It’s not and it never will be…. but just suppose UNC-CH aka “The Vaunted Flagship of The UNC Fleet” was not located in Chapel Hill but instead was located in Statesville? So what you say? Say a lot of the emotions of the backfence rivalry would be dissipated if it wasn’t “a backfence rivalry”. Would it still be “farm boys vs frat boys” with all the old worn out insults lobbed back / forth? Sure, but it would be different. ……
Because this website has a broader global penetration than a myopic 25 mile diameter circle, I am often asked by “people from faraway places with strange sounding names” like Texas, Missouri, Virginia, Florida, etc why is the NC State v Carolina rivalry such a BFD back there..
I often reply using an old aphorism from my mom. “An inch isn’t very long, unless you stick it on the end of your nose.” I’m not sure how that applies but it usually buys me a few seconds for something even cleveier.
The State/Carolina Rivalry is not a BFD except for State and Carolina fans but in a rivalry that’s pretty much all you need – two rivals. Maybe there are ménage a trios rivalries but that seems kinky. Two families, schools, cities, barbecue restaurants, NASCAR teams, or two 10th grade blond cheerleaders that really really dislike one another for real or imagined reasons.
If the genus of the rivalry is mythical (never really happened) it can make the rivalry even more intense as neither side will ever admit it really has no idea why they hate each other….. “we just always have, that’s why.” Was it a Hatfield or a McCoy that shot the other family’s pig? Both sides swear it was the other what kilt our pig so…..
“…… we went and tipped over their outhouse not knowing their granny was in it at the time and first thing we know five of us and four of them was all gut shot and bleedin’ out down by the crick……”
Forty years later they were still ambushing one another. That is pretty typical of rivalries.
So anywho, back to Statesville…… What DOES make the State/Carolina Rivalry somewhat worthy of studying is the tight geographical footprint due to the 28 mile distance twixt the two campi. Both schools are in the same modest SMSA metro-area and must therefore share the same media market.
That assures that no matter what the local media reports, it can count on being lambasted by both fan bases as being “in the tank” for the other one. Although for the immediate time being The N&O’s Dan Kane is being accorded Philip Rivers / David Thompson hero-status on The Brickyard. Not so much so in Chapel Hill.
The only possible comparison is USC v UCLA but the LA market is an anomaly. Most folks in LA don’t really pay much attention to either one all that much. Maybe if USC had traded for Dwight Howard and The Kardashians were UCLA cheer skanks….. maybe.
To change the “backfence” nature of NCSU v UNC, one could move either school. Do away with ECU and move NCSU to Greenville. LOOK OUT – INCOMING!!! ….. just supposing. That’s why I’m suggesting UNC to Statesville.
My scenario supposes UNC was originally founded in Statesville (or Hickory or Newton-Conover. Any of’em would do). Relocating UNC now is probably not a feasible option although these ARE unusual times so who knows?
If the NCAA or the SBI or a band of Wuff-commandos sneak over and salt the fields of Kenan; UNC may have to relocate anyway.
The location of the UNC System HQ could stay in the now deserted town of Chapel Hill or move to Mebane as it chooses.
UNC-Statesville would abdicate Raleigh-Derm-Cary (and Chapel Hill) to WuffNation. UNC would pickup strength in The Triad and even more support in The Great State of Mecklenburg. Other than its physical location 100 miles further west, UNC would be exactly the same institution it is today.
It would still have an Old Well, a Bell Tower, nutjob faculty like Gene Nichol, a Dean Dome, a football stadium with some pine trees, lots of grungy beer bars on a “main drag”, a planetarium, and certainly still it’s very own “Way”. It would certainly have to still have it’s own “Way”.
As long as UNC had a law school and Raleigh was the State Capitol, lots of UNC lawyers would gravitate there. Seats of guvmint attract lawyers like roadkill attracts buzzards. That analogy works on many levels. But it is likely that UNC grads would dissipate more geographically than under the present scenario.
The backfence rivalry would then approximate the UVa v VaTech rivalry. Charlottesville and Blacksburg being far enough apart to avoid wholesale confrontations in every Target check-out line as we now have in “The Triangle”.
Auburn v Alabama and UGa v GaTech don’t sit cheek by jowl to one another. Texas v aTm….. OU v OkState…. Mizzou v KU (oops, that one’s dead now!)…. Ohio State v Michigan all have 100 miles or so twixt campuses. Having a DMZ seems to be “a good thing” in such emotional matters.
So… I vote we appoint Richard “Dickie” Baddour as chair of an ad hoc committee to study this proposal. He can have Todd Turner, Dumplin’ Perdue and Jennifer Wiley’s cable guy on his committee. I will let you know when Dickie submits his findings. It will, no doubt, be an extensive investigation… knowing Dickie as we do.
Actually if Hinton James had just kept on walking west for another day or so back in 1795 then ……