If you check out any of the UNC Football web boards, log on to your twitter account or go on Facebook (or anything else of the like) you know that the gridiron season is about to start for the Tar Heels. Expectation and/or predictions are all over the place, from some thinking it’s going to be a season like the last four out of five, where Carolina had eight wins, to others predicting the possibility of double digit victories. Forecasts of a UNC squad coming in third in their division have been just as many as the ones saying they could win it all again in the Coastal.
While the coaching staff and players have to live, or best said should be living, on a the “one game at a time” philosophy, the fun of being in the main stream media (or even a blogger) is that we do not have that restriction placed on us. We can take the schedule and draw W or L next to all the games and turn a small piece of paper into looking like a Christmas tree with all the color markings we can put on it. We can spin each game’s positive and negative to fit us as much as we want or do not want until it’s good enough for us to get the wanted result. We can be as even keel or as homer as we need to be in order to get to the amount of wins we would love to see in a season. We can dream, and most of all, we can play the word game that no one that is part of the team can do… we can say “what if”.
And when it comes to the UNC Football squad, the first game is the one that I have with the most “what if’s” right now, probably cause it’s the next game on the schedule, but also because of the opponent.
What if North Carolina was to win this one… how many things would truly change when it comes to the team expectaions, for the media covering the squad, for the college football so called national experts, for the fan base?
A win against a Top 10 team that plays in the top conference of college football, on a night when they would be the “only game in town” on national television, would propel the Tar Heels into a spot light that probably no one would have seen coming for quite sometimes. But would it also have shot them too high, too quick?
On the other hand…
What if North Carolina was to play a much worst game than all expected in this one, not showing up and not doing anything close to what was expected of them?
Would now the doom and gloom mentality come out from all the fair weathered fans? Would the same old story about “it’s the SEC and no one else” be ringing through all the sports shows, be it television or radio or even the bloggersphere. Would the ACC media now start up with “without Gio this UNC offense is not as good” or “The rest of the ACC has had a chance to dissect the Fedora schemes and they won’t work”.
So, taking off the naysayer tags and the carolina blue shades, what would be the perfect “what if” for North Carolina when they play their border rivals in Columbia in less than a week?
In order to do that we must first let go of the final result. And that leaves me with this… “What if” UNC can stick with a Top 10 team from the SEC, playing well in the Fedora system and holding its own on D.
That to me, win or lose, would be the ideal “what if” for the Heels when it comes to the Gamecocks this Thursday night. As I have told many before this post, and will continue to tell many more after it, this game for Carolina is a lot bigger than the sixty minutes that it will be played on. It is the beginning of the push to get on to the next level. A win would be great, that is a no brainer to say, but even a good fought game, where the squad can leave the field with their heads held high will show the college football landscape that there might just be a new team to think about.