Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's only two years old, but in each season, an aspiring ACC squad with lofty national expectations comes into this game and gets crushed by (to this point) Alabama. It happened to Clemson in 2008 and VaTech in 2009. UNC was a great re-cast of the prior ACC roles - and the good people of Chick-fil-a even did the league a favor, by substituting the somewhat tarnished LSU Tigers for the Alabama juggernaut. One month ago, all indications were that this game would make be a more evenly-matched contest than its predecessors.
But then a funny thing happened. One of the most highly regarded athletic programs in the country's football team -- coached by a man who was recruited to clean up the mess that was the late-80s/early-90's Miami Hurricanes -- is staring down the barrel of a prickly NCAA-led rectal probe. Marvin Austin, arguably the Heels' best defensive player, is suspended indefinitely. We still don't know how many other starters will be withheld, but the number 16 has been prevalent.
Aside from the enormous distraction, UNC (especially its defense matching up against LSU's impotent 2009 offense) appeared to have a legitimate shot - if not the upper hand - in this early contest. But if the Heels lose anywhere near that number of starters, especially on defense, I don't think there's any way they can stay on the same field with LSU. The Tigers are on a 29 consecutive game tear through regular season non-conference competition. Though most of those games were played against the likes of La Tech, North Texas, App State and others, there were some noteworthy non-conference wins in recent years. Virginia Tech, Washington and Arizona State come to mind. The Heels might not be the same team that LSU has been preparing for, but they will be the first of two live ammo non-conference matchups in 2010.
Nothing is guaranteed with it comes to season openers (or Les Miles for that matter), but wait for West Virginia to come to Baton Rouge in a few weeks if you want to measure this team against a quality non-conference opponent.


  1. The SEC is so awesome, sharks have a week devoted to it.

  2. If the SEC punched you in the face, you'd actually thank it...

    I was looking forward to watching UNC give LSU a run for their money, but after this scandal I think LSU is going to absolutely route UNC.