Whenever you lose to a rival, the pain of that loss is enormous. Even if Duke is more of a rival in basketball than football, the loss still stings, especially to a team that you have owned the last 21 out of 22 meetings (except for 2003). However, behind a rare sellout crowd at Wallace Wade Stadium, the Blue Devils were clearly the better team by out-playing, out-coaching and bringing more emotion to this game.
Can you blame them?
They were playing for the first opportunity to go to a bowl game in more than a decade and to send out their seniors with their only opportunity to ring the Victory Bell, spray paint it Royal Blue on the field and take it into their locker room, like we have been so accustomed to doing for so many years.
I’m not sure if many of the players on the Carolina team even realized that the bell was up for grabs Saturday night, and the empty feeling they would feel if they were to lose that traditional piece of our football program, which so many letterman have fought to protect (or in my case, win back).
As Coach Fedora stated after the game, there will not be a 24-hour rule (i.e. spending one day celebrating a win or one day mourning a loss) with this one, he wants this loss to sting a little bit and sit in the pit of their stomachs – much like it is sitting in mine while I write this article!
I can relate to this current group of Carolina players, because I was a player on that 2003 team that lost the Victory Bell. The embarrassment, criticism, shame and knowing that we let so many people down was a bitter pill to swallow. There is a big difference between this 2012 Duke program and the 2003 program, and as a Carolina fan, this has me on edge a little bit.
At this moment, Duke, yes Duke, is #1 in the Coastal Division, and they control their own destiny to get to Charlotte and play for the ACC Championship. I have been dreading this day for a long time. Unfortunately, as we saw Saturday night, the day has come when Duke is starting to crawl out of the cellar where they have been for so long in the ACC, and they are becoming a relevant team that will not be a gimme “W” on our schedule like we, and so many other teams, considered them for so long.
Despite the loss, the game this upcoming weekend is the game of all games on our schedule. As the son of a UNC Football letterman, Andy Chacos (1971-1974 Head Coach Bill Dooley), and growing up in the Northeast (you don’t have to live in North Carolina to hate NC State), I was raised at an early age to dislike (not hate…too strong of a word, my Mom says) one team –no, sorry, two teams: NC State and anyone who played the New York Jets.
Sorry Mom, you should probably stop reading here.
I hate NC State, plain and simple. It started with a strong dislike at a young age, and it only magnified once I put on a Carolina helmet and had the opportunity to play over at Carter Finley Stadium. The fun thing about this rivalry is that the hatred swings both ways.
In addition to being our primary football rival (sorry Duke, despite Saturday we still consider you our basketball rival), this fan base has single-handedly tried to destroy the University of North Carolina as a whole and spent countless hours stalking and investigating our football program and players.
I hope that this Saturday our young men remember the last five years of pain and suffering we endured losing to NC State, and they make a statement with their greatest effort and cleanest performance in the Tar Pit where they have been perfect this year.
I will be bringing my A-game from the stands!!!!
5 Days and counting…
(N.C. State head football coach Tom O’Brien, left,
shakes hands with UNC head coach Larry Fedora
after July’s 10th annual Bill Dooley Triangle/East
Chapter Pigskin Preview in Cary.
(Ethan Hyman – firstname.lastname@example.org)
Smart. Fast. Physical BEAT STATE!!!