$40 Worth of Fine Football

January16/ 2000

…. As I walked out of Kenan Stadium w/ Mark “Packman” Packer, I remarked to the syndicated talkmeister “that was a fine $40 worth of Football”…. Mark agreed.  Indeed it was. …. On a day that crackled and popped with plenty of color and pageantry, a natural rivalry well worth renewing produced a humdinger among the fabled pines. …. Week Seven sent the BCS computer into a bumfuzzle.

Other than my team of choice being on the short end of a classic nailbiter, I’d assess yesterday’s CAROLINA v CAROLINA football game as about as fine a Fall Saturday as one could imagine.

It was not a “Clash of Titans” even with the Gamecocks lofty national ranking,  Despite both head coaches having national cred (and, oddly, similar NFL head coaching experiences, ouch!) no one in attendance saw it as two comparable grid armies squaring off in a mano a mano match-up.  (North) Carolina’s win over the struggling Hurricanes was timely as a confidence booster for both players and fans but, as was muttered a zillion and one times, lets see what happens when Butch has had three seasons to stock his larder with “his” players like Spurrier has had……  The implication being that somehow the evil Darth Spurrier had manipulated the schedule gods to have him play Butch before Butch was fully loaded.

With the game being on ABC, any of you of a mind to see it saw it.  60,000+ of us in attendance certainly did.  The contrast in halves was not unlike the previous week except the half we Tar Heels wish to keep was flipflopped.  This week “the second half” was “the good one”.

There are two aspects to all this that we will discuss.  The rivalry and the programs.

I am on record going back three years that UNC v USC is in many ways THE IDEAL RIVALRY and DEFINITELY should be an ongoing series including periodic games at BOA Stadium in Charlotte.  I am more convinced than ever that that is the case now.

   For almost a year the fecal faction of TarHeelNation has yacked and squawked about their mirror image …. The fecal faction of GamecockNation.  I am certain that those twin fecal factions do indeed exist …. And equally certain that each is such a miniscule % of each school’s supporters as to be inconsequential.

That reality is key to understanding why an ongoing series between these two neighboring programs would be such “A VERY GOOD THING”.  I have said it 1,000 times and will say it 10,000 more times …. The odious garbage that appears on every school’s “message boards” does NOT represent a true picture of the 99% “good regular folks” that lead real lives and enjoys a vicarious attachment to a jersey color and a program’s history.

No fan base in the NCAA is more adroit at denying its own arrogant obnoxiousness than the one to which I belong.  ….. INCOMING!

The Garnet and Black “Invasion” of Chapel Hill was not only “a good thing” it was “what college football should be all about”.  I am sure that there were isolated instances of fuzzy-cheeked jackasses wearing blue getting frisky with fuzzy-cheeked jackasses wearing garnet.  In a perfect world all such asinine combatants would be thrown into the dungeon of Gimgoul Castle and forced to endure each other odiousness for a fortnight. …. or maybe even several fortnights.  Meanwhile the rest of us can have a quite fine ol’ time. ….. That having been said we shall leave the respective fecal factions in the obscurity they merit and discuss all the enthusiastic partisans who did indeed assemble amid the fabled pines in southern Orange County on Saturday Last. ….. Mainstream adults who get a little silly on Saturday but keep a toehold in reality.

There are two sets of t-shirts popular among regional college coeds.  One set is c-blue, the other “garnet”.  Both imply that “Carolina girls …. are the best in the world”.  Based on random personal observations (all in the interest of statistics of course) I would say both color shirts have legitimate merit.  I have no doubt that Mark Packer’s photo-journalist added substantially to the Southern Fried Football library of post-pubescent hotties.  They abounded “among the pines” yesterday. ….

Meanwhile my own “Kid” was on her first college “road trip” to Norman OK for Mizzou vs Oklahoma.  She joined Chris, Corso and Herbie as GameDay was in Norman too.  Her team lost …. she was sad …. she and her buddies got a post-game pizza …. she was fine …. THAT’S MY KID!

Beyond blue and garnet hotties I also observed countless “normal folks” in blue and garnet including a large USC tailgating contingent next to us “In The Shadow of The Bell Tower”.  In my seat “in Napa Valley” I sat next to four garnet-clad “fine folks” and we had a delightful afternoon with nary a punch thrown nor insult hurled …. They cheered a lot in the first half …. Me and mine cheered a lot in the second half.

Observing Kenan from roughly the same perspective I have for a dozen years, I would say “The Gamecock Invasion” was equal to but not significantly greater than similar visiting contingents from West Raleigh or Blacksburg.  I wish our own fans “traveled” as enthusiastically as Gamecocks do.

I must say, and I’ve meant to earlier this season, the “Turn It Blue” campaign has definitely had its effect on our own infamous fans.  Kudos to the average Kenan attendee for “wearing light blue” to games regularly.  I still advocate painting the aluminum blue but c-blue is THE dominant color in Kenan this Fall. …. AND …. Kudos to Jeff Fuchs for the noticeable upgrade of The Marching Tar Heels.  Not quite the Florida A&M Rattlers but just fine for UNC.

I understand from program insiders that Butch prefers a more cupcake OOC schedule and wants out of future match-ups with traditionally strong programs such as Tennessee.   “Any W” beats “any L” and when PTBs measure results they tend to look at raw #s more than “who”.  Three bonafide cupcakes and one “comparable” each year might be to Butch’s legacy advantage …. I appreciate that.  If so, I’d like to see USC as the “comparable” every OTHER year.  Here is what I’d prefer …..

Play South Carolina every OTHER year (not EVERY Year) on a Kenan – Neutral – WB – Neutral – Kenan format.  The “Neutral” every four years would of course be at BOA in Charlotte with alternating Home games every Other year around the Neutral site.

   Here is the “key” to that format which has eluded UNC officials comprehension thus far.  The games in BOA would be AWAY GAME FOR BOTH SCHOOLS.  That game would not count as a Home game for either school but rather a mutual Away game (like Texas – OU) …. BUT BETTER.  BOA would be split down the middle with each school controlling 50% of the seats until 30 days prior to the game at which time, unsold seats would be released to the general public.  Assuming (North) Carolina fans are indeed enthusiastic (as evidenced by the Muffler Bowl vs Boston College) then BOA will be equally Blue and Garnet.   That USC fans would gobble up their allotment is a given.

Instead of a normal “Away” game where the visiting school is given 2,000 or so tickets and might be prohibitively far distant for all but the most rabid and financially able fans …. This Away game would provide 35,000 tickets within a few hours drive of 90% of both fan bases. …. And match what consensus says will be comparable programs given another 2-3 recruiting classes.  Both schools offer an accessible 7th / 8th game to their fans at a first class venue against an opponent that stirs up interest just a tad more than James Madison, Utah, or SMU …. Duh!  Oh, and the bean counters at both schools will count mucho more beans from such an arrangement than they do in their other “away” contracts. …..

I hope Jeff Beaver in Charlotte will continue to hammer away for this GREAT IDEA.  USC’s Eric Hyman would go for it …. and The Dickster will be adiosing in a few years regardless.  Yo, Beaver, call up Nelson Schwab and Johnny Harris and take’em to McIntosh’s for lunch.  Get a table in the backroom and “sell it”.

As to the “recruiting aspect” yadda yadda …. OBC had 18 (North) Carolina residents on his roster yesterday.  Apparently he already has his “inroads” with or without such a series.  Which UNC loonie wants to say “Butch is AFRAID of Steve Spurrier”?

As to UNC’s loonies pathetic whine …. USC gets to recruit dumb players and we can’t …. We will debunk that worn-out myth in a future column.  Butch will go after the same blue-chippers that OBC will be going after and will get his share past Admissions.  He would not have moved to Chapel Hill otherwise.

And one other aspect to an on-going bi-ennial rivalry with USC …. It will never have the overt hard-wired nastiness to it that UNC v NCSU (or USC v Clemson) will always have.  The majority of either fan base do not have to live 24/7 among rival partisan as is the case with their primary “proximity rivals”.  You all know how I feel about normal adults transcending common sense to “hate” a rival sports opponent.  I think the human race takes a step backward every time it happens.  With “howler monkeys / Shineolas / board loonies” of course, their membership in the “human race” is unproven.

The “atmosphere” in Chapel Hill yesterday was “like it should be” every Gameday Saturday.  The SOTBT guys all remarked how neat it was to see hustling bustling even 3-4 hours before kick-off. …. and Kenan is at it’s legitimately beautiful best around 6 PM on a Fall Saturday.  The glare of the sun has set and one can actually read the various scoreboards.  I like that.

Speaking of “Shadow Of The Bell Tower” all sorts of luminaries and “aren’t you ____” types dropped by yesterday including BobLeeBuddy and the only man who stands between Charles Meeker turning Raleigh into Carrboro East ….. Phil Isley.

BobLee & Mizzus are off to Mizzou next Saturday to see Chase Daniel and the Tigers try to match TDs with Donny Anderson’s old school …. The scoreboard-busting Red Raiders of Texas Tech.  Should be yet another “humdinger”.  “Humdingers” are also “a good thing”.


Who was the USC FB Coach who spearheaded

their leaving the ACC to establish USC as

“The Notre Dame of The South”


  Jack Youngblood played for the LA Rams “with a broken leg”

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