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UNC 2007 Football Season In a Nutshell: The Drummers of Spinal Tap

Posted by Mike on November 2, 2007

(Note: This was originally posted on Tar Heel Mania.)

As of right now, UNC has the title of “most excusable 2-6 team in the nation”. However, it really has been difficult to categorize this exciting, yet frustrating year. It’s much easier to characterize our losses than the season as a whole, and with the magic of the Internet, I’ve stumbled upon something comparable: the ill-fated drummers of Spinal Tap.

This is exactly where UNC is this season: on the cusp of success, but always losing under bizarre and mysterious circumstances (most of which are their own doing).

ECU and Virginia games: “Bizarre gardening accidents.”

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The game at East Carolina was the first time the Tar Heels faced a division I-A offense, and it showed. Patrick Pinkney had a field day against the Carolina secondary, on route to over 400 passing yards. However, UNC’s offense was able to keep pace, and had the ball in a 31-31 game, in ECU territory, with less than two minutes left.

This is where things got out of hand. First, Yates fumbled the second down snap. Then, on 3rd and 4 from the 34, UNC have the ball to tailback Johnny White, who was stopped for no gain and set up a 51 yard field goal attempt. The snap was good, but Ryan Bauchom completely botched the hold, he had to fall on the ball. East Carolina regained possession near midfield with 53 seconds left, and eventually won on a last second field goal of their own, ironically after their kicker had missed his last 3 attempts.

Against Virginia, one of the plays that prevented us from winning the game was the 4th quarter interception by defensive lineman Chris Long, which eventually set up the game winning field goal. The Cavaliers did not always put pressure on T.J. Yates in the second half, but the entire game the defensive line managed to bat down passes at the line of scrimmage. On one such play, Chris Long managed to deflect the ball to himself, catch it, and run 30 yards the other way into field goal range. Julius Peppers is the only player I can recall who was able to make such a play in college. it was simply unbelievable.

The way we lost our first two games were so bizarre that we may never again see the Tar Heels lose in quite the same way.

Virginia Tech and South Carolina games: “You can’t really dust for vomit.”

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The Tar Heels had kept each of these games close, but had allowed teh game to slip away due to their own very-ill-timed mistakes.

Against Virginia Tech, North Carolina was well into the third quarter, only trailing 10-3 and driving to score. Ryan Houston had played a solid game up to this point at tailback, and Carolina was faced with a second a goal at the 5. Houston got the ball and was stopped at the line, but the ball was propelled out of his hands and into the end zone, where Virginia Tech recovered. Not long afterwards, T.J. Yates, having just gotten out of terrible field position, threw a pass that deflected off of Kenton Thornton’s fingertips and into the hands of Xavier Adibi, who returned the interception to the 3 yard line and set a up Brandon Ore’s game-winning touchdown. Without those turnovers, UNC wins the game.

The South Carolina game was even more self-sabotage. For example, Quan Sturdivant had recoverd a Mike Davis Fumble at the SC 15 yard line, and the UNC offense quickly proceeded to throw away their golden opportunity; sack, holding penalty, uncontested rush to the left side, ill-advised throw under pressure, easy interception. The Joe Dailey trick play pick was just as inexplicable. (The one pass they let him throw all year and it’s an interception. Go figure.) A few other missed opportunities, such as Greg Little’s two dropped touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, would have almost certainly changed the outcome of the game.

Certainly we had help along the way with these two games, but for the most part, we were responsible for our own demise.

South Florida and Wake Forest games: “You know, dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported.”

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These were two games in which the Heels screwed up in just about every way possible (and ironically, both 37-10 losses). Carolina did a good job of keeping it under control for the middle of the game, but the team fell apart in spectacular fashion at the beginning and end of each of these contests. By the time it was over, all that was left of them was “a little green globule”.

Any future losses in 2007: “Well, I’m sure I’d feel much worse if I weren’t under such heavy sedation. “

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With four games left in the 2007 season, absolutely nothing should surprise us about this team. We have shown signs of promise in nearly every game we’ve played. More than 50 of the 84 players on our roster had never played a down of college football until this season. The Tar Heels have a nucleus of talented young players (42 true or redshirt freshmen), most of whom will be suiting up in 2008, 2009, and even 2010. This team will be very good, very soon. However, our inexperience makes pretty much every game a crapshoot; we cannot truly claim to know what will happen. So, losses to Maryland or Georgia Tech shouldn’t get your blood boiling too much.

The Duke game, of course, is when we make it big in Japan.

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Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, College Football, Nihongo ga hanasemasu ka?, North Carolina, Stuff That Involves Things, Tar Heel Mania, This Post Goes To Eleven, UNC, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits | Leave a Comment »

Games To Watch: College Football Week 6

Posted by Mike on October 6, 2007

#5 Wisconsin at Illinois (12:00 ET, ESPN): Despite being the #5 team in the land, the Badgers haven’t looked very impressive this year, and they’re the Vegas underdogs against Zook and the Illini. Can Wisconsin prove their skeptics wrong?

Kansas at #24 Kansas State (12:00 ET, FSN): It’s the Battle for the Governor’s Cup (aka the Sunflower Showdown), and for the first time in recent memory, both teams are good heading into this matchup. It’s “GET IN MY BELLY!”…

…versus the Power Towels. Who ya got?

Miami at North Carolina (12:00 ET, ESPN2): UNC comes home after a road trip against two ranked opponents, and the next two home game’s aren’t any easier. But the Hurricanes didn’t look too impressive against Duke, and UNC pulled the miracle upset against a top 5 Miami team the last time they came to Chapel Hill. A  s always, the live blog is at Tar Heel Mania.

#10 Oklahoma vs. #19 Texas (3:30 ET, ABC): One week ago this might have been the week’s premier game, between two top 10, undefeated conference opponents in one of the nation’s biggest rivalry. Unfortunately for them, Kansas State and Colorado spoiled that party. Well, at least there’s always the artery-clogging experience that is the Texas State Fair. Seriously, they found a way to fry soft drinks!

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#12 Georgia at Tennessee (3:30 ET, CBS): Without a successful season, Phil Fulmer could be in serious trouble in Knoxville. In the way of a win today is the Bulldogs, who are a staggering 23-3 on the road in SEC play under Mark Richt.

#15 Virginia Tech at #22 Clemson (6:00 ET, ESPN): Past history says that this is the kind of game that Clemson will lose. Can Tommy Bowden’s team change the status quo against the Hokies’ tough defense?

#4 Ohio State at #23 Purdue (8:00 ET, ABC): Both teams are undefeated, but neither have really been challenged this season. Now is the time for them to prove whether or not they are true contender.

#20 Cincinatti at #21 Rutgers (8:00 ET, ESPN2): Of all the BCS teams in the top 25, the Bearcats probably have to be the biggest surprise. At 5-0, they face a Rutgers team reeling from a loss to Maryland last week, and looking for revenge after Cincy dashed their conference title hopes last year.

#8 Florida at #1 LSU (8:00 ET, CBS): The big matchup of the week, possibly the entire year. Even though Florida lost to Auburn last week, they’re right back in the title hunt with a win in Death Valley. But can anyone beat the Tigers right now?

Needless to say, today will be a great day in college football.

Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Big 12, Big East, College Football, Florida Gators, Get Pumped!, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Mel Kiper Has No Idea What's Going On, NCAA, Ohio State, Patriotism at its finest, Rutgers, SEC, Tar Heels, Texas, UNC, Virginia Tech, what is this hyperbole of which you speak?, YAW YAW YAW CAWLEDGE FOOBAW! | 2 Comments »

What To Watch: College Football Week 2

Posted by Mike on September 8, 2007

Miami vs. #5 Oklahoma (12:00 ET, ABC): Randy Shannon’s first true test at Miami. Will the Hurricanes begin returning to their old, dominant form this season? The weather conditions are certainly in their favor (heat, humidity, and rain); we could see an upset.

#16 Nebraska vs. Wake Forest (12:00 ET, ESPN): Wake Forest will really be hurting in this game, as QB Riley Skinner won’t play due to a hand injury. The huskers should dominate on paper, but I can’t help but wonder if Nebraska is looking ahead to USC.

NC State vs. Boston College (2:30 ET, ESPN2): Tom O’Brien returns to his old digs. How will the BC crowd receive him? NC State can definitely pull of the upset here; O’Brien is playing against, in essence, his own system.

South Carolina vs. #11 Georgia (5:45 ET, ESPN2): Blake Mitchell, Dance Machine is back from suspension just in time for the Gamecock’s season opener against Georgia. How much of a difference will he make?

Notre Dame vs. #14 Penn State (6:00 ET, ESPN): “LOU HOLTH FOR PRETHEDENTH!

I saw that sign on College GameDay this morning, and I couldn’t help but laugh. Jimmy Clausen’s gonna have a rough day today.
#9 Virginia Tech vs. #2 LSU (9:15 ET, ESPN): Already dubbed the “Tragedy Bowl”, the ESPN coverage might be insufferable. But the game should be excellent, especially on defense. Virginia Tech did not impress in their home opener however, and I doubt that any non-SEC team can beat the Tigers at home this year.

North Carolina vs. East Carolina (6:00 ET, CSTV): 2-0, baby!

This is UNC’s first true test, on the road against a winning team that considers the Tar Heels their mortal enemy. How UNC’s young starters respond to the hostile environment will likely determine the outcome of this game.

Posted in ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, College Football, Conference USA, LSU, NCAA, SEC, Tar Heel Mania, UNC, Virginia Tech, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits | Leave a Comment »

Who’s the REAL Carolina?

Posted by Mike on June 8, 2007

This weekend’s Super Regional is very confusing, because pits Carolina against…Carolina. The NCAA Baseball Tournament is in its final weekend before Omaha and the College World Series, and the Tar Heels are looking to achieve two consecutive CWS appearances for the first time in school history. Standing in their way is the University of South Carolina. This is going to be fun.

Action starts tonight at Boshamer Stadium, where this time I have the cheap seats! (And by cheap seats, I mean “general admission grass hill”.) I’ll provide recaps of the games on Tar Heel Mania. For a preview of the series, go to the ultimate authority, College Baseball Blog.

Best of luck to the Tar Heels. You know we’re to try making fun of the other team’s nickname.

Posted in #1, ACC, Baseball, Carolina, Championship, Digital Headbutt, NCAA Tournament, North Carolina, Shameless Self Promotion, Tar Heel Mania, Tar Heels, UNC, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits, yes this is a slow news day. how can you tell? | 4 Comments »

The Gods Are Not Pleased With Aluminum Bats

Posted by Mike on June 2, 2007

Today starts Day 2 of the NCAA Baseball regionals throughout the country, including in Chapel Hill. Go to Tar Heel Mania for a recap of Day 1 action.

Yesterday was bleeping hot. 90 degrees, 90% humidity. Add Aluminum bench seating and…well, it ain’t too comfortable. Apparently it will be cooler today, but because tropical Storm Barry is blowing, in, we could get a lot of rain over the weekend, possibly delaying several of the scheduled games. Any regionals near the southeast Atlantic coast are likely in the same situation.  I just hope that they’ll be able to finish the regional before the end of the weekend, because I may not be able to watch a baseball tournament that seeps into Monday and Tuesday. We need the rain down here, but Let’s hope that weather cooperates for just a little longer.

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Today’s games should be interesting. Jacksonville plays Western Carolina in the regional’s first elimination games, and UNC freshman pitcher Alex White will be facing his hometown team in East Carolina. Let’s hope he can get it done and bring the Heels to 2-0.

Posted in ACC, Baseball, Carolina, Digital Headbutt, NCAA Tournament, Shameless Self Promotion, Tar Heels, UNC | Leave a Comment »

ACC Baseball Championship Live Blog on Tar Heel Mania

Posted by Mike on May 27, 2007

UNC will be playing at 1pm today with chance to win their 5th ACC Baseball Tournament Championship. Alex White had an unbelievable game on the mound yesterday, allowing only two hits in seven shutout innings, and led the Tar Heels to a 4-0 win over Virginia and a berth in the Championship, their first appearance since 1990. By virtue of a win over Miami, Wake Forest will be UNC opponent this afternoon. I’ll be live blogging the game on Tar Heel Mania. So…see you there!

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Posted in ACC Tournament, Baseball, Championship, Digital Headbutt, Live Blog, NCAA, North Carolina, Tar Heel Mania, Tar Heels, UNC, Wake Forest | Leave a Comment »