Wednesday, October 13, 2010

History or not, UNC needs this game in Charlottesville

So what were you doing in 1981? Butch Davis was an assistant coach at Oklahoma State, Mike London was playing defensive back for the University of Richmond, and Dick Crum was leading UNC to a 17-14 victory over Virginia in Scott Stadium.

That win didn’t seem remarkable at the time. In fact, it made Carolina 12-3 in Charlottesville since the ACC began in 1953. But now, Dick Crum is … well, wherever he is … and Carolina has had as much luck in Charlottesville as a Hokie fan hoping to hook up on the Corner.

With the Cavaliers breaking in new coach Mike London, you’d think this might be the Tar Heels’ chance to win for the first time since ‘81. Carolina is now 3-2 and is finally gaining some resolution on its roster, while Virginia is 2-3 with wins over Richmond and VMI.

This is a huge game for Carolina, with history as a weight. The Cavaliers stuck UNC with a bitter loss two years ago, winning 16-13 in Scott Stadium on a day Heels fans thought the streak might finally end. That was Davis’ only trip to the Bermuda Triangle of Carolina football. Davis said Wednesday he is not putting any emphasis on the historic nature of Saturday’s game.

“What transpired 10 years ago shouldn’t have any relevance on what will happen this Saturday,” he said.
Well, maybe it shouldn’t – but it does. Programs on the ascent find ways to smash those negative marks as they build wins and confidence. A look ahead for UNC shows only three games where it would be favored – this one, William and Mary and Duke. The others  - at Miami, at Florida State, Virginia Tech and N.C. State – won’t be easy.

History or not, this is a game North Carolina needs.

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