Pre-season football chatter will play a major role in most of the summer talk here at SFN. Wanted to thank the folks at ESPN for accurately identifying UNC’s most important game of the 2012 football season as the annual match-up with NC State. Linked here.
Why it is important
Bragging rights. Pride. An 0-5 record against the Pack in the past five seasons. Home-field advantage. And of course, because UNC is the “flagship” university, right? At least according to former interim head coach Everett Withers it is. Withers added some heat to this rivalry last year when he called UNC the state’s flagship university, and boasted of the school’s graduation rates at a time in which the NCAA was investigating the program for academic fraud. NC State coach Tom O’Brien fired back, and then he punctuated it with a 13-0 win over UNC. Will O’Brien get the last word again? North Carolina is trying to put its tumultuous past behind it, and beating its in-state rivals would be another step in the right direction. NCAA sanctions have prohibited UNC from playing in the postseason this year, so this is the Tar Heels’ bowl game. It’s up to Larry Fedora to turn the tables in his first season as UNC’s head coach. If he does, he’ll instantly win over a fan base desperate to tilt the scales back in favor of Chapel Hill.
As for the prediction for NC State’s ‘most important’ game of the year? I’m going with the following in order:
(1) Florida State
(3) Wake Forest