Andrew Carter: Shared misery reemerges as a common theme among North Carolina college football teams University ^ North Carolina

If one should be reminded that time is a flat circle when it comes to college football in North Carolina — that most FBS programs in that state go round and round, repeating cycles of disappointment year after year — then it’s Saturday given one . It was really disappointing. It was also the kind of day that would have inspired any college football supporter here to say:

“We’ve seen this show before.”


Let’s recap the Saturday that was for the four North Carolina ACC schools. Wake Forest struggled to beat Syracuse in what turned out to be the best result of the day among the Big Four. It wasn’t pretty, but, hey, kudos to the Demon Deacons for ending a three-game losing streak. As they exited the Wagon of Misery, their upstate ACC brothers climbed aboard.

Duke lost. NC State lost and looked bad doing it. And worst of all, North Carolina inexplicably lost to Georgia Tech, which, as you may recall, started the season so poorly that it lost its head coach via an early-season layoff. On the surface, the Tar Heels’ defeat makes no sense. After all, they had so much in their favor on Saturday.

Drake Maye had become a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy, and probably the best shot for anyone in North Carolina to win that award since Charlie Justice in the late 1940s. UNC had an outside chance to play their way into the college football playoffs. The Tar Heels were in the midst of their best season since 2015 and one of the best in decades.

So on one hand, it’s confusing that UNC is losing to a not-so-great Georgia Tech team. And yet, on the other hand, it’s not all that confusing. This is college football in North Carolina, after all. We’ve had days like Saturday, full of defeats and disappointments, many, many times. This special Saturday actually revived the memory of another 20 years before.

The most veteran (meaning old) of the area’s college football fans may remember it. A Triangle team was in the middle of one of its best seasons of all time in 2002. His fans began dreaming impossible dreams. It had a generational talent at quarterback. And here came Georgia Tech from Atlanta to try and spoil the party.

Sound familiar?

NC State, 9-0 at this point in 2002, expected to beat those Yellow Jackets — just like the Tar Heels, who went 9-1 on Saturday, expected to beat those Yellow Jackets. And yet you know what happened. Even the scores were similar, with State losing 24-17 in 2002 and UNC losing 21-17 on Saturday.

same opponent. Same kind of disappointment. Same disappointment.

Of course, UNC has a chance to change the narrative, and in a big way, when it plays in the ACC Championship Game in a couple of weeks. The Tar Heels have not won a conference title since 1980. But do you really want to get your hopes up after Saturday?


As North Carolina schools stumbled over themselves on Saturday, their neighbors south of the border put on two stunning performances. As it turns out, Clemson’s demise was a bit of an exaggeration, wasn’t it? Another 10-win season for the Tigers, who underlined a perfect 8-0 mark in the ACC with a 40-10 win over Miami.

South Carolina, on the other hand, continues its gradual rise under Shane Beamer. The Gamecocks’ 63-38 win over then-No. 5 Tennessee provided something of a warning that Beamer was building something in Columbia. That’s not the biggest development for North Carolina and the state of NC.


“Fire Dave Doeren!” or “I hope Dave goes!”

Yes, variations on this attitude are “out there,” as they say, and are beginning to spread. Here’s the thing, though: For one, Doeren isn’t in the hot seat at NC State. Not even close. And second, as disappointing as this season has been for a team that started with ACC championship ambitions, State still tends to match or exceed its historical norm. And third, be careful what you wish for, NC State fans. Watch basketball after Herb Sendek leaves.

* an attitude in which we sarcastically poke fun at a real, actual attitude. Not meant seriously.


1. These weren’t the best of times for Wake Forest, who had lost three straight games after finishing in the top 10. Trailing 21-10 at home to Syracuse on Saturday, it looked a bit like the Demon Deacons were content to win the season over there. Then they scored 35 points in a row. It was a fitting home final for Sam Hartman who, after throwing four touchdown passes on Saturday, is now three away from tying the ACC record.

2. UNC football fans have taken a good deal of the heat over the years because they haven’t been the most enthusiastic or dedicated bunch. However, they did their part to fill Kenan Stadium and create the appearance of a big-game environment on Saturday. If only Mack Brown and Company had rewarded the effort with better performance.

3. It’s been a brutal week in college football, and the ACC in particular, following the Virginia tragedy and the deaths of three players who were killed by a gunman. If there is one consolation from such a horrific event, it is the way teams across the ACC and the nation have banded together to support Virginia. In these divisive times, sport remains a powerful unifier.


1. Well, the Drake Maye Heisman campaign was fun while it lasted. As Brown has said, the Heisman is a team award, and UNC failed as a team on Saturday. Maye eventually showed he was human but still gave his team a shot at victory in the final moments with a well-thrown pass that Josh Downs dropped in the end zone. For once, it was the offense that UNC didn’t get through.

2. NC State at least continues to play hard, and that’s to be commended. Despite mounting injuries and losing the top two quarterbacks, offensive execution and play-calling leave a lot to be desired. The Wolf Pack faded in the fourth quarter after a 25-10 loss in Louisville, and at this point it’s fair to wonder how much State is left in the tank.

3. Admittedly a grumpy old man, but why does every game on the ACC network sound like it’s being streamed from a library? Granted, the home environment for some of these games isn’t great anyway, but the noise of the crowd – however quiet it may be at times – always seems to get lost on ACC Network broadcasts. Are they bad microphones? Low-end cameras? Curious people want to know.


1. Clemson (back to #1!); 2. South Carolina (the new Beamer Ball: score 63 points and beat a top 5 opponent); 3. Coastal Carolina (yes, this places emphasis on placing all South Carolina teams in the top three); 4. North Carolina; 5. NC state; 6. Guard Forest; 7th Duke; 8. Appalachian State; 9. control unit; 10.Charlotte.


– I think Maye still deserves to be in New York City as a Heisman finalist, although his next two appearances will have a lot to say about it.

– Again, I think some of the greatest joys for fans of North Carolina teams continue to be seeing their rivals fail. Last week, UNC fans laughed heartily as NC State lost to Boston College. Meanwhile, UNC’s loss to Georgia Tech is one of the highlights of the season for State fans. This is college football in North Carolina.

– I think the Clemson-South Carolina game has more fascination than it has had in a long, long time. Clemson has won seven straight games and all but the 2015 game were blowouts. Last year the Tigers won 30-0. Who knows if the Gamecocks win later this week, but there’s a strong chance it’s at least a lot more competitive than those games.

— I think if I were a bettor I would stay far, far away from the State UNC game. It seems the Tar Heels should win with relative ease, and it seems like the Wolf Pack don’t get to score all that often, even against a questionable defense. Funny things often happen when these two get together, however, and Friday feels an ever-present weirdness. hug it

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