Under a blue October sky amid Kenan’s pines

October12/ 2008

…. Excuse the 10,000s rushing to Wal-Mart today for Tar Heel gear.  Yesterday’s Game Of The Millenium has rightfully ignited a Bandwagon Bonfire for Butch …. Move over FSU (’01) and Miami (’04) and NCSU (’04), there’s a new Best Game Sheriff in town.  “Under a blue gray October sky” amid Kenan’s fabled pines.

   Rating Best Games and Bond Girls is quite similar.  Everyone is fully entitled to their opinion and anyone else’s opinion be damned.  The more passionately one defends one’s own choice, the less credibility should be given to that opinionator.  I’ll vote for yesterday and Pussy Galore and you can have your own website and vote for whoever you want to.

   I was in Napa Valley South’s upper deck for all four nominees for “Best Game in Kenan in the New Millenium” and was euphoric at the glorious conclusion of each.  Each in its bright shining moment was indeed significant.

   Florida State (Sept 22, 2001) – Our nation was still stunned from 9/11.  The SMU game the week before had been postponed meaning Bobby’s CrimiNoles had little to fear from The Blue Bleeder’s young gridders.  Wobbling from successive butt-whuppins from Oklahoma, Maryland and Texas, not even Dawn Bunting woulda beat her lunch money on the Boyz in Blue.  Legend says FSU did not even bother looking at film of Bunting’s boys.  The final score of 41-9 was not a true measure of the lickin’ the Tar Heels laid on Bowden’s boys.  An enduring image is UNC fans taking over 45 minutes to topple the goalposts.  

   Miami (Oct 30, ’04) – The classic quote from this one was “Do ya think Connor Barth will get laid tonight?”  for which the reply was “If not, he never will.”    UNC thumped the juggernaut from Coral Gables as a curly-haired surfer dude from Wilmington kicked his way into Tar Heel history.  Everyone times 10 that claimed to “be there” when Sweet D hit the half-courter vs Duke claimed to have been in Kenan that glorious night. 

   NC State (Sept 24, ’04) –  For pure emotion and dramatic circumstance this one will forever be hard to beat.  Two stumbling programs led by legacy linebackers met in a death duel totally off the national radar.  No one cared but two equally paranoid fan bases.  One coach’s inevitablel fate was delayed and the other’s began a rapid decline to his ultimate demise.  Kenan’s “west end zone on the one” ….  Did T.A.’s knee hit the ground?  Jim Knight said it did and in so doing repaid UNC for saving his life a few years earlier as he lay 99% dead on that very turf.

   Notre Dame (October 11, ’08) – Then there was this Saturday’s encounter “under a blue gray October sky amid the pines”.  To take not a whit away from the spectatorial pleasure of this game, it was not Texas v Oklahoma at the Dallas Fairgrounds or even Florida v LSU in The Swamp.  It does not merit the lead story on Sportscenter or next week’s SI cover.   A sports fan in Wichita might pause to read the game recap because it “was Notre Dame” but he won’t say WOW.  I’m not in Wichita so I’ll say “WOW”.

   This was not a visit by Ara or Knute or “Theisman as in Heisman” or a skinny kid named Montana.  There was no Choo Choo or LT to envoke gladiatorial comparisons.  UNC  fans know of such above-the-fold scenarios from countless match-ups but in The Legend’s Lair about half a mile south of Kenan’s fabled pines.

   As a self-appointed connoisseur of Autumnal color & pageantry I give yesterday grid battle orchestrated by The Pale Rider & Fat Charlie a double thumbs up.  It was a humdinger.

   This game trumps those other Kenan memories in that this time both teams are “good”.  Neither is “great” but neither is “struggling”.  There were really good athletes on both sides doing really fine athletic stuff for 60 minutes.   This was NOT “David v Goliath”.   Nor was this a Duke v Carolina basketball game with both juggernauts among the nation’s elite.  We had two high profile (high dollar) coaches rebuilding decimated programs with both programs obviously in the “getting there but not there yet” stage.   

   Carolina football for most of this century has been a case of “at least we didn’t quit and credit our spunky kids for their effort.” …. Thunk!  Obviously over-matched in on-field talent and sideline expertise the Kenan homeboys time and again have shown the occasional big play excitement to be followed by a careless penalty, a blown coverage or simply a 4th quarter beat down by better teams.  Or we played equally mediocre programs in a potato sack race to see who will out-blunder the other.  Not yesterday.

   NOTE:  If you hear/read any reports of “jackass Notre Dame fans”, realize that you are getting the warped opines of “jackass UNC fans” who always manage to find themselves in every rival fan base.

   60,000 largely C-blue-clad fans stayed the full 60-minute course as two good football teams played a very good and very very exciting football game.  Am I the only one to notice how many Carolina fans do actually “wear blue” to games now?  Give yourself a Huzzah my blue-clad friends.

   Yes …. There are two sidebars to yesterday’s very fine game that warrant discussion and discuss them I shall ….. but lets leave this area of post-game discussion virginally pure.

   Will Carolina go 11-1 and play in January or at least in “a real Bowl game”?  Only a handful of teams still have the chance to do either of those this season.  Carolina is among’em.  …. And THAT’s a fact on October 12, 2008. 



   With the “echos” of Carolina victory cheers still resonating amid the pines, Carolina’s notorious blue-bleedin’ loonies cannot stop themselves from assailing the refs.  Like fried chicken and mini-bottles, what would a game in Kenan be without “blaming the refs”.  Aye Zigga Zoomba.

   At the rate he is going, I fully expect Woody Durham to give out the home addresses and “where their kids go to kindergarten” of “the crooked refs”.  I admit I am not a Woody fan for reasons not to be discussed here.  I realize it is sacreligious to not worship the guy.  So sue me.  Factor that in to the following.  

   Remember last year’s USC game where Woody blubbered out that “those SEC refs are jobbing us”.  It was on a controversial sideline interception call.  Without even waiting for the replay, Woody announced the fix was in.  Yesterday he “did it again”.

   To quote Albemarle’s favorite son …. “We were told earlier this week that if it was close in the end to Look Out for those Big Ten refs siding with Notre Dame …”  WRONG you oatmeal droolin’ goober.  They were BIG EAST officials, NOT BIG TEN!   Woody Durham is like a Democrat politician.  His loyal disciples could care less if he has his facts right.  Just tell’em what they want to hear.

   I’m sure he was told “something like that”.  He probably channels Carl Snavely.   I can find umpteen nitwits who swear that “Mike Krzyzewski has a spiked tail and cloven hooves” too.  Woody probably started that silliness.

   The two replay controversies at the end of yesterday’s game merit administrative reviews themselves.  Juries have returned guilty verdicts on serial killers quicker than those two circumstances were resolved.  While Wordy Woody was feeding raw meat to the pitchfork and torch loonies, he neglected to inform’em that while the on-field refs might / might not  be “agin’ us”, the replay official who actually makes those decisions is an ACC guy.  Indeed, it was one of Little Johnny’s guys up in the press box that had UNCers holding their collective breath for what seemed like a month of Sundays.  In the end UNC got the decision that “mattered the most” and we won the game.

   If Learfield is going to permit Woody to launch these spittle spewin’ tirades against the referees, why not just give the goggle-eyed old galoot a freakin’ sniper rifle and let him shoot’em from his press box aviary whenever he thinks they are jobbin’ us.

   The Internet has created a scary fan segment that lives perpetually “on the ledge”.  When The Voice of The Tar Heels intentionally inflames those loons he essentially pulls the pins on these human hand grenades.  Some day one is going to explode.  Some day “the powers that be” will pull the plug on Woody’s mike.  Lets hope the latter gets here before the former.



   You’ans have heard me go on a bit about a fella named “Jimma” Sexton.  Jimma is now a sports agent representing a stable of high profile, and very highly paid, college coaches.  One of Jimma’s guys is, of course, UNC’s own messianic Pale Rider.

   The most notorious coaching mercenary/rock star in BCS Land in 2008 is Nick Saban.  For $4,000,000/year, Nick went into Tuscaloosa and within 18 months has restored “Bear Glory” among the red elephants.  No red elephant that matters considers Nick anything but a saviour and that $4 mill is today a non-factor.  Thereby totally justifying the premise that a high profile coach can indeed perform miracles worthy of any price tag.

   Over yonder amid the Smokies there’s 104,000 Rocky Toppers in a major snit.  Phat Phil is standing on two banana peels and angry Rocky Toppers are kneecapping Phat Phil with tie irons.  There’s lots of $$$$ among them angry Rocky Toppers who, coincidentally have to play superstar coaches like Nick and Urban and Les and Steve and Mark every year.

   Guess where Jimma Sexton calls his beloved “Alma Mater” …… Dear Ol’ Rocky Top. ….. uh oh!

   Four Ws cost Dickie $300,000.  What will 8-9-10-11 Ws cost?  “How many golf balls” ya figure Ol’ Roy might need if Butch gets $3-4,000,000 worth?   Burly John bled blue …. Does Butch bleed green?

    Aaaahhh,  what the heck ….. it was still one heckuva fine football game under a blue gray October sky amid Kenan’s fabled pines.  …… On to Hoo-Ville.


   BobLee …. I recalled your website from two years ago and your nice article about ND Gameday.  Our day in Chapel Hill did not go as we would have liked on the scoreboard but what a lovely campus and town.  Please give a shout-out to your Tar Heel brethren and best wishes the rest of the way. …… Marcie; Valparaiso, IN

   Eighteen hours prior to yesterday’s kickoff, me and Mizzus had already secured this weekend as “one for the ages” with our little soiree down in Palm Beach.  I’m in a bit of a quandary over whether to detail it here or just to the Platinum Pals. 

  It does have “political elements” for sure but so transcends the slop and slime of the political septic field that it might pass my self-imposed litmus test to share here.  I’ll decide in the next day or so ….. maybe I’ll do two versions.  Such is the option for a man with dual data bases.


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