Teams: there are a lot of them. North Carolina is one of them, here previewed by Mike of Tarheel Mania, a man who thanks to years of John Bunting appreciates a good mustache like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appreciates a good waterboarding. Enjoy.
One: what color is your season? In other words, please explain the metaphorical state of your program through the metaphor of color:
1. SpongeBob Yellow. This is to say that we are highly optimistic (and ready…and ready…) about our situation and potential despite the fact that, given the complete picture, things aren’t as hot as we believe. Nevertheless, SpongeBob is a very happy invertebrate. It’s all about perspective. And if all goes awry, we’ll just deploy the Conch Signal to Roy Williams come November. Tyler Hansbrough kinda looks like a fish anyway.
Two: What historical nation and period do you resemble most right now?
2. Russia, 1996. Currently a chaotic irrelevance. Our victories and losses in battle have led to the fall and rise of programs (e.g. Florida State, Miami wins; Rutgers, USF losses). Once a rising power on the verge of being at the top, our efforts were thwarted by the capitalist pigs in Tallahassee. In 1996 and 1997, UNC went 21-3; two of those losses were to the Seminoles. I can never forgive FSU for November 8th, 1997. We were #5 in the nation, poised to make a run for the national championship. We had just beaten Clemson in Death Valley for the first time since the Lawrence Taylor era. We had the #2 team in the land on our own turf and on one else in our way. To this day it is the Kenan Stadium attendance record and the only time Lee Corso has ever set foot in the People’s Republic of Chapel Hill. We watched, poised to finally stamp our place in the national college football landscape. Then…disaster struck. We were crushed by a score of 20-3. Looking back, it’s ridiculous to be in the Orange Bowl if you have the two-QB system of Chris Keldorf and Oscar Davenport…but the #1 defense in the nation got lit up by Thad Busby! THAD ----ING BUSBY I TELL YOU!
Now is excuse to post Yeltsin drunk.
Much like the Kremlin, we’re having a bit of trouble letting go of the recent past…but I digress. Point is, we never were the same after that. Both the fearless leaders of the program and athletic department left, the broken republic was left in the hands of an incompetent buffoon (TORRRRRRRRRBUUUUUUUUSSSSSSHHH!!!) and what remained was an entity desperately clinging to relevance…give us a bowl game, any bowl game. By now the full fallout has become clear. But now some enterprising oligarchs are looking to make their money, and in doing so may one day bring us to prominence again. After a narrow overtime win against Duke, at HOME, there’s nowhere to go but up. And this time, capitalist pigs, we intend to beat you at your own game. ???? ????? ??????! (The Heels of the Tar Go!)
Three: You have important players. Discuss a few of them hastily.
Hakeem Nicks, WR-He is the closest that UNC has come to a 1,000 yard receiving season. That’s right, UNC has as many 1,000 yard receivers in their history as Joe Paterno has neurons that belong to his original body. (Because he’s a zombie! Get it?.../crickets) Nicks, with his spectacular agility, awareness, and Velcro hands will anchor a receiving corps that will make the job of T.J. Yates—or whomever plays QB this season—a bit easier.
Quantavius Sturdivant, LB-A highly touted freshman, Quantavius started the last five games for the Heels, and this year he is expected to fill the void at linebacker left by talented senior Durell Mapp. Linebacker is where UNC has the least amount of depth, so Quantavius may see every down this season and rack up more than 150 tackles. And if nothing else, he has the best full name of any player in the ACC. Calling him Quan is soooooooooo inside the box.
Deunta Williams, FS- 2nd team all-conference and ACC Defensive Freshman of the Year, Williams had 57 tackles and led the Heels in interceptions with three. That may not seem like much, but since the Julius Peppers era most of our defensive backs have had raw chickens for hands. He’s one of the best DBs UNC has had in a while.
Four: Name two games we might actually want to watch featuring your team.
Sept. 20th vs. Va. Tech-We were on the road against the ACC champions last year, playing badly, making all kinds of mistakes…and still came thisclose to beating the Hokies. Tech needs to be on upset alert for this one. It’s one of our three toughest games in 2008…and in the wide open (read: terrible) ACC landscape, it’s pretty winnable.
Nov. 22nd vs. NC State- HATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATEHATE. Well, it’s not that we hate the Wolfpack per se-in fact, we’re technically part of the same University system. So really, they’re a brother to us. An odd, unkempt, ugly, “special” brother whom we would like to pummel given any opportune moment…but a brother nonetheless.
Four-A: Save us all some time and mention the game we're better off NOT watching.
Nov. 29th vs. Duke. Don’t watch this game. It’s the law in Jefferson County, Kentucky.
Amongst the Mt. Rushmore of Duke jokes, the legal precedent of “Duke Sucks” has to be right up there with J.J. Redick’s poetry [http://tarheelmania.wordpress.com/], Kyle Singler’s addiction to puppy tartare, and Carl Franks.
Five: Every hero forgets something in their toolbelt. What does your team lack?
Two things. First is anything resembling a running game. Despite having 27 1,000 yard rushing seasons in school history, we haven’t had such a running back since 1997. Greg Little and Jamal Womble may help fix that, but still…when you’re waxing nostalgic about John Linton, you’ve got issues.
Our second biggest weakness is at linebacker. Not so much for lack of production as lack of depth. Quantavius, Chase Rice, and Mark Paschal are all serviceable LB’s, but UNC has almost no experienced help behind them.
Six: Describe your team with a Jimmy Buffett song. No, we're serious, do it.
I’m not a Buffett aficionado, so I can only go by song titles. After much deliberation (10 minutes on Wikipedia), I’ll go with “Please Don’t Bring Me Candy.” Mostly because keeping Marvin Austin away from carbs is a pretty good idea.
If this were UVa, however, only one song is an acceptable answer: “Pencil Thin Moustache”.
Seven: We're master wagerers. Give us a bet to place for up to ten dollars about your team.
7. The Tar Heels will stay close in just about every game, within single digits either direction. However, they will manage to botch 2-3 of those games due to a singular act of stupidity, digging themselves in a deep hole to begin the game.
TJ YATES WILL NOT THROW A PICK ON THE OPENING DRIVE. TJ YATES WILL NOT THROW A PICK ON THE OPENING DRIVE. TJ YATES WILL NOT THROW A PICK ON THE OPENING DRIVE…
For further reading on the North Carolina Tar Heels, please check out Tarheel Mania. Marvin Austin does not at all kind of look like Tracy Chapman. Nope.