… As the chain gang ran out to measure McGill’s try on the 4th and inches, I knew what I had to do. I “grabbed my left one” and looked up into that Carolina Blue autumnal sky. “Yo Choo Choo … our boys in blue need a By Gawd miracle. Have you been up in Heaven long enough to have the power?” Then I fixed my binoculars on the chain as the officials stretched it out … and, by damn, one link just smack dab DISAPPEARED. First Down – Carolina! Don’t tell BobLee Swagger that prayer doesn’t work. Thank you #22.
You won’t convince me that BobLee and Choo Choo didn’t have a hand in what took place around 4:00 on Saturday, November 19, in Kenan Stadium.
Fifty years from now the record books will show UNC-24 … Duke-21. That’s a fact. Now feel free to yap about “why was it even close” or “we almost lost to the worst team in Div 1-A” or “how embarrassing that we ALMOST lost that darn bell AGAIN”. Almost twice in 15 years … Lord Have Mercy!
I was on-hand to see eight of Carolina’s ten games so far this year. I will miss next week due to family holiday plans. I actually have a life beyond this crap … Who Knew? Of those eight games I paid cash money to see, the widest margin of victory was Wisconsin’s 11. Seven games decided by the margin of one possession. SEVEN THRILLERS! My team of choice won five of those eight. They easily could have won/lost all eight and/or might have won any number between one and eight. Among those eight were victories over our three bitterest rivals – NC State, Virginia, and Duke (remember it WAS 24-21 in favor of Carolina!).
Naysayers (and there are “a few”) can yap about “the 3rd down field goal” or this play or that play in such and such a game. Blame John Bunting, Marvin Sanders, whatshisname Brock, Tranquil … or the old standbys – Dave Huxtable, Mack Brown, Carl Torbush or Richard “Dickie” Baddour.
Let me say a quick word about those naysayers. If Carolina was 11-0 and lost a BCS bowl to Southern Cal by a point there would be a constipated contingent that would be cussing Baddour for it. Remember that memorable jackass who reminded Ol’ Roy in St Louis … “Don’t let us down, Coach!” Never forget that jackass … and don’t ever let yourself become him.
UNC is in the middle of the Middle Muddle of Johnny Swofford’s “New ACC”. You got Miami and VaTech at the top (and FSU normally with them) … and Duke is clearly in the basement. Between those two tiers are eight programs separated by a bad bounce … a referee’s judgement … a fingertip catch … and a missing link in a first down chain. This year Carolina went 3-2 against the five other “Middle Muddle” programs they played.
Next year Carolina might go 5-0 or 0-5 against the Muddle and the differences could be a few “wide rights” or a toe out of bounds or another unbelievable goal line stand (is that West End Zone goal line magical OR WHAT!).
I want John Bunting to do well because he is a personal friend of mine. I want my lawyer friends to win all their cases. I want my doctor friends to make all their patients well and avoid malpractice suits. I want my car dealer pals to sell a buncha cars. None of them are always successful. Other than “wanting them to” there isn’t much else I can do about their degree of success.
Carolina, with or without John Bunting as Head Coach, will be in that same “muddle” every year. In a future column I will be specific why I believe that … and it has nothing to do with Baddour or Moeser or Ye Olde Legend or those lovable “Fat Cats” who lurk in the shadows.
Urban Meyer was The Golden Coach one year ago … now there are fireurban.com sites across Florida. Mike Stoops was a Golden Coach three years ago. If Arizona wins four this year it will be his best year yet. Dennis “firefranchione.com” Franchione was Texas A&M’s Golden Coach. Bill “firecallahan.com” Callahan was going to “bring back glory to Lincoln”.
For every Spurrier at South Carolina or Charlie Weis at Notre Dame there are Franchiones and John L. Smiths at Michigan State and dozens of other “false messiahs”. They all got Big Buck deals and didn’t deliver. Speaking of “Big Buck deals” … Hello Craig Littlepage up in Charlottesville! The Hoos will have to take out a second mortgage on Monticello to buy out Algroh. 52-14 butt whipping to Beamer IN CHARLOTTESVILLE and the losing coach is making $2,000,000/year … all you pissed-off Carolina bandwagoners imagine chewing on that one if it was State or Duke in Kenan.
After the game, as Mizzus Swagger and I walked through Polk Place at twilight (compacting every drip line we could find!), she commented what an enjoyable day it had been. We had pre and post-game tailgate festivities with some wonderful friends … our seats were smack dab “on the 50” courtesy of more wonderful friends … the game was as thrilling as it could be (plus WE WON!) … and to top it off … we looked over the top of Carroll Hall at the neatest November sunset you could imagine.
… That WE WON part would not have been possible if Choo Choo hadn’t helped out with that “missing link” (and me “grabbing my left one” too, of course). Thanks again #22.
What distinction do the Athletic Directors
at GaTech, South Carolina, and Washington share?
The Davie Poplar is UNC’s most famous tree. As Mizzus and I walked thru McCorkle Place on Saturday I went over and stomped in its drip line … just for you Kirk Pelland. I am not through with this Pelland character. Remember, BobLee took on F-Bomb Alley. I sure ain’t afraid of a wuzzy “arborist”.
He wasn’t able to play but I hope senior Doug Justice enjoyed the win today. He is a fine young man who will be a success in whatever he does.
Sunday night I’ll be at The Palms in Las Vegas. The Maloof brothers try to get all us “celebs” to stay there. I had the choice of The Palms or Wynn’s. Maybe next time Steve.
Congrats to two special Swagger buddies – Don McCauley and Leo Hart. Both were named to the ACC first Legends of Football class this week. Leo owes both Don and I lunch since WE WON today. Bunting had his defense ready for another “shoestring play”.