Carolina is 8-4. WHOOOOOOO

Considering where we were two years ago, this is a very, very big deal. This not lost on most Heels fans; if 41-10 freaked you out and took your mind off of the big picture for a while, you’re forgiven. Just as long as you also remember 44-12, 38-12, 45-24 and 28-7 with equal intensity. Carolina has had the most regular season wins and the fewest losses since 1997, and the greatest improvement in wins since 1990.

Back in August I said I would be elated with anything above 7-5. As disappointing as the losses may have been for their own reasons, this team has made vast improvements from 2007, and as the stats show, they have been overachieving this season.

What is more impressive about the Heels the season is that they have won without much of the offensive starting lineup from August (Little, Yates, Tate, Pianalto, and two offensive linemen) for most of the season.

It is very, very important not to underestimate the level to which this team has surprised and overachieved. If you had told any fan that the Heels would win most of their games with Cam Sexton at Quarterback and Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston at tailback, that fan would have slapped you to knock the crazy out of you. And then they would have slapped you again for saying something so blasphemous. And then, just for good measure, he would have kicked you in the nuts thinking that you were a Wolfpack fan trying to trick him and probably deserved some testicular trauma. And then you would follow him to his car, write down his license plate,find out his real name, call that lawyer in Raleigh who was played by Tom Cruise in that movie, and win a $700,000 lawsuit. And the aforementioned fan would be asking God why He would allow this to happen while you get on the phone inquiring about a beach house. And then that fan would realize that the Judge’s gavel is an ice cream cone, the defendant’s chair is a thigh drawn by Salvador Dali, and outside the Courthouse Godzilla is giving kids piggy back rides for beer money. And then he will realize that this is all a dream, and no one would be so stupid as to tell him that UNC would be led to a winning season by Cam Sexton and Shaun Draughn. That is how unlikely this season’s success has been. That is how far ahead of schedule we are. That is how much UNC Football has changed in two years.

That is not to say that this season has been without its share of warts. As talented as the starting lineup is, UNC still does not have a deep enough team to avoid in-season fatigue, and it showed this November. The offense stagnated, and the defense spent way too much time on the field. And as exciting as it was to we the defense force so many turnovers, it was equally frustrating to watch the entire team struggle when the Heels didn’t win the turnover battle. UNC committed 21 turnovers on the year, of which 15 were relinquished in their four losses to only 3 turnovers forced. And the apparent allergy to blitzes hurt the Heels on many occasions, most notably the Withers Special against Virginia.

But there is much to look forward to. In all likelihood UNC can do no worse than the Music City Bowl (where, insanely enough, 2007 Champion LSU is a likely opponent). Butch Davis can stop talking about other jobs (at least until Tommy Tuberville leaves Auburn in 2009) and is poised to bring in another top recruiting class. Although you can say this about every other team I’m the Coastal division, this will be a much better team in 2009.

So how to assess 2008? Hopefully, we will look back on this season as the start of something great. The year that UNCbecomes not only a good team, but a good program.

BlogPoll Draft Week 14

No matter how the Big 12 was settled, someone was going to get the shaft. Oklahoma and Texas are both excellent teams, and even with the 45-35 Longhorns victory in the Red River Shootout, the teams are almost completely even and equally deserving of the division title. (Of course, if Texas gets a gimme interception against Texas Tech, Michael Crabtree doesn’t score with 2 seconds to play, and we’re not having this discussion. But that’s another story.) I still have to give Texas the edge based on the head-to-head win.

The rest of the poll…is just plain weird. BC and Georgia Tech make the top 25 by virtue of finishing better than 8-4 in the ACC. As Virginia Tech, well, the Coastal division title has to count for something.

Rank Team Delta
1 Alabama
2 Texas
3 Oklahoma
4 Florida
5 Texas Tech 1
6 Utah 1
7 Penn State 1
8 Southern Cal 1
9 Boise State
10 Oklahoma State 1
11 Ohio State 1
12 Cincinnati
13 Georgia Tech 8
14 Missouri 1
15 Oregon 11
16 TCU
17 Ball State 2
18 Michigan State 1
19 Boston College 1
20 Brigham Young 1
21 Northwestern 2
22 Mississippi 2
23 Iowa 2
24 Virginia Tech 2
25 Rice 1
Dropped Out: Georgia (#14), Oregon State (#18), Florida State (#22).

Tar Heel Mania Spreading Like…Spread

I was priveleged enough to to be part of this week’s CFB Weekly¬† Radio show/podcast. Every week Aaron Rennie interviews several members of the college football blogosphere about their teams. In the Tar Heel Mania segment (about 20 minutes in), I was asked about Where UNC football stands now versus the final years of Bunting, and what the expectaions are for the rest of the season. I was also given the chance to heckle the Wolfpack prior to this week’s game, and I’m afraid i didn’t take full advantage.

Anyway, you can listen to the entire show at CFB Weekly. Many thanks to Aaron, who did a great job with this.

Blogpoll Week 12 Draft

I don’t care how ridiculous this poll looks. Until an ACC team proves they can finish better than 8-4, no one from my beloved conference is going to appear in my top 25. I do this because I care.

Rank Team Delta
1 Texas Tech
2 Alabama
3 Texas
4 Florida 1
5 Oklahoma 1
6 Southern Cal
7 Penn State
8 Utah
9 Boise State
10 Oklahoma State
11 Missouri 2
12 Ohio State 2
13 Georgia 2
14 Michigan State 2
15 Oregon State 9
16 Cincinnati 1
17 TCU 3
18 Brigham Young
19 Pittsburgh 2
20 LSU 1
21 Ball State 1
22 Northwestern 4
23 Iowa 3
24 Oregon 2
25 Central Michigan 1

Dropped Out: North Carolina (#12), Florida State (#17), South Carolina (#23), Miami (Florida) (#25).

You’d Be Amazed At The Things People Write When They’re Mad

Of course I’m disappointed at the Maryland loss. The offense couldn’t sustain drives, and the Maryland offense, while not too impressive, did not make mistakes on which the defense could capitalize. And of course there’s the matter of losing UNC’s third (and probably last) opportunity to win the Coastal division title. But this team has made great strides this season, and have overcome serious obstacles to get to 7-3. If Butch Stays at Carolina, this is going to be a very good team for a very long time. As much as the short term hurts, the long term is no less bright.

Some people, however, are a bit more short-sighted. Take, for example, these, um, gems from the Inside Carolina boards, guaranteed to combust after a loss:

“I’m tired of watching my football team lose when it matters most YEAR after YEAR.”

Because the sheer amount of important games we’ve had for the past decade is just EARTH SHATTERING.

“THE” Official bench Cam Sexton thread

Well, Sexton was a HUGE reason we lost this game…..I will be extremely disapointed if he remains the start….he completely sucked this game…

I went and sat in the rain to watch this ******* lose us the game?…Wow.

I can’t believe BD didn’t bench him after the first drive of the second half…..
that was one of the worst performances that i think i have ever seen. he just looked completely confused out there. i have no f-ing clue why he was not yanked out of the game. he couldnt even complete a simple slant at least 3 times and also overthrew Nicks on a 5 yard pass play on the last drive. However, it is not just on him. It is also on Butch. Cam should have been taken out after the drive where he missed Foster wide open in the end zone.

The UNC-Maryland game was played during a storm that, just 12 hours and a few hundred miles earlier, produced tornadoes. It was played either in driving rain or in a green slip-n-slide. These are conditions that are, by nature, not conducive to a passing game. John Shoop decides to run more pass plays than run plays. When UNC did run the ball they only got 71 total yards. And somehow this is all the fault of a quarterback who, to that point, was a 5-1 starter with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

“[Casey] Barth should have to run till he pukes out his mouth and butt!!! Laughing on the sideline… UUGGGGHHH!!!”

So many legitimate reasons to be infuriated about this game…and you pick the emotional state of a freshman kicker after he missed a field goal by about two inches in the green soup that qualified as a field in College Park on Saturday. Had UNC won the game, this would have been considered amazing emotional resilience. Instead, it haunts your nightmares. Unless he’s being choked by the long snapper, I doubt that the a kicker’s sideline emotions are that important in a game.

Also, I wouldn’t wish butt-puke on anyone. That just sounds awful.

A reason for Butch Davis to leave Carolina

Two years ago, Carolina finished 3-9, with losses by big margins (anyone remember the score of the Clemson game?).

Now Carolina is 7-3, with the losses by a combined scores of 8 points (including an OT loss). Yet this board is populated tonight by the usual fairweather fans and trolls who always show up after a loss, moaning and whining like a bunch of 10 year old girls who just learned they’re not going to the Hannah Montana concert. Some are even questioning whether Butch is worth the money or deserves a raise. These people NEVER show up here after a win to congratulate the the team or coaches, but they’re always here after a loss.

And not enough supportive fans show up here after a loss. It’s one thing to be disappointed after a loss—–I’m really p.o.’d tonight—–but I’m not going to throw our team and coach under the bus after every loss. I’m very pleased with the progress made over the last two years. I’m a Tar Heel born, a Tar Heel bred, and one day I’ll be a Tar Heel dead. But we have too many “fans” posting here—-gosh, remember the good old days when the moderators actually, ya know, moderated?—–who are Tar Heels only when it’s convenient and pain-free.

So take the money from Tennessee or wherever and run, Coach Davis. These “fans” deserve no better than a Torbush or Bunting. And if you don’t believe me, Coach Davis, give Mack Brown a call.

Ah, yes. Tell the greatest thing that’s happened to Carolina Football in more than a decade get out of town because we have angry fans with computers. Angry fans with computers are a characteristic completely unique to UNC and none of the die-hard SEC fans with computers would dare act like this.

UNC vs. Maryland Live Blog

The Tar Heels today face the biggest road block between them and Tampa in the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps are notoriously Jekkyl-and-Hydeish this season, but their scary team tends to show up at home. This game is going to be exciting.

This game has 99% of my attention today, and it would have 100% of it if not for the BEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD EVER playing their opener at the same time. So you will get periodic updates of that game as well.

Live blog link is below.

Click Here

The Miami Hurricanes Are My Heroes

With this post, I would like to personally thank the Miami Hurricanes for beating Virginia Tech on Thursday night. The win allows the Tar Heels to control their own destiny in the Coastal division. More importantly, however, they succeeded where North Carolina and Georgia Tech could not. They, in consecutive games, finished off the robot menace to the entire ACC that would have been either team from the Commonwealth of Virginia in the conference championship game. This season, I have become an ABCer in college football: Anybody But the Commonwealth. Neither team are very fun to watch. They both win by sucking the life out of games; Frank Beamer uses strategy, while Al Groh may be an actual vampire.

Point is, In reaching 7-3 Miami has, for now, knocked Virginia and Virginia Tech out of the ACC race. If the Hurricanes did nothing else, I deeply thank them for that. Just don’t expect us to return the favor. Even though there’s a 50% chance that we will.

It Isn’t Basketball Season Without a Good Scheyerface

And yesterday we get our first gem of the year, courtesy of opponent Georgia Southern.

I’m distinctly in the mindset of ITS STILL FOOTBALL SEASON WHAT BASKETBALL I CANT HEAR YOU LALALALALALALA, but this was too good not to post here.

It’s Maryland Week

Adjust your diets accordingly.

BlogPoll Draft Week 11

Rank Team Delta
1 Texas Tech 1
2 Alabama 1
3 Texas 1
4 Oklahoma 2
5 Florida
6 Southern Cal 2
7 Penn State 4
8 Utah 1
9 Boise State 2
10 Oklahoma State 3
11 Georgia 2
12 North Carolina
13 Missouri 1
14 Ohio State 3
15 Cincinnati 4
16 Michigan State 2
17 Florida State 9
18 Brigham Young 3
19 LSU 3
20 TCU 10
21 Pittsburgh 5
22 Ball State 2
23 South Carolina 3
24 Oregon State 2
25 Miami (Florida) 1

Dropped Out: Georgia Tech (#15), Maryland (#20), Northwestern (#22), West Virginia (#23), Air Force (#25).

Also Considered: Air Force, Wake Forest, Boston College, Maryland, Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Tulsa, Rice, Oregon

Texas Tech moves ahead of Alabama in part because of how the Red Raiders destroyed Oklahoma State and in part because of The Crimson Tide’s struggles against a team that they should have beaten more comfortably.

With the exception of Oklahoma State and Georgia, I have to put North Carolina ahead of other 2-loss teams by virtue of not being blown out in either of their two losses, as well as playing a schedule that hasn’t had a guaranteed win since Rutgers.

TCU dropping ten spots is not so much because of their loss to Utah (it was a good game by both teams) so much as it is tacit acknowledgement that, with few exceptions, I can;t put the Horned Frogs ahead of other two-loss teams from BCS conferences.

All in all, the top ten is pretty straightforward, and 11-25 is just plain weird.