banner
North Carolina

Can Fedora keep Carolina fans focused on football?

Posted October 17, 2013

UNC head coach Larry Fedora greets fans during the Victory Walk before play between the University of North Carolina Tar Heels and the East Carolina Pirates on Septempber 28, 2013 in Chapel Hill, NC.

University of North Carolina fans have always had options. Tobacco Road basketball, Tar Heel baseball trips to Omaha, and Anson Dorrance’s 21 national titles in women’s soccer are basically a cliché at this point (the men’s program isn’t too bad either, both have been ranked No. 1 this season). UNC women’s teams competed in three national title games just last year.

Carolina’s athletic success as a whole isn’t why Kenan Stadium has always had attendance problems, but it certainly doesn’t help in a town where there’s been a long record of systemic apathy; the main problems for which might not even be fixable. The small town was designed and built for the 18th century – “Zero Dark Thursday” could just as easily be labeled “Zero No Parking.”

With that said, it’s no surprise the program heads and town officials have been trying to build enthusiasm for UNC’s 2013 Thursday night game with ticket deals and downtown activities. Administrators are worried about putting butts in the stands, and with ESPN’s coast-to-coast primetime cameras on those stands, this makes sense.

It might be a few weeks shortsighted though. Regardless of Thursday’s attendance, if UNC doesn’t play well they’ll be looking at an entire half season with only one win - over Middle Tennessee State - rendering the rest of the campaign essentially lost in the minds of most ticket-buyers. Customers, Fedora and the program are desperately trying to court for long term support.

If the Canes score anywhere near their 45 points-per-game average against UNC’s porous defense, administrators shouldn’t be worried about fans showing up by halftime, they should be worried about fans leaving at halftime … in a steady stream towards the Dean Dome and never coming back (this season at least).

The worries about attendance are real – and absolutely matter – but it sends the wrong message. If 60,000 people show up Thursday and the Tar Heels at least put on a good show for the national audience, mission accomplished.

This isn’t the case. The Tar Heels have to beat Miami to keep any semblance of interest this season from a fan’s perspective.

It might feel bizarre to label any game for a 1-4 squad as a ‘must-win’, but at the same time, what else could it be for a team staring 1-5 in the face? Especially with a fan base that has other sports to pay attention to.

Those in Carolina’s corner would probably hesitate to put that kind of emphasis on the game (mostly because No. 10 Miami looks really, really good), but there is hope. For whatever reason Las Vegas is giving UNC +9.5, which implies they have a fighting chance. There is no way that point-spread is based on any of UNC’s stats (don’t look them up unless you’re into movies like Insidious 2), and since Vegas knows everything, there must be something else at play.

Maybe the odds makers are aware of UNC and Miami’s history, which doesn’t even have to include Butch Davis to be interesting:

Depending on who you ask, Carolina has beat Miami in five of their nine meetings since the Hurricanes joined the ACC. The most famous of these wins, of course, was the first one in 2004 when Miami was ranked No. 3 in the country - still, UNC’s only win versus a top-5 team.

The loss symbolized the recent decline of Miami football as it was the their first loss after the program’s last double-digit win season… which of course came on the heels of their loss in the 2002 national title game on account of a horrendous pass interference penalty in overtime… which of course came on the heels of their last national title in 2001… which of course was The U’s first title since their heyday dominance in the 1980s… which of course was the last decade UNC won a football title in the ACC, a conference which was founded in Greensboro… which of course is the hometown of backup Miami QB Garrison Lassiter… who of course is a 23-year-old freshman who’s spent the last five years playing pro baseball, which makes him just old enough to have a younger brother by the name of Landon Lassiter… who of course plays baseball at Carolina… which of course was last team at UNC to win an ACC title (mostly because it was the last ACC title given out just a few months ago).

Vegas is obviously banking on some part for that connection to come through for UNC. At the very least, the bookies must remember how UNC fared the last time they took on Miami after their starting QB had recently suffered a foot injury (does Cam Sexton have any eligibility left?).

UNC’s issues with attendance have made a lot of headlines and articles this week. But if Fedora can’t pull this off, it won’t make much sense continuing to blame fans. The coach and his football team have to remember that Carolina fans have options, and they’ve always been open to using them.

7 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • NCSU84 Oct 21, 2013

    View quoted thread



    This "reported"

  • Yankee AirPirate Oct 17, 2013

    no basketball is king om the campus.
    putting a respectable product out there will help, but that's a minimum 2 years away.

  • jamestownbball Oct 17, 2013

    View quoted thread



    ISHERIGHT Folks?

  • odell Oct 17, 2013

    No.

  • houndog Oct 17, 2013

    Wait, do you mean actual attendance or reported attendance?

    Reported attendance has never been a problem at UNC football games.

  • Maxxx Oct 17, 2013

    Considering the fact that at every single UNC football game I have every attended, there has always been that one guy wearing his vintage light blue bball jersey with the words "Jordan" on the back, I'm sure their fans can stay focused on football...

  • BlueDevils00 Oct 17, 2013

    "Can Fedora keep Carolina fans focused on football?" <--- insinuates UNC fan's ever were focused on football.

    Nice article, though.

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 1
BOS 2
Final
DUKE 66
GONZ 52
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
BOS
 
Final
PHI 4
DET 4
Final
WAS 11
MIA 7
Final
BAL 5
MIN 6
Final
STL 2
NYM 3
Final
HOU 0
NYY 7
Final
ATL 2
PIT 4
Final
BOS 3
TAM 2
Final
TOR 2
BAL 4
Final
ANA 6
CIN 8
Final
KAN 0
CHC 7
Final
CLE 1
CWS 4
Final
SFG 11
LOS 9
Final
OAK 7
MIL 0
Final
SDP 8
SEA 5
Final
LOS 10
TEX 5
Final
COL 2
ARI 1
Final
ARI 10
COL 11
1:05pm Today
DET
ATL
 
1:05pm Today
TAM
BAL
 
1:05pm Today
PIT
PHI
 
1:05pm Today
STL
WAS
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
MIA
 
4:05pm Today
CWS
CLE
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
COL
 
4:05pm Today
TEX
KAN
 
4:05pm Today
SEA
ANA
 
4:05pm Today
CIN
SDP
 
4:05pm Today
CHC
SFG
 
4:10pm Today
ARI
LOS
 
6:05pm Tonight
HOU
TOR
 
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
MIN
 
Final
WAS 91
HOU 99
Final
BRK 107
LAL 99
Final
NOP 110
MIN 88
Final
CLE 87
PHI 86
Final
MIA 109
DET 102
Final
BOS 106
LAC 119
Final
IND 104
DAL 99
Final
SAN 103
MEM 89
Final
PHO 97
OKC 109
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
BOS
 
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
LAL
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
HOU
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
MIL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
SAC
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
 
10:00pm Tonight
POR
PHO
 
Final
LOU 70
MSU 76
Final
DUKE 66
GONZ 52
8:00pm Tonight
LOYC
LAMON
 
Final
NYR 2
WAS 5
Final
CAR 1
BOS 2
Final
NAS 2
CAL 5
Final
NYI 5
DET 4
Final
OTT 2
FLA 4
Final
NJD 1
ANA 2
Final
WIN 3
CHI 4
Final
PIT 3
SJS 2
7:30pm Tonight
MON
TAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
STL
VAN
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
CAL
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
LOS
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
EDM
 
10:00pm Tonight
ARI
BUF