. At 6:00 PM on October 9, 2004 the definition of a “loyal Tar Heel fan” had become “He figures Ol John’s a goner but he deserves a blindfold and a cigarette, being a legacy and all ”. Rumors had vigilante bands of rabid “Rams” planning Joan of Arc roasts for the beleaguered burly ex-linebacker. The bell was in Derm and Tar Heel Football was in more Peril than a Peck of Paulines. But, yea verily the Football Gods had a surprise in store for one and all …
By 10 PM on October 9 … thanks to a half-hearted T.A. McLendon, a keen-eyed Jim Knight, and payback for some awful sin Chuck Amato must have committed as a youth … (and a Herculean effort by a Tar Heel defense) life as we know it changed that balmy autumn night in “beautiful Kenan Stadium”.
UNC fan boards refer to it as “that night we beat the %$#& out of those sorry no-count inbred rednecks”. In truth it was 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th and a pop fly blooper fell in just beyond the shortstop’s outreached glove allowing the runner on 3rd to score, but to Tar Heels of jaundiced eyes and selective memories it was “a butt kicking of considerable significance”. The “considerable significance” part is mutually agreed in both camps.
“They say” that Carolina was whupped badly the following week by Utes but I never saw it so I’ll believe it when Sasquatch tells me. I did see Connor Barth take the wind out of a Hurricane the next game. I saw a nail biter against the ACC champions, a strong 4th quarter win in Winston-Salem and a convincing victory in Derm. From early October until midway the 4th quarter of the Tire Bowl was as exciting a string of college football games as I’ve ever seen in person. If that spirit and “want to” is still alive in Tar Heel Football, this season should be a doozy. I plan to be on-site for 9 of the 11 games.
Did UNC Football “turn the corner” with that goal line stand on October 9th? Why not? Most great eras in history turn on specific moments.
UNC Football 2005 is upon us. When you hear folks say “if our untested rookie QB goes down we are in trouble” that is an indication that UNC’s river of talent is NOT “deep and wide”. No one is planning Christmas around BCS games.
The Fraternal Order of Old Well Wuzzles are armed and ready. They have e-screamed WE HAVE THE TOUGHEST SCHEDULE IN THE HISTORY OF ORGANIZED SPORTS so many times that the Guinness folks stopped counting and just gave’em a trophy. The Excuse Wall has been in place since April. Backing up THE TOUGHEST SCHEDULE excuse are “The Magnificent Seven” old stand bys (in order) …
- We can’t win because Dickie Baddour is an idiot.
- We can’t win because the Admission jerks won’t let us recruit cretins
- We can’t win because Moeser looks funny and plays the organ
- We can’t win because our fans wear weejuns with no socks
- We can’t win because Amato wears red shoes
- We can’t win because only us knuckleheads on this fansite REALLY want to
- We can’t win because Dickie Baddour is an idiot
Yes, #1 and #7 are the same. Trust me, you’ll hear that one far more than two times. It will still be tossed around ten years after poor little Dickie is placed in a shoe box and buried between Charles Kuralt and Sarge Keller.
OK … here goes …
First … measure the upcoming season in 4 distinct segments.
- From September 10 until September 24 … the first three games.
- Remove the 3 non-conference games and consider them as “exhibitions”.
- UNC’s ACC record as compared to NC State ACC record at season’s end.
- UNC’s record against “comparables” – GaTech, NCSU, and UVa.
Waaaay too much whining and moaning about the schedule. It is what it is. Simply remove those three admittedly difficult opponents from consideration. If we win any or all of them – YAHOO! Good for us. If not, they are “exhibitions”. Same goes for NC State’s two Little Debbie cakes – Eastern Kentucky and Middle Tennessee. Yes, I said TWO. Southern Miss is legit … just ask California how tough they are. Southern Miss, and brother Watson, put Mack in the Rose Bowl.
Measure the progress of The Bunting Era by his ACC schedule. Those are the teams he must compete against every year regardless of Larry Gallo’s schedule machinations.
If any UNC fan tells you “I could give a s**t how State does”. Don’t ask that lyin fool for the time of day. He has already lied to you once and likely will again. EVERY UNC fan cares a GREAT deal how those “retarded gap-toothed barnyard lotharios” are doing. It’s Duke in basketball and NC State in Football … PERIOD. Every Tar Heel fan worth his inflated ego has a dozen ready-to-fire-back excuses for any loss to NCSU under any circumstances, but prefers not to have to use them. (Wuffs have TWO dozen excuses but they’ve had more practice at it.)
There are three ACC schools that John Bunting must equal or pass in head to head meetings … Georgia Tech, Virginia, and NC State. GaTech and Virginia pretend to hold their student-athletes to some reasonable academic standards beyond 3rd grade reading comprehension, as Carolina does. Wolfpackers are our neighbors and the outcome of that annual more-than-a-game can wreck havoc in a cul-de-sac or around an office water cooler.
Don’t worry about the other ACC schools, or Joe Montana’s 49ers, UNTIL Carolina can legitimately claim annual superiority over these three. I left off Duke because they are a Women’s Golf School. Wake is no longer in our division. Maryland is a diploma mill … BC is up north somewhere … VaTech, FSU, and Miami pay their players more than tenured faculty squirrels get at UNC. Clemson is in South Carolina … perfectly valid reasons not to count any of those.
Georgia Tech NC State Virginia.
We play 2 of those 3 “comparables” in the first 3 weeks (plus an exhibition versus Wisconsin). There are four mathematical possibilities.
- Carolina is 3-0 coming home from Raleigh on Sept 24. This is known as Best Case Scenario.
- Carolina is 2-1. As long as the 1 loss is not a blow-out to State, this is palatable and we should definitely play out the next 8 games. The L should be to Wisconsin even though it is in Kenan. GaTech and State are comparables … the Badgers are not, they probably cheat somehow.
- Carolina is 1-2. If that lonely W is the Wisconsin exhibition, the Carolina blue sky will be getting stormy. Gotta pick one to win … State on the 24th … no debate?
- Carolina is 0-3 on Sept 25. Batten down the hatches and get Dickie a fake beard so he can go to Kroger’s without an armed guard. 0-3 on Sept 25 and it will be pitchforks and torches and message board meltdown all over again. Least preferable of the four possibilities.
Hey, BobLee howsabout a position by position player assessment? Not necessary. Every Tar Heel player is an Eagle Scout honor student embodying all the athletic prowess of a Greek god … otherwise we would not have recruited him. I read TarHeelBlue.com too.
The last of the Torbush Boys are gone. Most eventually got on board the Bunting Train … a few never did. Now they are all gone along with most of the infamous Counted Twice Hargraves Gang and assorted other collateral casualties. You won’t hear John using that excuse any more nor should any fans … but some will if they can’t remember the Magnificent Seven excuses listed above.
Even with the end of the “Blame it on Carl” Era, we still have about 8 more years to go in the “Look how long it took Frank Beamer to win” Era. We’re hearing that one more than you hear The Beach Boys on an Oldies Station. Chapel Hill kindergarteners say it every morning in lieu of the Pledge of Allegiance. … but ANYTHING is better than “they even hung Dean in effigy” … AIIIEEEE!
I have this vision where Matt Baker has a Cinderella Season and makes fans forget most of Carolina’s QBs, which is not all that hard to do. Lots of fine young men over the years but no Davey O’Brien candidates.
This team could win 7-8 games IF they are 2-1 or better on September 25. It could be another trainwreck if they come away from Carter-Finley like the Army of Northern Virginia after Gettysburg. As with Gettysburg, the war won’t be over but it might as well be.
Maybe Barrington Edwards is the 2nd coming of Derrick Fenner and Kennard Martin and will gallop into Tar Heel Legend over the next 3 months. Maybe he won’t. If he goes down I vote we suit up Dawn Bunting and throw a lot of tackle eligibles to Kyle Ralph.
There will be injuries. NEVER FORGET BobLee’s most important rule – “A team is only as strong as its 3rd string O-line”. During late October and November those faceless big-uns will be called upon to save the bacon.
The Defense will be much improved. The Ghost of Dave Huxtable has been exorcised from Navy Field. Half the team never even knew him except in stories told late at night in the dorm by veterans trying to scare rookies.
John Bunting has proven he can inspire a team to over achieve. It will be nice when he doesn’t have to give Gipper speeches 3-4 times each season. Maybe this is that year.
Carolina CAN be 3-0 coming out of Carter-Finley. If so, WuffNation (and Paris) will be burning. Those howling wolves on Wolf Mountain will be running down Trinity Road with their tails between their legs. The Amato Era could quickly join The Carter Administration as “lost years we don’t talk about any more”. … IF UNC wins … otherwise it’s only 12 long months of avoiding the color red as much as possible.
… A scenario where the Wuffs defeat VaTech then lose to the Tar Heels would so discombobulate WuffNation that MO’C could end up running the FB team by Halloween. That the Heels might even win on Sept 24 without our 12th man – Jim Knight is even more incredible to imagine.
I always want John Bunting to be successful. He really is a “good guy” trying to succeed in a quite nasty and unforgiving occupation. Tar Heel fans are as fickle and blood thirsty as any in America. Heel House has its share of quite insane relatives chained up in the basement. If John ever had any illusions about that, the past three years especially losing that stupid bell in 2003 convinced him.
Roll’em Down You Tar Heel Warriors … Especially on Sept 24.
Name Hollywood’s two talking equines
Bad Sign Department … in a recent talk to the Rocky Mount Kiwanis, Tar Heel Cheerleader Extraordinaire Woody Durham predicted UNC to finish “near the bottom” of the ACC. YIKES! Is Ol’ Woodrow under orders from Prince Dickie to “lower expectations”? Is our favorite chipmunk hoping to avoid another autumn of wearing Kevlar underwear and having an intern start his car every morning? As The Woody One’s fateful words were picked up on the worldwide web, Ticket Manager Clint Gwaltney declared the season ticket sales campaign officially shot to hell.
As expected, our Wolfpack prediction ended up linked on a few fan sites resulting in even higher # of views than normal. This one should go likewise. A bit surprising that we only received two incendiary e-mails, one from “Alan” a Trinity Road F-bomber OF COURSE, and one from “Harold” of undeterminate allegiance, but pretty mad about his life apparently. But no language that Coach K wouldn’t whisper to Mrs Coach K in a moment of passion.
Mr Swagger was at Winged Foot CC on Monday … and The Grove Park Inn on Tuesday … HIGH COTTON Boys and Girls … Mighty High Cotton. Got a story about my last visit to Winged Foot but will save it for another time.