Well, That blowout of Rutgers was fun. I still randomly yell “FORTY-FOUR TWEE-ELVE!” to pump myself up. But ultimately, while a big morale booster, was a nonconference road game, the only such game we’ll see all season.
This week, the conference season begins. At Home. Against the defending ACC champs. This is the game I’ve had circled on my calendar since June. This is the game that I consider most important toward Carolina’s season. Sure, Virgina Tech isn’t the 3-0 team we expected coming into the game, and it isn’t quite the battle for the Coastal that everyone hoped for. But Tyrod Taylor is their quarterback now, and the Hokies are still the favorites to win the Coastal Division.
Last season, we played as close against the Hokies as we could, but a key run by Eddie Royal, a fumble by Ryan Houston inside the five, and an interception by Xavier Adibi were the difference in Virginia Tech’s 17-10 victory in Blacksburg. If any of those plays go Carolina’s way, they probably get a different result.
How much does a win mean for the Tar Heels? It means they’ll be 3-0 for the fisrt time since 1997. It means they’ll win their conference opener for the first time since 2001, the 41-9 drubbing of Florida State that still makes me smile whenever it comes to mind. It means that both team and fan morale will be sky-high for the first time Julius Peppers graced our campus. This is the first game that will truly tell us where we stand in the college football universe. Most importantly, it means that we will have a season-long advantage over our biggest conference contender. If you’re not pumped about this game, I don’t know what to tell you.