washington State, Pittsburgh, Oregon State, Florida State, BaylorNC State, Louisiana, Ole MissMichigan State, Auburn, SMU, Wake Forest, Miami, Western Kentucky, Purdue, Arizona State, Hawaii, Kentucky, Kent State, Kansas State, UCLA, Appalachian State


Iowa, FloridaOhio State, Mississippi State, Houston, Boise State, Oklahoma State, BYU, Iowa State, LSU, North Carolina


American: 2/11 (highest remaining: 2. Cincinnati)

ACC: 2/14 (highest remaining: 1. Clemson)

Big 12: 3/10 (highest remaining: 1. Oklahoma)

Big Ten: 4/14 (highest remaining: 1. Michigan)

Conference USA: 0/14 (last remaining was No. 6 Western Kentucky, eliminated Day 89)

Independents: 1/7 (highest remaining: 1. Notre Dame)

MAC: 0/12 (last remaining was No. 13 Kent State, eliminated Day 94)

Mountain West: 1/12 (highest remaining: 7. Fresno State)

Pac-12: 2/12 (highest remaining: 2. Utah)

SEC: 4/14 (highest remaining: 1. Georgia)

Sun Belt: 2/10 (highest remaining: 6. Coastal Carolina)