What to do with Ryan Houston?

This is why UNC coach Butch Davis gets the big bucks.

He also gets paid to win, though, and he might have a better chance at that Saturday against Virginia Tech with tailback Ryan Houston in the lineup.

Houston missed the first five games while UNC and the NCAA investigated the program for illegal agent contact and academic impropriety, and the plan was to redshirt him. After losing leading rusher Johnny White for the season with a broken collarbone, that might no longer be an option.

So what do you do? Do you redshirt Houston, as planned, and give him another season to compete? Or do you end his career with three more games and possibly a fourth? Playing Houston would look like a great decision if the Tar Heels went on to win the Coastal Division and the ACC title. It wouldn't look so smart if they lost to Virginia Tech on Saturday and Houston had 18 carries for 66 yards and no touchdowns like he did in last year's win.

The risk does not outweigh the award.

For all of the mess that has engulfed North Carolina off the field this year, this is a chance for Davis to give games back to one of his players instead of taking another season away.