A rivalry restored?
Oct 30, 2012
Tom O'Brien has never been afraid to call things as he sees them.
O'Brien sent a few shock waves through the social media universe when he said this year's State-Carolina match-up felt like a rivalry game for the first time since he took over in Raleigh.
I think he's on to something.
For years now, I've been saying the team that "wants it more" wins a disproportionate number of games in this series - regardless of talent, or who's favored.
This is as unscientific as it gets, so bear with me. But there certainly seems to be a correlation between "embracing the rivalry" and winning in this series.
John Bunting's Carolina teams suffered some of the worst losses in the program's history, but Bunting still went 4-2 against NC State. Why? The game was an absolute priority for them, while the "biggest game of the year" for Chuck Amato's squads was often perceived to be Florida State - against whom the Pack fared much better (4-2) in the same time span.
That trend reversed when O'Brien and Butch Davis took over the two programs. O'Brien embraced the rivalry immediately, while many perceived the focus at Carolina was on beating teams like Miami and Virginia Tech. The result? Five straight wins for a State team that wasn't always favored, while the Tar Heels went 4-4 against the Hokies and 'Canes under Davis.
In both cases - State under Amato, and Carolina under Davis - the programs appeared poised to break into the national spotlight. But in both cases, the rivalry game (and a perceived lack of emphasis on it) proved to be a major sticking point.
Hey, I'm not saying Amato and Davis didn't care about this game - far from it. But the old saying "throw out the records when these teams meet" seems to apply to this series, and the team that appears more focused on the rivalry has won a lot over the last decade - even when those teams were decided underdogs.
From day one, Larry Fedora made the N.C. State game a priority - often quoting the number of days in a Red Bull-infused countdown. The result? A passionate, wild, shootout-of-a game that literally came down to the last play.
I think that's what O'Brien was talking about: Both sides of the rivalry making this game a priority.
And we, as spectators, are the beneficiaries.
Most Recent Comments
RE: A rivalry restored?
I have been to State and UNC games numerous times over the years. Only a few lately. I still have the opportunity to get tickets from donors/clubs from both schools. Heck. I've even sold a few that I didn't attend. I've never seen any food fights. If this is the case it was probably a small group of friends; I hope.I got the game day pics emailed to me (I subscribe to the N&O), and what stood out to me was the number of tailgates that had both State and Carolina fans partying in the same group. I've never seen that before, and I found it refreshing to see. The tailgating pics were taken before the game, but I have no reason to believe the pre-game partiers would be having food fights after the game. If we can't go to each others venues without feeling comfortable, well, that's just sad.- Posted by jgunn
RE: A rivalry restored?What was Highsmith doing playing??? He is confirmed as copying the work of an 11 yo!!
Game Day AtmosphereI got the game day pics emailed to me (I subscribe to the N&O), and what stood out to me was the number of tailgates that had both State and Carolina fans partying in the same group. I've never seen that before, and I found it refreshing to see. The tailgating pics were taken before the game, but I have no reason to believe the pre-game partiers would be having food fights after the game. If we can't go to each others venues without feeling comfortable, well, that's just sad.
RE: A rivalry restored?
- Posted by rduguyhereI'm just a fan, but the State game has always been the college version of the Super Bowl to me, whether Carolina heads to a bowl or not.- Posted by jgunn
I will never understand why some Carolina teams didn't seem to get "up" for the State/Carolina games. A coach shouldn't have to inspire players to want to beat a rival, it should come from the players themselves. And State is a rival, in both football and basketball. So is Duke. I don't care what the records say; the proximity and history validate rivals more than W/L records.
I thought Fedora's "decorating" the Carolina locker room with State merchandise was genius.
I wouldn't say UNC "didn't get up" for some previous matchups. If you go back and look at the games, 4 of the last 6 matchups came down to "last plays of the game" plays to decide the outcome. I think both teams have and will continue to want to win this game. UNC has had some bad luck of late but finally turned the corner this year against the Aggies.
If the Wolpfies win the next 32 matchups in the series, then they will even it up. That would probably take 200 years. lol UNC won a game they normally always win and have reversed the recent trend.
Very true about the close games - 4 of the 6 did come down to the final play. The guys did seem more pumped up this year, probably due to things like wanting the win for the seniors who had never beaten State, for the new coaching staff, and because they were sick of hearing 5-0. Whatever the reason, I'll take it all day, every day! I also think Fedora did try to emphasize this game by doing things like surprising them with the new helmets and putting the State merchandise in the locker room. I think it's great.
RE: A rivalry restored?
- Posted by rduguyhereI think the fear of unwanted contact with assorted bodily fluids while in Carter Finley keeps many Tar Heels away from those games.- Posted by SilentSam
But maybe that's just me.
And also the verbal and physical intimidation by the Pack fans at Carter Stadium and parking lot/field. I have been to one UNC NCSU game back in the 90s and will never go again. It just isn't worth their nonsense from the fan base in the parking lot and stands.
the last time I was at ple Hill, I got called names while walking towards the stadium. Some of the names invovled profanity. So, lets not pretend that the EweNC fan base is holier than thou. WE all know that isn't true. Look at the mess your Athletic Department is in with the NCAA. You guys will never learn. You speak the holier than thou but underneath it all you are as crooked and as bad a fanbase as any other school.