It Was The Sweetest Of Days In Chapel Hill

empty-kenan.jpgIt was the sweetest of days Saturday for Wolfpack fans: a State team whomping on UNC at will, Carolina fans heading back to their cars and the good ole “Wolf” “Pack” cheers rattling off of the aluminum seats that the so-called best fanbase in the country left behind.  Basically State ran Carolina off of their own field and as it happened, their fans left early.

One UNC alum asked me this week why “everyone hates Carolina.”  I answered that that their sense of entitlement and superiority that inevitably makes other fanbases intensely dislike them. Every school in the ACC can name two rivals: their in-state match, and UNC.  Part of that is the undeniable success of UNC basketball — beating the ever-talented Tar Heels is an accomplishment for every ACC school save for Duke — but a lot of it is their fans’ arrogance.

expression_tunnel.jpgWe saw a lot of that arrogance across the blogosphere during the run-up to the game with the usual “Moo U,” “culture versus agriculture,” and redneck comments.  We, of course, have our own putdowns for Carolina, but the reality of it is that Carolina fans largely drive State fans’ intense dislike of the light blue.  The fact is that NC State is a leading research institution whose graduates median salaries are higher than Carolina’s upon graduation, and that NC State prepares its graduates for real jobs, real careers and real success and that fact escapes Carolina Fan.

That’s what drives this rivalry: obnoxiousness mostly from Carolina’s fans.  To be sure, it’s also the proximity, the fact that both schools fans live and work together and that one or the other always suffers at the water-cooler when their team loses.

Personally I respect UNC, but their players do not walk on water and their football team, while improving, is hardly ACC Championship caliber.  If you read my comments on the game during the week here at SFN, I said State would win if they controlled the football and limited turnovers.  Both happened, especially in the turnover battle, and as a result, State won a very well deserved win that was not even as close as the 41-10 score.

As Coach O’Brien said, NC State is now undeniably the best team of the five D1 programs in North Carolina.  One also has to wonder had NC State not lost significant time to injury with a number of its key players if they could have done something special.  Injuries are part of the game and afflict every team, but since Tom O’Brien and his staff are forced to rebuild a program left thin by Chuck Amato, injuries affected State more than most because of the lack of quality depth.

Give O’Brien 2-3 years and he will have NC State back on the national map.  Unlike Chuck Amato, he will have a team not built on smoke and mirrors but instead it will built upon solid fundamentals, sharp focus and crisp execution with players who we can all be proud to represent our University…in other words, more players like Russell Wilson. One also has to think that once back in the Top 25, NC State will be a fixture there and will be able to have more than one special year in which it visits Miami for a BCS game.  And who knows — if the cards fall in the right places, the BCS game might not be the impossible dream it always seems to have been for those who proudly wear the red and white.

That’s the future — but right now, the Wolfpack coaches and players are surely concentrating on defeating a decent Miami team that is coming to Raleigh with every intention of heading to Tampa to play for the ACC title.  State has its own designs and  can make the post-season with a win, so it is fair to expect that this will be an entertaining game that either team can win.  Given the fact that NC State is now playing its best football of the O’Brien era, and that the game is within the friendly  confines of Carter-Finley Stadium, I think that State will indeed win if they do the same things that they did so well in Chapel Hill: control the football and limit turnovers.

happy_fans_in_kenan.jpgWe as Wolfpack fans can and should pack Carter-Finley and play our hearts out as the twelfth man.  Be inside the stadium in your seat by kickoff and  after the half, raise holy hell when Miami has the ball, shush up when the Wolfpack offense is at the line of scrimmage, and generally make life miserable for “The U” — a school whose Wal-Mart fans have their own arrogance issues.

Hat tips for the pics: Maggie Tomei took the stadium shots.  The Expression Tunnel pic was ganked from 850 The Buzz’s Joe Ovies who borrowed it from Steven over at Section Six. 

'08 Football Chuck Amato NCS Football Tom O'Brien

52 Responses to It Was The Sweetest Of Days In Chapel Hill

  1. swedish 11/23/2008 at 3:36 PM #

    its going to be empty due to Thanksgiving, at least students

  2. BJD95 11/23/2008 at 3:54 PM #

    My ass will be there. And this group of players and coaches will get a standing ovation from me at the final whistle, even if we lose by 50.

  3. SEAT.5.F.2 11/23/2008 at 4:02 PM #

    NC is a really great place to live in when you priorities reside in education. There maybe some states that have the Liberal Arts/ Land Grant tandem’s as good as ours, but non better. My family have the advantage of still residing in the Triangle and that makes it all the sweeter, IMO.

    I clearly draw the line with AD and these two Universities of the State system. We, the people of NC State” pay to build our fuh-cil-atie’s, generate scholly money, get the extra money for paying well deserving coaches. Don’t fool yourself about this Rams Club, they don’t have as much money as people think. This athletic department is a brand, with merchandise sold to teens and fair weather fans around the nation. Ever met a NY Yankee fan in South Dakota? 10/1 I can tell you their favorite college basketball team.

    Why do you think they can run off coaches when ever they feel like; Men’s Lacrosse didn’t win Championships and that was used as the sole reason he got canned. They do it because they are branded, trade marked and sold out.

  4. RickJ 11/23/2008 at 4:06 PM #

    “concentrating on defeating a decent Miami team that is coming to Raleigh with every intention of heading to Tampa to play for the ACC title.”

    I do not think this is true. The Coastal Division is VPI’s with a win over Virginia and Georgia Tech’s should they lose to Virginia. If all three (VPI, Georgia Tech & Miami) end up with a 5 – 3 record, I believe VPI takes the tiebreaker as they have only lost 1 game in the Coastal Division while the other two have 2 losses.

  5. redfred2 11/23/2008 at 4:08 PM #

    ^I don’t know, a package deal with tickets for both the FB and BB games are only $30 at gopack. I already have BB tickets, so I’m debating myself. Depends heavily on whether or not there are any speckled trout in the surf, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition.

  6. Alpha Wolf 11/23/2008 at 4:16 PM #

    Rick, true, but Miami absolutely must win and they know it. Yesterday got their attention, count on it.

  7. graywolf 11/23/2008 at 4:22 PM #

    I hope this team is tired of being at home around Christmas and come to play on Saturday.

  8. travelwolf 11/23/2008 at 4:25 PM #

    even from the first season, SFN knew that TOB was at least a good coach. his teams showed a different and improved character and showed improvement as the season progressed. sadly, the same can’t be said for out basketball coach. i’m still hopeing that lightning strikes twice…but the evidence as the season progresses indicates otherwise. i hope i’m wrong.

  9. theTHRILL 11/23/2008 at 4:43 PM #

    Is there any doubt that this is now TOB’s team? It’s been a joy to watch him mold these guys from undisciplined and erratic into a smart, disciplined, well-rounded team.

  10. tcthdi-tgsf-twhwtnc 11/23/2008 at 5:47 PM #

    I can’t remember the last time I watched the entire game, post game show and then turned on the radio to to listen until they signed off.

    Great game to all the team and coaching staff, you made a lot of Wolfpack fans happy yesterday.

    I would love to see ‘State Champions 2008’ T-shirts with the games and scores on the back.

  11. PackScout 11/23/2008 at 5:50 PM #

    This win against Carowhina was poetic justice. The pundits should be silenced now. I’m tired of hearing about how good Carowhina is under Butch Davis. Tom O’Brien is 2-0 against Buth Davis and 6-1 against in-state Div. 1 schools. The future looks bright for the Wolfpack!!

    Run with the PACK…

  12. Packman02 11/23/2008 at 6:05 PM #

    I’ll be at the Miami game too – and I’m quite looking forward to it. I wholeheartedly agree with theThrill’s post about this team now being TOB’s; it’s been an absoulte pleasure to watch these guys compete this year (even the brutal early season games with SCAR and USF). Even in defeat, this group has done us alums proud – they never quit and clearly have respect for the game – and I, for one, could not have said the same for some of our squads in years past.

    Now, on to ‘the U’. I took in most of the GT game (I imagine most here did) and saw a very young and talented team that was clearly rattled early on the road. After a few bad series, the wheels fell off – Tech was doing whatever it wanted. Our crowd will certainly be MUCH more hostile that the one at Bobby Dodd, I just worry that we might come out flat after the scoring clinic in Chapel Hill (i.e. the dreaded ’emotional win hangover’). Coaching is definitely advantage NC State, so I think if we are ‘hungover’, adjustments will be made accordingly. I think we win – but it’ll probably be close!

  13. b 11/23/2008 at 6:16 PM #

    Miami has nothing to play for but better bowl and maybe revenge for last year. They are out of the title picture after the UVA loss.

    I echo BJD95, I don’t want a repeat of the Terp game last year and would be STUNNED if it happens, but regardless I’ll stay thru the alma mater to give these boys a hand. They represented us well this year and showed guts in working through all the blowouts and injuries. The lowpoint was a 41-10 loss and the high point is a 41-10 win, beat Miami and we’re 6-6. A perfectly symmetrical year.

  14. Ismael 11/23/2008 at 6:30 PM #

    Cam Sexton’s comments, we should file these away somewhere:

    In the aftermath of a six-turnover disaster with starter T.J. Yates being booed off the field, Sexton slumped into a chair and said he did not agree with the decision to demote him and did not agree that a game against N.C. State was just another game.

    “I grew up in North Carolina, and I know what that game means,” Sexton said. “That game means everything to me. I know I was intense. I was ready to go, and I know this team was intense and ready to go. And I know that this team wanted to beat them more than anything in the world.”

    Shaugn Draughn’s comments:

    This is precisely why these guys lost and more importantly why I (and im sure i speak for others) can’t stand a tarhole. EJ Wilson’s comments, also on wral, are equally stupid, especially when he was talking about RW. Ive got alot of respect for Yates and Marvin Austin though, those guys looked, ALMOST like you could feel sorry for them.

  15. Scooter 11/23/2008 at 6:53 PM #

    This is the week for the Pack to finish the fight. Whether or not we win Saturday will depend on another strong performance by our defense against a talented U offense and continued offensive efficiency. Miami can lay an egg but they can also score points, with or without turnovers. We need one more big-hearted performance out of our defense.

    Regardless of the outcome, I don’t think any of us can be disappointed with the way our team and coaching staff have responded when faced with dire circumstances nearly all season long. We should all be proud of the way our team has performed to close the season.


  16. Ismael 11/23/2008 at 7:09 PM #

    Eugene’s comments, these are just priceless:

    “They were rolling early, and now reality’s just hit them,” N.C. State running back Jamelle Eugene said of the Tar Heels. “The offensive line and defensive line really put a hurtin’ on them, and that just shows you how much heart they’ve got. They quit toward the end of the game. Let’s be honest about it.

    “They knew what was going to happen when we came in here. They talk a lot, talk in the media all week, and I said now that it’s time to talk, they don’t want to talk. The offensive line pounded them into submission, and the defense did their thing.”

    This should be on a shirt or something, to recapt: “and I said now that it’s time to talk, they don’t want to talk”

  17. SMD 11/23/2008 at 8:44 PM #

    And once again, we have an ad for UNC-CH ringtones on this site.

    I know that the ad revenue is what keeps this site going, but there HAS to be a way around this particular ad. Maybe have the ad’s provider write the Tarholes out of the code for this particular ad on the site.

  18. choppack1 11/23/2008 at 8:59 PM #

    I hope NC kids remember what Butch did. He benched a NC kid who helped save their season for one of his boys. Butch was in kind of a tough position – but there’s been 2 games in this series so far – in both games, the Wolfpack has dominated the LOS.

    One thing about injuries – we have to give UNC credit for fighting their way through some key ones…

    I don’t like to dwell on the injuries and what could have been. This is football, and almost everyone has them. A good program has enough depth to survive them. We’re not there yet.

    I’m enjoying the heck out of this week. I’m enjoying the fact that Deems May – as usualy – showed what a dolt that he was.

    I also liked that Jeff Bostic probably went home unhappy. He seemed to be comparing the injury to Yates – or UNC’s loss – to JFK’s assination. Nice…

  19. wolfpack95 11/23/2008 at 9:00 PM #

    If by rhetoric, you mean truth about Amato’s “program building” then you should be sickened, Packaholic.
    Amato was a pox upon this program.
    Good riddance.

  20. choppack1 11/23/2008 at 9:06 PM #

    Another thought…We have 7 conference games against teams we played last year. Going into the Miami game, our performance has improved against EVERY ONE OF THEM.

    Think about that for a second, our play improved against Clemson, BC, FSU, UMd, Wake and UNC. Miami will be tough – they’re much better than they were last year.

    We all know what happened last year – but I’d encourage us all to remember when they game went south – here’s a hint – it was an INT. Hopefully, Wilson can continue his unimaginable play. Hopefully, our receivers will make some big catches…If so, yea, we just might improve in all 7 games.

  21. Greywolf 11/23/2008 at 9:19 PM #

    Want a good laugh?
    Imagine this is a Hole player interview after the game.
    Substitute State or “Staters” for Taser.

  22. SuperStuff 11/23/2008 at 9:47 PM #

    God I wish we could have been healthy early this year and played UNC-CHs schedule. I can only dream… Now to just see Duke take them down and our program beat Miami would be even sweeter.

  23. packpowerfan 11/23/2008 at 10:40 PM #

    I, as a student, have already wrangled my usual posse for noise and mayhem for Saturday. I’m from Ocean Isle, and will be at home on Thursday for Thanksgiving, and working on the pier Friday night. However, I will be in my truck at 5:30 to be in Raleigh by 8:00ish for tailgating. I love my Pack, and am proud the way they’ve played this season. Even in a 41-10 disaster against USF, they kept pushing. Every time I see RW in an interview, it makes me proud how this program is changing. We’ll see what we can do about packing 7/8 and the endzones…and it’s up to the boys on the field earn some REDEMPTION!

  24. Greywolf 11/23/2008 at 11:24 PM #

    Early last week there was speculation about UNX being ready to take us behind the woodshed, that they would be angry and really take it out on us. (The comment that precedes my post was Tongue-in-cheek I believe) My contrary response went into great detail (not pasted here) why I thought NOT.
    Nov 16th, 2008 at 11:35 pm
    We should all just be grateful the holes are allowing us to be on their field this Saturday. They should probably be bigger favorites.

    Nov 16th, 2008 at 11:42 pm
    It is far more likely that an emotional downer will happen than an anger binge.

    Not with our coaches, but with some of our fans,
    I hear this week a false sense of well-being and how it is expected to go with Miami.
    I expect a low-scoring battle with both head coaches playing that conservative game those types play when playing their equal with the team making the fewest mistakes being the winner. This goes out the window if one team gets a jump on the other and the 4th quarter could have more scores than the other three combined.

    I expect Miami to COME OUT fired up, very emotional and very physical the first series or two. Coach O’Brien will have us prepared. We weather this storm and we win IMNSHO.

  25. Ismael 11/24/2008 at 1:30 AM #

    True Story…

    so i was blogging with you guys on saturday and i just couldnt’ take the feed so i went to a place that was carrying it, family type sports bar.

    I walk in waited to be seated and a guy at the bar has a UNCCH hat on backwards. They seat me where i can see them and it turns out to be two Hole fans sitting at the bar, both of them with Tarhole clothing. And they are intently watching this game on a tv at the bar, so i figured it was the the ncsu/tarhole game. so i walk around behind them and what do you think: Nope, they were all into some game between FAMU and someone. And i thought, typical tarhole fans, they don’t even know their team is playing and or don’t care. They happened to be surrounded by 3 different TV’s with the game on though and they seemed to not know. I wish i could have video’d those two losers.

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