On Your Mark … Get Set …

January17/ 2000

The NEW ACC inaugural Football season is less than a week away.  If generating excitement was Johnny Swofford’s objective, he seems to have succeeded.  The two juggernaut programs go at each other right out of the gate.  For one week, either FSU or Miami will be tied for last in The NEW ACC.  That will be cool.  A handful of schools are bunched together and will likely cannibalize one another before mid-November. BobLee shares his thoughts … he will remember the ones that are correct … you will remind him of the ones that won’t be.

   MIAMI and FLORIDA STATE … two of the legitimate college football super powers over the past 20 years.  Both well-known for their on-field success and off-field shenanigans.  Neither is likely to change any time soon.

   Will these two programs “straighten up” their “bad boyz” image?  FSU has NOT during their ACC tenure.  Why would anyone expect MIAMI to, or FSU to now? No, both schools will remain status quo.  When Papa Bowden does retire there “might” be a change, certainly not before.

   I think an FSU win vs MIAMI would be good for the league.  Humble those arrogant sumbitches right up front.  Neither will go undefeated regardless.  Both will be in BCS games which is what Swofford was counting on.  There WILL be taunting incidents by MIAMI as they visit other ACC venues.  Coker either encourages it or is powerless to stop it.  Regardless, it ain’t like we didn’t know what we were getting with them.

   Below these two I put four schools under a blanket … UVa, MD, VaT, NCSU.  How these schools finish may be a matter of who plays who head to head.  The vagarities of the schedule will be a factor every year from now on.  As it will be in basketball too.  

   MARYLAND somehow never seems really a part of the ACC.  Being on the northern fringe keeps them out of the daily rivalry lunacy that the NC schools must deal with.  Every rival fan makes fun of Fridgen’s weight and the hooliganism of their fans … but that’s about it.  Fridge’s 3 years of 10 Ws will end this year.  But just barely.

   VaTECH played USC close for most of their game … but lost.  VaTECH is not at USC’s level.  I never have cared much for Beamer and his bunch.  I might have been the only UNCer to shout HooRay when The Dickster failed to land him.  The repeated bad boy episodes coming out of Blacksburg for the past 10 years indicate a culture … a culture I don’t approve of.  But that’s just me.  I see the Hokies dropping as many as 3 ACC games, maybe more.

   UVa, along with NCSU, is the school most UNCers compare themselves to … in Football.  That both UVa and NCSU are highly competitive programs now has put the incredible pressure on UNC to get to their level ASAP.  Al Groh should be operating within academic integrity guidelines similar to Bunting.  UVa under Groh seems to drop at least 2 games each year unexplainably, they likely will this year too.  A CAROLINA upset up there on September 11 would be an incredible achievement that could really shake up the rest of the season for both.

   NCSU will never be as good as their lunatic fringe segment need them to be … nor as weak as desperate Tar Heel loonies want to believe they should be.  If “the parade” had never happened (and actually “a parade” never did happen) the battling loonies would have invented some other silly straw dog to whip each other over.  The rank and file State fans are rightfully excited and enthusiastic over Chuck Amato.  They will miss #17 for sure and we will see how effective Chuck is in a post-Rivers era.  I see State being quite good and winning as many as 8-9 games … OR being equally good and only winning 5-6 games.  The competition among these four teams is that close.  Not playing UVa is a benefit for NCSU … and for UVa too.  Key game to watch … State at VaTECH in mid-Sept.  A State road win gives the new QB a ton of confidence.  State’s new depth at RB will be a big plus. 

   CLEMSON and GaTECH are, IMO, a notch below the previous four.  I’m sorry but Chan Gailey just does not inspire me.  Sure he has John Bunting’s number but so what.  GaTECH gets no respect in their own state as UGA is a national power.  If UNC is going to surprise the league (and their own bandwagon bailout fans) they need to beat the Yellow Jackets in Kenan on Sept 18.

   CLEMSON had an outstanding late season run but struggled to get there.  Which is the real Tommy Bowden team?  CLEMSON has its toughest opponents on the road.  If Whitehurst is for real, he must step up and beat top teams … SoCarolina does not qualify.  Tennessee does … CLEMSON and VaTECH could switch positions easily.  If Whitehurst goes down … Death Valley will be Dead!

   That leaves us with the three generally disrespected trio of UNC, WAKE, and DUKE.  

   I think Jim Grobe missed his window of opportunity to a Big Time program by staying at WAKE, but I’m glad for them that he did stay.  WAKE simply will never have the depth of talent to survive an 11 game season.  The strength of a team is their 3rd string O-Line.  WAKE’s 3rd team O-Line will always be walk-ons.  Look for WAKE to score an upset in September like last year vs State.  But by early November they will be beaten and battered.

   DUKE will be better because Ted Roof seems to be a more inspiring coach than Franks … Duh!  If DUKE can take Navy early it might generate enough confidence to spring a few other upsets.  Like WAKE, DUKE has no depth so they must win early before injuries riddle them.

   So now we have CAROLINA.  I’ve talked with a number of “level headed adult fans” and their optimism is modest at best.  The standard answer is “certainly better players on hand” but “more certainly a tougher schedule”.  John Bunting does not and should not feel that way.  He should and does have totally sincere optimism in his team.  If UNC is 2-1 on the morning of Sept 19, they could be a 7 W team … if not, they could be a 2-3 W team.  I believe the GaTECH game is critical to this team believing It Can Win.  The naysayers will be poised like vultures and back-back losses to UVa and GaTECH will bring out the stupid Spurrier visors and Lord knows what other lunatic behavior.

   CAROLINA needs an upset win early.  Both Louisville and Utah are quite tough despite UNC loonies having no respect for them.  An upset W at Utah will be meaningless … as were fine Ws at ‘CUSE and ASU two years ago.  UNC’s fickle fans need to see a W in person, not just hear Woody describe it.  John Bunting’s future will be decided one way or the other BEFORE the WAKE game on November 13.  I want John to “get it done” … I can’t imagine the amount of pressure on him, his staff, and his family.

   Obviously an injury to Durant is unthinkable.  CAROLINA Football is in the “nitroglycerine stage” now.  Highly combustible … if it hits a pothole it could explode.  The animosity towards Dickie Baddour could reach a point to be a true embarrassment for the entire University family.  Some moron could REALLY go bonkers … DON’T LET IT BE YOU!

   I plan on seeing 12-13 games this Fall and enjoying each experience.  I’ll tailgate with good friends and meet new friends.  I’ll see great plays and watch emotions run the entire spectrum. I’ll watch jackass fans embarrass their families and their fellow fans … and I’ll cringe when a chubby “flag girl” drops her flag … don’t you just hate that!

   Beginning this week, SwaggerSays goes into Fall mode meaning our weekend column will come out Sunday AM so we can include the results of Saturdays’ games.

Lydia will begin her weekly predictions this Thursday.


Swagger’s Stumper

A SSays semi-disconnected trio …

Who are … Ralph Boston … Don Schollander … Frank Shorter


Richie, Potsie and Ralph hung out at Arnold’s … 

originally owned by “Mr Myogi”.

   Please Please Please let the mainstream media show lots of scruffy protestors, lots of Michael Moore, and lots of goofy Hollywood types with their heads exploding this week … if they don’t scare the bejebbers out of the undecideds nothing will …    

 Big News from The Jimmy V … I learned why Mario “Slater” Lopez’ marriage to Ali “Doritos Girl” Landry only lasted a month.  Stupid sumbitch cheated on her at his bachelor party.  CHEATED ON ALI LANDRY!

   BobLee is accepting Tailgate Invites for this Saturday at Kenan.  I prefer my pimento cheese samwich with the crust removed and my deviled eggs with a parsley sprig.  Looking forward to seeing Darcy, Big Lee, The General and Mrs The General, Swampy, Redundant Dick, Little Ricky, Huk and Wanda, and assorted others. 

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