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The unbearable likeness of being a UNC football season ticket holder

In about 36 hours, I’ll be on my way to yet another football game at the University of North Carolina, my alma mater. The 1-4 “mighty” Tar Heels will take on the 4-2 Whosits from the University of South Florida. I say “whosits” because I’m not entirely sure what their mascot is, but given their record, I’m sure I’ll learn it pretty quickly. After all, when the opponent scores, the PA guy will say, “Touchdown, Whosits.”

So, I’m looking forward to this, the fourth home game of the season, with a mixture of fear, trepidation, nausea and just a hint of apprehension. You see any positive words there? Such is the state of UNC football as we enter the sixth season of the John Bunting era.

But, I’m not here to wax philosophic on the coaching capabilities (or lack thereof) of Coach Bunting and his staff. I think we can all say that something is not working, and whether the man keeps his job or not rests entirely with Dickie Baddour, the athletic director. And who knows what the lil’ general will do with his third questionable big-time hire in six years (Carl Torbush and Bunting in football, Matt Doherty in basketball).

So, instead of ripping Bunting a new one — or questioning loudly why a former NFL standout at linebacker can’t assemble a defense capable of stopping an average Division I-AA team — I’m here to provide a service. Just a suggestion of things to do when the season turns ugly like Aunt Esther.

For me, it’s always fun to track memorable statements throughout the year. You know – document that feeling of inadequacy and frustration. So, I present my current top 10 list of things I’ve personally said (or thought) — as well as some things I’ve overheard at games — about UNC football this year.

Let’s dig in.

10. “I’m just happy we didn’t make ESPN.com’s list of the ‘Bottom 10′ teams in college football.”

I thought that to myself a couple of nights ago when I saw the list. We’re on the precipice, though (the vaunted “Waiting List”). That ain’t good.

9. “Wins and losses are overrated. Just look at our graduation rates!”

I said this pretty loudly when watching the game the 52-7 beatdown at Clemson. I was so punchy at the time, I’m not sure if I meant it or not.

8. “At least we’re not Dook.”

This is an old standby. I think I’ve said this about two dozen times, even though Dook has looked better than UNC in a couple of their games (Wake Forest and Alabama).

7. “Pride be damned. Next game, I’m putting $100 on [insert opponent name here] and the points.”

I said this to Nipsey the other day when we were discussing any good things about this team. Yeah, after this one – we basically had a long moment of silence on the phone.

6. “The great thing about this year is that I can tailgate, watch the first half, and have no regrets about leaving at halftime.”

This was an actual statement to my wife after returning home before the fourth quarter of the VaTech game had started. My four-year-old wanted to leave early… and I wasn’t arguing with him.

5. “But we’re only a field goal from covering the spread.”

This was an actual statement to a friend who was calling from the Orange Bowl during UNC’s loss to Miami last week. And I wasn’t being sarcastic or snarky. It actually tumbled out of my mouth before I could think about it.

4. “God, I hope we don’t have any recruits at this bloodbath.”

The season ticket holder behind me has been a real treat this year. He broke out this nugget during the VaTech game. Kudos, sir.

3. “When does basketball season start?”

This is a phrase that we always listened for when I worked in UNC Sports Information. Inevitably, there would be that one game each fall when the team would just lay a gigantic egg, and we knew that the high hopes of the season were destroyed. Remember, this was the mid-90s during the Mack Brown v1.0 (pre-2005) edition. We’d get all amped up to play FSU or somebody – and get a 33-7 drubbing. Good times… good times.

2. “I’d yell at the refs, but you can tell they don’t even want to be here.”

Overheard by the same season ticket holder during that VaTech game. Well played.

1. “In the name of all that is good and holy, when do we play Dook?”

I said this one on the way back from the Clemson game.

Oh well, at least we’ll have nice weather this weekend for the game (low 60s, sunny – perfect football weather). And you never know, maybe we’ll give the Whosits a good game. The spread is only 2 1/2 points. Maybe we can cover. If not, basketball practice starts tomorrow evening. Thank God.

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Categories: Sports
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  1. November 2, 2006 at 11:41 pm

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