The proverbial "elephant in the room" finally came up as coach Larry Fedora was asked about concerns about his future at North Carolina as he begins preparing the Tar Heels (2-8, 1-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) for their regular-season finale Saturday at North Carolina State (7-3, 4-3 ACC).
With the Tar Heels facing a second consecutive losing season and only 13-22 (9-22 against FBS opponents) since winning the Coastal Division in 2015, Fedora was asked specifically if he had conversations with athletic director Bubba Cunningham about his status.
"I talk to Bubba every week," he said. "Every week Bubba and I sit down and talk about the game and what went on in the game. It's no different from every week during the entire season."
And the subjects of those talks has been quite limited, he said.
"We haven't talked about anything but the games in hand," he said.
Any conversation this week must have been (or will be) slightly more pleasant than most times this season with the Tar Heels coming off last week's 49-26 victory over Western Carolina. The win snapped a six-game slide for the Heels, whose only other win was Sept. 22 over ACC Coastal Division champion Pittsburgh.
The Tar Heels are assured of nothing better than a second consecutive three-win season in 2018, however, to follow up on last year's 3-9 mark, and that will take a win over a solid Wolfpack team to get to that.
"They've got good receivers and obviously a very good quarterback who can throw the ball and has been every success throwing against everybody," Fedora said of the job quarterback Ryan Finley has done leading the 'Pack. "It's a challenge. It's definitely a great challenge."
That the Heels go into the game with a losing record against a Wolfpack crew going for its eighth win doesn't factor into the situation, he said.
"I think our guys in this game have never considered what the record is of either team," he said. "This is a rivalry game. They get excited about playing. I don't think anybody has ever been concerned about the records in this game because anything can happen."