Monthly Archives: October 2011

Carolina’s Greatest Players of the ACC Era: 90-81

If you missed the first installment, it’s right here (including a description of the methodology):

Jumping right back into it:

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Optipessimism Week 7: UNC – Miami

I wrote this column spur-of-the-moment after the game yesterday, and left in this first sentence for your perusal before rewriting the rest from scratch because it was simply too depressing:

“Where last week there was anger and resentment, this week there is only grim disappointment.”

At least, that’s how I felt. Feel, really. I wrote last week that UNC might have been the worst 5-1 team in Division I (I still refuse to use that idiotic FBS moniker, it reminds me of an amateur bowling league), and now I am sorry to report that my fears have been borne out. But first, some actual good news!

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The Triangle Prophets, Week 7

Every Friday, a group of fearless webmasters and sports fanatics from around the Triangle will gather to predict five college football games against the spread. Every Duke, Carolina, and N.C. State game will be featured, along with a smattering of high profile non-Triangle games. As the season goes along, we’ll keep the standings updated and see who emerges as the one true prophet. Make your predictions in the comment section. Each week, we’ll feature any and all commenters who pick all 5 games correctly.

Current Standings

1. Me – 16.5 points

2. William Earnhardt, Site Designer – 15.5 points
Nate Friedman, UNC football correspondent15.5 points
Tar Heel Fan Blog – 15.5 points
2. John Watson, The Devil’s Den – 15.5 points

6. The Devil Wolf, TRB – 14.5 points

7.Jim Young, Editor, – 13.5 points

8.James Henderson, Publisher, Pack Pride – 12.5 points

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UNC v. Louisville: A Great First Half

Each week, contributor and new parent Joey will post his thoughts as he undergoes the transformation from fanboy to father.

I have to say, this past week’s game in Kenan that pitted Carolina against Louisville was one of the best, most enjoyable halves of football I’ve experienced in a while.

(I’ll wait as even the fringe football fan scratches his/her head in confusion)

I mean what I just said. Saturday, October the 8th was not only my favorite football game experience this year, it may be my favorite ever.

Right now, undoubtedly you’re recalling that there were no points scored in the first half of that game. Both offenses were atrocious. It was about as eventful as a Friday night in your local monastery. I’m pretty sure that of the hundreds of people who actually attended the game, I saw a minimum of 2 who were asleep in their seats. Regardless, the game was an absolute blast.

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Tonight: Duke vs. UNC, Women’s Soccer

More Erwin Cup points are on the line tonight as Duke and UNC meet up at Fetzer field. I am incredibly excited for this match for a number of reasons. First, I’ve been working on a feature story about the two teams over the last month or so. I’ve gotten to know the coaches and a few of the players as they moved toward night’s rivalry game. Everyone’s been very nice, but it’s clear how much this means to both sides.

At stake for Duke

The Blue Devils are ranked 4th in the country, and are off to the best start in program history. Robbie Church, the head coach, has been trying to build a team like this since he took over in 2001. He’s been to the Elite 8 twice, but this is a team who could contend for a championship. They’re led by Tara Campbell, a standout junior goalkeeper, and Kelly Cobb, the freshman goal scorer whose status may be questionable tonight after she turned an ankle in practice Monday. All-time, Duke’s record against Carolina is 2-33-1. None of the current players have a victory against their rival. This would plant a flag in the ground and show the country that Duke soccer is a legitimate threat. A loss, on the other hand, would keep Duke in its place, in the shadow of the Tar Heels. It’s impossible to underestimate the importance of this game for the team, the program, and their hopes of an ACC and national championship.

At stake for UNC

Anson Dorrance, the legendary coach, is a master motivator. He has his girls believing that Duke has written them off, that nobody expects them to win, and that the reputation of Carolina soccer is on the line. Far from being a complacent top dog, the Tar Heels are arguably more angry and intense for this match than any other match of the season. Carolina experienced a short struggle earlier this season, but they’ve now won three matches in a row. Strikers Kealia Ohai and Courtney Jones are benefiting from a new system (4-2-3-1) Dorrance learned from the French national team, and their goal production has been revived during the winning streak. Carolina’s defense is vulnerable, but they believe they can score enough goals to keep Duke at bay. And as much as the Blue Devils want this victory for their program, Dorrance and the Tar Heels want to defend the Carolina name.

For both teams, this is the biggest game of the regular season, and possibly the biggest regular season game in years. It happens tonight, at 7pm, at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill. I couldn’t be more excited.

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Victory or Defeat? – The Rivalry Question of the Week

In my younger days I was much more emotional about Duke basketball victories and defeats. As I’ve grown and matured I realized that whether Duke wins or loses doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.  Regardless of how many times Duke University basketball players put the orange ball through the orange hoop the world continues on just as usual.  I watch sports for the entertainment they offer.

I enjoy watching athletes running fast, jumping high and using skills I could never dream of to put the orange ball through the orange hoop.  I am impressed by these sorts of people.  Furthermore I cannot say that I can distance myself 100% emotionally from games.  There are times when I’m caught up in a fervor and I find myself sweating through a nail biting victory or defeat.  As Duke crumbled against Arizona this year melancholic feelings flooded my entire being.  When Brian Zoubek intentionally missed the free throw against Butler and Gordon Hayward barely missed the buzzer beater I went through an emotional roller coaster.  These memories remind me of my youth when I was extremely affected by Duke’s victories and defeats.

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Is That a Hologram on Your Shirt or Are You Just Sweating Profusely?

If you hadn’t heard it was coming, or missed the announcement yesterday, UNC unveiled a new look for its men’s basketball uniforms. There were mixed reactions around the internet. Here are a few samples from various message boards:

  • “I usually stay out of the uniform threads because it’s a matter of taste and some new unis actually look good. This does not.”
  • “The hologram reminds me of the jerseys over there in jersey”
  • The 1976 Chicago White Sox are laughing at those uniforms.
  • “Did we keep our receipt?”
  • “Was this Holden Thorp’s idea?”
UNC's new Nike Aerographic jerseys

UNC's new Nike Aerographic jerseys

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Carolina’s 100 Greatest Players of the ACC Era: 100-91

Late Night with Roy, the official tip-off to the 2011-12 basketball season, is right around the corner. So, in addition to myriad cheesy skits, that signals the arrival of some Carolina basketball content here at Tobacco Road Blues. While I’ll roll out some season preview stuff soon, let’s get started with a more historical look at the UNC program. I’ve been kicking around the idea/framework of a Top 100 list for a couple years for inclusion in my perpetually-in-progress Carolina Basketball Encyclopedia. Recently, shadzillao5 (sweet screen name, no?) brought up the idea on the Inside Carolina message boards, leading me to consult my old notes on the topic. Before revealing picks 91 through 100, I’ll introduce some ranking methodologies and guidelines that were used in creating this list. There are no right or wrong answers in creating a list like this (OK, maybe the inclusion of Larry Drew or Adam Boone is a wrong answer), but the following rules will help provide a little clarity and transparency regarding the rankings.

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What is a “Sport”?

Yesterday Nate wrote of UNC football’s positives and negatives, but also claimed that bowling, cheerleading, golf and NASCAR were not sports.  This sparked a brief and lighthearted debate by Nate, William and myself on whether NASCAR and/or Mario Kart 64 could be classified as sports.  William posted a link to Wikipedia’s passage on sports terminology.  There are two sections I’ll visit:

The term “sport” is sometimes extended to encompass all competitive activities, regardless of the level of physical activity. Both games of skill and motor sport exhibit many of the characteristics of physical sports, such as skill, sportsmanship, and at the highest levels, even professional sponsorship associated with physical sports. Air sports, billiards, bridge, chess, motorcycle racing, and powerboating are all recognized as sports by the International Olympic Committee with their world governing bodies represented in the Association of the IOC Recognised International Sports Federations.

This definition is bullshit.  I’m more inclined to agree with this next passage from Wikipedia:

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Optipessimism Week 6: UNC vs. Louisville

Here’s how bad this game was: With the score tied at 0-0 and Louisville lining up to try a field goal with nine seconds left in the first half, UNC coach Everett Withers called for a timeout. To ice the kicker.

I will repeat that. UNC thought the game was so bad it had a serious chance of ending 3-0, so they iced the kicker at the end of the first half. The best part? The guy missed.

<shaking head sadly> Ugh. I generally am gung-ho for the little guy, standing up to the big corporation, but I felt genuinely sorry for ESPN today. They were forced to televise a football game that probably could have been out-watched by PBA Bowling, which ESPN sometimes shows when they are up against a monster event they don’t get to televise like NFL football on Sundays. Nothing against bowling, of course, except that along with cheerleading, golf and NASCAR it’s not a sport.


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