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Tag:North Carolina
Posted on: October 22, 2010 4:15 pm
 

Fornelli's Insane Predictions: Week 8

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Every season, every month, every week, there are several outcomes and achievements that, frankly, nobody operating within reason would ever predict. Who could have predicted Nebraska would beat Florida for the 1995 title by 38 points, or that Boise State would pull off three late trick plays to knock off Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, or that  South Carolina would fail to score a point in the second half against Kentucky a week after knocking off the Tide? Nobody... until now. We're going to try capture that lightning in a bottle by making similarly absurd predictions every week . Are they at all likely to come true? No. Do we even believe the words we're writing? No. But if we make even one correct call on these, we will never stop gloating. Ever.

Highly Unlikely

The Tennessee Volunteers shock the world when they pull off an upset of the Alabama Crimson Tide in Knoxville on Saturday night.  In his first start, Tyler Bray has far from an outstanding day, throwing for only 78 yards and a touchdown, but the Alabama offense can't stop tripping over its own feet.  Greg McElroy fumbles three times, and throws four interceptions.  To make matters worse, McElroy, Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Julio Jones all have to leave the game with devastating knee injuries.  After the game a shocked Nick Saban points out that "they just don't make ligaments like they used to."

Severly Unlikely

It's halftime in Miami, and the North Carolina Tar Heels look to be en route to a huge win against the Hurricanes.  They have a 24-0 lead thanks to four first half interceptions by Jacory Harris, and spirits in the locker room are high.  Then a phone rings.  Butch Davis answers it to be told that the NCAA has just suspended everybody on his team, and that he'll have to forfeit the game.  Instead Davis recruits the North Carolina band to fill in for his team, and amazingly, they hold on to win the game 27-23.  Three weeks later the loss is vacated when it's discovered that the tuba player accepted money from the New York Philharmonic.

Completely Ludicrous

Following Iowa 's narrow 27-24 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday, the two teams meet on the field to shake hands.  Bret Bielema goes out of his way to find Ricky Stanzi and congratulate him on his three-touchdown game.  Upon finding Stanzi, the quarterback tells Bielema, "Thanks.  That's how real Americans play the game."  This infuriates Bielema, who views his brand of pounding large young men into the trenches until they drop dead to be the real American football.  The two begin fighting, and have to be separated.  Though after the dustup, still feeling patriotic, Stanzi pulls the American flag out from under his jersey -- next to his heart, of course -- and puts it on a sharpened flag pole he keeps in his sock.  He then hurls the flag forty yards through the air like a javelin where it goes through Bielema's chest and plants into the ground.  Stanzi is carried off the field to chants of "USA!  USA!  USA!"
Posted on: October 20, 2010 5:47 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2010 5:49 pm
 

The hits keep coming for UNC

Posted by Tom Fornelli

You're a good man, Charles Brown, but you won't be playing football for North Carolina this year.  That's according to a release from the school on Wednesday saying that Brown, who hasn't played at all this season after starting 13 games last year, will miss the remainder of the season thanks to that NCAA investigation.

Brown's teammate and fellow cornerback, senior Kendric Burney, won't be out for the rest of the season, but he won't be back in time for Saturday's game against Miami either.  Burney, like Brown and seemingly 500 other North Carolina players, has been held out due to an NCAA suspension thanks to the ongoing investigation.  He was originally expected back from suspension this week, but according to the school, an ongoing review of his status is yet to be resolved.

I tell you, basketball season can't get here soon enough for folks in Chapel Hill.

Posted on: October 18, 2010 6:41 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2010 6:59 pm
 

Midseason Report: ACC

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Midseason Report separates the contenders from the pretenders in each conference race.  The Seminoles and Hokies are leading the way in the ACC for now, but the conference race is wide open should one of them drop a game.  Quite frankly, with the way the ACC has been this year, we're counting on that happening at least once.

ATLANTIC DIVISION

Florida State (4-0)(6-1) - The Seminoles are back in their familiar place atop the ACC, but their inconsistent gives reason for concern in Tallahassee. While their 45-17 rout of the Hurricanes in Coral Gables showed off a stellar defense and smash-mouth running game, they followed that by squeaking out a 24-19 win at home against Boston College.  Florida State, particularly quarterback Christian Ponder, could not seem to take care of the ball against the Eagles.  Ponder's three interceptions nearly equaled his total for the season coming into the game, and for the first time this year there were murmurs from FSU fans about benching the preseason ACC POY candidate.  Regardless, the Seminoles are undefeated in conference play, and they really have one big hurdle left on the schedule.  A win against N.C. State on Thursday night in Raleigh could give the kind of separation in the division to lock up the division barring a complete meltdown.  Of course, we can never rule that out.

North Carolina State (2-1)(5-2) - Two losses in the last three games have calmed some of the buzz around the Wolfpack, but they are still just as much in the ACC title hunt as they have been all season.  Russell Wilson has looked far more human than usual, throwing eight interceptions in those three games, but that will likely change when the Seminoles visit on Thursday night next week.  Wilson has a history of stepping up in big games, and none will be bigger than Florida State.  Not only would a win close the gap, but it would give the Wolfpack the advantage in the event of a tiebreaker.  Additionally, it would only leave trips to Clemson and North Carolina as their greatest challenges.  While those are both far from guaranteed, they are winnable games for this year's squad.
 
Maryland (1-1)(4-2)/Clemson (1-2)(3-3) - For the most part, the ACC Atlantic is a two-headed race for now.  But should either/both of the teams slip, the Terrapins and Tigers will be hoping for a chance to contend.  Clemson faces an issue of already picking up their second conference loss with N.C. State and Florida State still left on the schedule.  Their best chance to make it interesting is for the Seminoles to lose in Raleigh, and for the Tigers to run the table in the conference.  The problem with the Terrapins is that they are not a very good football team.  "Fluke" does not accurately describe a scenario that puts them in the conference championship game.  "Anomaly" is more appropriate.  

COASTAL DIVISION

Virginia Tech (3-0)(5-2) - The nation may have forgotten about the Hokies after Week 2, but head coach Frank Beamer clearly did not.  Since the upset loss to James Madison, the Hokies have gone 5-0 and are averaging a 21.4 point margin of victory in those games.  Sophomore David Wilson has exploded in Ryan Williams' absence, and Tyrod Taylor has been given the keys to the offense with at least 240 yards of total offense in the last four games.  Their road to Charlotte is not obstacle free, but no one in the Coastal has an easy ride from here.  The Hokies still have trips to North Carolina and Miami, but get the Yellow Jackets at home on a Thursday night.  With "Enter Sandman" blaring and Lane Stadium on their feet for the primetime showdown, I have a hard time seeing the Jackets pulling the upset.

Georgia Tech (3-1)(5-2) - Georgia Tech has not looked as dominant as the conference champions from a year ago, but they find themselves in a familiar spot at the season's midpoint.  Georgia Tech has not been winning pretty, but they are finding a way.  That may not last for long with their conference schedule getting significantly more difficult in the coming weeks.  Road games at Clemson and the aforementioned showdown with Virginia Tech stand in the way between Georgia Tech and a return to the ACC Championship game.  If they do happen to pull the upset in Blacksburg, there will still be a home date with Miami that could decide the division.  Georgia Tech has the tools and opportunity to defend their division, but it will all come down to execution on the field.
     
Miami (2-1)(4-1) - Similar to Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes may be considered a "bust" in the national scene, but still are very much in contention to win the ACC Championship.  Unfortunately for Miami fans, the team has not looked the same since their 30-21 victory at Clemson.  After getting embarrassed at home by Florida State, Miami needed 7 forced turnovers from their defense to beat Duke 28-13.  However, there is not a better chance to get back on track than with a pivotal division victory, and they will get that chance on Saturday against North Carolina.  A win over the Tar Heels at home could put them back on track to challenge Virginia Tech for the division crown.  The Hurricanes and Hokies have a showdown in Coral Gables on November 20 that should carry huge conference championship implications, so go ahead and circle your calendar.  

North Carolina (2-1)(4-2) - After a depleted roster started the season 0-2, the Tar Heels have rattled off four straight wins and become relevant in the ACC again.  They suffered a huge loss in the victory against Clemson, losing Zach Pianalto for the season with a broken leg.  Pianalto was the Tar Heels' leading receiver and favorite target of quarterback T.J. Yates.  Yates has put up phenomenal numbers so far, averaging 249 yards per game and throwing for 11 touchdowns and only 1 interception.  If the rest of the North Carolina receivers can step up in Pianalto's absence, the Tar Heels have a chance at making a run.  It won't be easy, but it is still a chance.  North Carolina still has road games against Miami and Florida State, and have to host Virginia Tech and N.C. State at home.  Butch Davis is 0-3 against the Wolfpack, and there is a good chance that the late season showdown between in-state rivals will carry serious weight for both teams.
Posted on: October 17, 2010 6:05 pm
 

Randall Cobb calls out Kentucky fans on Twitter

Posted by Tom Fornelli

So far a number of schools have decided to keep players off of Twitter.  Places like Boise State, Miami and North Carolina have all banned the social media site, and if you were wondering which school might be next, I have a pretty good idea.

Randall Cobb
played a pretty big role in Kentucky 's win over South Carolina on Saturday night, and while he no doubt enjoyed every minute of the Wildcats' victory, he also noticed what was going on in the stands in Lexington.  He then took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon to air out his frustrations with Kentucky fans.

Cobb sent out one long message to Kentucky football fans in three tweets.  I'll just get one large (SIC) out of the way now.

"To all the fans: Loved seein Yall come late, love hearin Yall tell us we suck during the game, love that we have to play against our own fans too!  Love that we can't pack the house against the #10 team in the nation.  It means that much more to me.  I love my team!  Brotherhood they got my back n I got they back.  The rest of Yall can get ready for bball season!"

To which Kentucky fans probably replied, "We have a football team?

The three seperate tweets have since been removed, though there are screenshots of each over at College Football Talk .  Oh, and Kentucky basketball season starts on November 1 against Pikeville.  It's only an exhibition game, but I'll bet Rupp Arena is packed.
Posted on: October 16, 2010 11:14 pm
 

What I learned from the ACC (Oct. 16)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1.) Florida State is sitting in the driver's seat of the Atlantic Division - With Florida State holding off Boston College to hang on for a 24-19 win, the Seminoles increased their conference record to a league best 4-0.  The field continues to look more even by the week, and the Seminoles' four conference victories gives them a significant leg up on the other teams in the Atlantic Division.  The Seminoles' now get a week off to prepare for one of their biggest challenges in the division: a Thursday night showdown with N.C. State in Raleigh.  A win over the Wolfpack would put Florida State in prime position to make a run at their second appearance in the ACC Championship Game.

2.) Russell Wilson does have flaws, and they can be costly - Russell Wilson has been the lifeblood of the N.C. State offense for the last three seasons, and there is no reason to blame the Wolfpack's recent losses, but Wilson's last couple outings games have been oddly interception-heavy.  Wilson has thrown eight picks in the last three games, two of which have been N.C. State losses.  Wilson is one of the reasons that Tom O'Brien has been able to build the Wolfpack into ACC contenders, but his performance in the last couple weeks has not lived up to hype surrounding Wilson during most likely his last season with the Pack.
 
3.) North Carolina is quietly charging back into the contenders conversation - With all the troubles off the field, it has been difficult for North Carolina fans to focus on a bounce back that has made the Tar Heels relevant again in the ACC.  With double-digit players being held out, North Carolina dropped their first two games to LSU and Georgia Tech by six points apiece.  Since then, the Tar Heels have rattled off four straight wins to move into a tie for 3rd place in the ACC Coastal.  T.J. Yates has been playing some of his best football since his freshman year, throwing for eight touchdowns, 1,170 yards, and only throwing one interception so far in the 2010 season.  They still have the most challenging part of their season left, but considering all the absences the Tar Heels have made impressive strides to re-enter the national conversation.   

4.) Someone has to go to the Orange Bowl, but who? - Most teams are only a couple games into conference play, but with seven teams boasting one loss or less the race for the conference title is still wide open.  Florida State and Virginia Tech are clearly the leaders of each division, but one slip either division could be up for grabs.  As mentioned above, Florida State - N.C. State game on October 28 will go a long way to setting up the Atlantic Division.  Virginia Tech still has Georgia Tech at home, and away games against Miami and North Carolina keeping them from locking up the Coastal Division.  With more than half of the conference still in contention, every conference game left on the slate will carry weight in the chase for the 2010 ACC Championship.

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Posted on: October 10, 2010 1:07 am
Edited on: October 10, 2010 2:09 am
 

What I learned from the ACC (Oct. 9)

Posted by Chip Patterson

1. Florida State Is In The ACC Driver's Seat - Everyone seemed to bail on the Seminoles after getting run by the Sooners, but Florida State is actually sitting pretty well after steamrolling the Hurricanes 45-17 in Miami.  The FSU committee-style running game continues to succeed, with the Seminoles racking up 298 yards rushing against Miami.  Jermaine Thomas rushed 16 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns while sophomore Chris Thompson added 14 carries for 158 yards and a touchdown.  The Seminoles may not be the air-attack that was projected before the season, but they are still dangerous.
 
2. No Reason To Panic In Raleigh - Emotions run high the N.C. State fan base, and as great as things looked before the Virginia Tech game, the Hokies did their best to pop the Wolfpack's balloon with their 41-30 come from behind victory.  But no need for worry, the Wolfpack are right back on track with their 44-17 rout of Boston College on Saturday.  Russell Wilson was grooving, completing 38 of 51 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns.  No worries, one home loss does not mean N.C. State is still not a dangerous threat in the ACC.

3. The Tar Heels' Unlikely Hero -  North Carolina running back Johnny White's journey has taken him all over the field for the Tar Heels in his career.  White has lined up at running back, wide receiver, defensive back, and on the coverage team in his tenure at Chapel Hill.  In the midst of NCAA investigation-related suspensions, White has emerged as one of the cornerstones of the North Carolina team at starting running back.  White continued his run in the 21-16 victory against Clemson with 89 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving with two touchdowns.  White was not expected to contribute like he has, but the senior has stepped up in tumultuous times for the Heels.   

4. Virginia Tech's BCS Hopes Are Not Dead - Another team that got written off early, the Virginia Tech Hokies are still alive after falling out of the polls early in the season.  With a 2-0 conference record, the Hokies are still at the top of the ACC, competing for a spot in the Orange Bowl.  After last week's comeback win against N.C. State and the 45-21 deconstruction of Central Michigan, VT has the confidence back to step up and reclaim their spot among the nations elite.  No Ryan Williams has been no problem for Beamer's crew, with Darren Evans and David Wilson rising to the occasion in his absence.  

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Posted on: October 9, 2010 1:57 pm
Edited on: October 9, 2010 2:07 pm
 

Source: UNC FB held out due to NCAA investigation

Posted By Chip Patterson

North Carolina fans will be glad to see starting safety Deunta Williams back on the field for the Tar Heels on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill.  Williams has completed the four game suspension issued by the NCAA as punishment for improper contact with persons classified as an agent.  But just as the Tar Heels get a player back from NCAA restrictions, they lose another.

Sources are reporting that junior fullback Devon Ramsay will be held out of Saturday's game against Clemson for his involvement in the academic prong of the ongoing NCAA investigation.  Although Ramsay has yet to log a rushing attempt in the 2010 season, he serves as the starting fullback in the Tar Heels' pro-style offense.  Ramsay, along with the offensive line, helped pave the way for 263 team rushing yards in the Tar Heels 42-17 win over East Carolina.  

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Posted on: October 9, 2010 11:08 am
 

Rumors of Butch Davis' demise aren't true

Posted by Tom Fornelli

A rumor broke out on some North Carolina message boards that the North Carolina systems Board of Governors (the one that governs all of the UNC campuses, not just Chapel Hill's) had instructed North Carolina chancellor Holden Thorp to fire head coach Butch Davis.   A rumor that, considering everything that's been going on with the North Carolina program, isn't hard to believe.

But don't, because according to the board's chairwoman Hannah Gage, it's not true.

"None of that happened. None, none, none," Gage told the Raleigh News & Observer . "I can assure that none of that happened. That hasn't been part of any discussion we've had."

Which makes sense seeing as the UNC system Board of Governors doesn't really involve itself with the athletics programs of the UNC schools, leaving those decisions to the individual schools.

Of course, considering everything that has taken place in Chapel Hill since Butch Davis took over the program, I can assure you that this won't be the last rumor you hear about him being canned.  Eventually, one of them will be true.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com