Art Chansky

Art’s Angle: Winning By A Switzer

SAN JOSE DEL CABO, MEXICO – Hola! For years, Woody Durham used to say “See it on the radio,” and that’s what I had to do Saturday in a country where football means something completely different than what we know. Thanks to the ACC Network (which together with Raycom must rent space on the smallest satellite in the solar system), the best sports bar in this tourist town could find every event up there on ABC, CBS, ESPN and Fox, but not the Carolina-Pitt game. So through the magic of WCHL, I “saw it on the radio” by calling...

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Art’s Angle: Staying Relevant

For Carolina, call it a weekend of staying relevant. The football Tar Heels spanked a bad Virginia team to win their third straight and keep their drive alive for a winning season and bowl bid. Their continued improvement is no less than remarkable, as they played perhaps their most complete game of a season that once looked disastrous. On an emotional Homecoming weekend, sophomore Marquise Williams wore the jersey number (2) of his injured mentor Bryn Renner and became the first quarterback in UNC history to run, pass and receive touchdowns in a single game. He ran for one, threw for two and caught one on the third reverse pass touchdown Larry Fedora’s offense has scored this season. At 4-5 after a 1-5 start, Carolina now faces a season-defining trip to Pitt (5-4), which made the challenge more daunting by upsetting No. 23 Notre Dame Saturday at Heinz Field. The Tar Heels will have to shut down veteran Panthers’ quarterback Tom Savage and find a way to solve a stout Pitt defense in order to reach .500 and play for bowl eligibility in their last two games. Looming on November 30 is an unlikely showdown with Duke, which moved to 7-2 by beating beleaguered N.C. State with a second half surge. Carolina cannot win the Coastal Division, but could keep the Blue Devils out of the ACC Championship game...

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Art’s Angle: With Your Own Eyes

Hold up your right hand and close your index finger and thumb to within an inch of each other. That’s how far Carolina is from becoming a very good football team after the Tar Heels’ 27-19 win at N.C. State Saturday. Though still marred by a few mistakes and too many penalties, the Heels showed so many good signs in winning their second straight game and third of the season – and notching their first victory in Raleigh since 2005 — that it is becoming far easier to envision what Larry Fedora’s finished product will look like. Carolina spotted State 10 points with an interception and botched reverse deep in its own territory, giving a capacity crowd at sun-baked Carter Finley Stadium reason to believe the Wolfpack could actually win the game. Not so fast, Wolfies, who were to settle for only three more field goals. Behind an array of offensive weapons and a defense that’s coming on strong, the Tar Heels rallied to take a lead they lost only momentarily and might have extended by two or three touchdowns if they had completed a couple of late drives. Their first two touchdowns showed their resiliency and that Fedora’s second-year roster is far superior to Dave Doeren’s rookie State team. Sophomore Marquise Williams, the heir apparent on the offense, drove them 75 yards while completing all four of his...

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Art’s Angle: Gonna Be All Right

See, I told you things would be looking up after the weekend. Late Night with Roy was at its cheesiest best and, when the “entertainment” finally ended, revealed more basketball talent than most of us expected. More on that later. And the football team beat bi-polar Boston College, which had barely handled three pretty average teams (Villanova, Wake Forest, Army) and played three powerhouse programs close. The Tar Heels can say they put as good a 34-10 whuppin’ on the Eagles as did Clemson (by 10), Florida State (by 14) and Southern Cal (by 28). Hopefully, the win will...

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Art’s Angle: Far From Over

Tar Heel fans, make your bowl plans. After a disappointing first half of the season, Carolina may be the best 1-5 college football team in America. It was a discombobulated start for a young team trying to find its way – four nationally ranked opponents, three idle Saturdays and enough self-imposed mistakes to beat themselves at least three times. NFL teams put much stock in the second half of their seasons after their first eight games. Those in position to make a playoff push consider the slate clean and their record 0-0. That’s what Larry Fedora will undoubtedly do...

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Chansky: Billion-Dollar Game

Listen to Art’s Sports Notebook here. UNC Professors Jay Smith and Lew Margolis – now part of what they call the Athletic Reform Group – are at it again. And, once again, they show that they just don’t get the big picture. UNC has made its choice to play major college athletics, and no one denies that it’s become a billion-dollar game these days. The money Carolina earns from TV rights, ticket sales, sponsorship deals, donations, etc., funds a 28-sport intercollegiate athletic department, some of which is dictated by Federal Title IX guidelines. So there really is no choice. To play at that level, a school cannot put itself at a competitive disadvantage and risk its athletic department going bankrupt. Yet from the Athletic Reform Group of faculty members, we hear such blather like “UNC should unilaterally declare it is not going to admit any academic exceptions” or “UNC should unilaterally declare that it will institute freshmen ineligibility” for the sake of adjusting to college life. Smith and Margolis co-penned a column in the Daily Tar Heel this week that talks about the rigors of playing college football and the academic pressure on all students, let alone those who are not prepared to do college work when they arrive. That is true, which is why UNC has an academic support program that is necessary and should no longer be...

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Art’s Angle: Is ‘Next Year’ Here?

A for Effort. D for Discipline. After an excruciating week of embarrassment following the 55-31 blowout loss to East Carolina, the Tar Heels were determined to play harder and smarter against Virginia Tech Saturday in Blacksburg. Harder, yes; smarter, no, in the 27-17 loss. Carolina matched the Hokies’ blow for blow right through the final blow struck by junior tight end Jack Tabb, who was ejected for throwing a punch in a late-game scuffle. Tabb, returning from a two game suspension for violating a team rule, is in jeopardy of missing Miami’s visit on October 17 for his loss...

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Chansky: Upset Formula?

There is an old coaching adage that says a good team is most dangerous after it has hit rock bottom. Is there any doubt that the Tar Heels are there after the 55-31 shelling by ECU last Saturday? None whatsoever. Is there any doubt Carolina is a “good team”? Plenty. So therein lays the key to Saturday’s 12:30 visit to Virginia Tech, which has rebounded from a shaky start to become a good team but remains eminently beatable, even at home. After two very difficult weeks of game-planning against the triple-option of Georgia Tech and the high speed, spread-you-out...

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Art’s Angle: Bad D, Bad Day

No excuses. Just the facts. Do not say the Tar Heels came out flat and with a hangover from the Georgia Tech game. If that’s the case on a beautiful Parents’ Weekend in front of the season’s first sellout crowd, we have the wrong players or the wrong coaches. We have the right coaches who are trying to overcome the fact that they don’t have enough of the right players. After losing a half-dozen who are now on NFL rosters, Larry Fedora and his staff are paying the price for inheriting two subpar recruiting classes in the wake of...

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Chansky: Three-Game Season

Coaches like to say “play ‘em one at a time.” But, truth is, if the Tar Heels don’t beat East Carolina Saturday, their season is going down the tubes. At least the kind of season we had all hoped for. At 1-2, Carolina has lost where it was expected to lose. Sure, without a fumbled punt in Columbia and a couple of bonehead moves from the field to the replay booth in Atlanta, the Tar Heels might be 3-0. And we’d already be drinking the BCS Kool-Aid. But in most years, you are not winning at South Carolina and (for 17 years) at Georgia Tech. And, so far, this Carolina team is not even close to Larry Fedora’s first group on both sides of the ball. Not that it all can’t be corrected in time. Fortunately, the same schedule that has killed ticket sales at Kenan Stadium this fall can also help the home team over the long haul. The Heels should be good for 7 wins – ECU, BC, UVa, Pitt, ODU and DOOK beyond the MTSU victory already in. Despite scholarship limitations and the need for “more better” players as my Southern friends like to say, Fedora still has enough talent on hand to, at worst, finish 7-5 and get into some Podunk bowl on the ACC alignment list. But the important results should be in before...

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