Much thanks to Tar Heel Fan for answering several of my questions. Likewise, I have answered several questions, and the answers will likely be posted there some time in the near future.
edit (9/9): here they are.
Q: Let's take this oppportunity to clear up any lingering stereotypes about UNC football. Rutgers fans are obviously familiar with Tar Heel basketball, and they probably know that the football team has been up and down since Mack Brown departed for Texas. What else does Heel football have to offer?
A: UNC football has always had stretches of playing very good football mixed in with the kind of seasons that make you long for basketball by mid-September. The years of Torbush and Bunting were the latter. Butch Davis is a different animal altogether and has brought a sense that the general culture around UNC can be changed to accomodate a passionate following of Tar Heel football. Granted basketball will always be king but there is a discernible shift to support football on the promise of potential versus waiting for the wins before jumping on the bandwagon.
Q: A lot has happened in the two years since Rutgers visited Kenan Stadium and Chapel Hill. My blog's logo actually comes from a memorable play near the end of that game. It's remarkable to recall to how back and forth that game was, and how it really set the tone for both teams in 2006. UNC definitely could have won that game, and maybe its season would have went in a very different direction. Rutgers built on its momentum to have a big season, and our fans still to this day make fun of Jesse Holley over a perceived slight in a 2006 newspaper article. Ultimately, was it better to have John Bunting fail when the UNC football program had an opportunity to hire Greg Schiano's former boss, er, Butch Davis?
A: I am never one to want to my team lose to faciliate a change in the program but I came fairly close in 2006. Bunting just was not a very good coach and was hired because Dick Baddour was certifiablely insane when it came to basketball and football hires. Baddour was great running the rest of the department and has since been cured of his rampant stupidity in this regard. Obviously UNC is better off now and 2006 was a classic example of breaking a few eggs to make an omlet.
Q: What are your impressions of Butch Davis as compared to John Bunting, and what kind of progress is the UNC football program making?
A; Night and day. Heck, even the coachspeak BS comments Davis spouts in his press conferences are works of genius compared to some of the ramblings we got from Bunting. More specifically, you got the impression with Davis that he knew how to set up and run a college program. Bunting had zero experience and it showed in how he coached in games as well as the handling of the personnel. In fact the most impressive part of the Davis takeover was he came in and basically blew up the depth chart in an effort to find out what players could do and put them were they might make a difference instead of the shoehorn approach Bunting used to ram the wrong player into the wrong position.
Q: Rutgers fans have likely heard of Hakeem Nicks, and possibly Marvin Austin given his friendly rivalry with Anthony Davis. They might have heard of T.J. Yates, Greg Little, Cam Thomas, or Brandon Tate after his big performance last week. Who are the Tar Heels to know, and why?
A: Obviously Brandon Tate will be public enemy #1 for any team playing UNC. Hakeem Nicks is an incredible talent that can pop off at any moment to make a huge play. The jury this season is still out on TJ Yates and Greg Little on whether they can live up to the expectations set for them through the summer.
As for other names, EJ Wilson is a solid performer at defensive end. Wilson racked up 44 tackles and 5 sacks last season. He opened this season with eight tackles, three of them for a loss while being named ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Week.
Senior recevier Brooks Foster is a player that folks might want to keep an eye on. With so much attention on Nicks and Tate, Foster is capable of making big plays too and might if opposing defenses go to sleep on him.
Q: There has been a lot of back and forth on the internet during the past few years over the relative merits of the ACC and Big East in football. Does that blustering really matter; isn't it time that the fans move past it and find something else to argue about? Well, maybe we can still hate Boston College...
A: The problem is neither the ACC or the Big East can respectively compare themselves to any other conference so they antogonize each other. Geography and the whole nasty way the ACC expansion when down fuels that as well. Anyway, we also hate BC with the heat of a thousand suns but are sort of stuck with them since they have been the only team to perform well in both football and basketball since joining the ACC.
Q: Rutgers fans really hate Duke basketball (as is the duty of every patriotic American), so clue us in on what hating Duke means to the average UNC fan. Does NC State elicit the same level of emotion? How many UNC fans really refer to Duke as the "Southern Campus of the State University of New Jersey?" College students are New Jersey's number one export!
A: Words and proper decorum are insufficient to describe the UNC fan's hatred of Duke. In fact I am not entirely sure it can really be quantified by any method known to science. The hatred of NCSU runs in more shallow waters, partially because their connection to relevance is mostly non-existent. It runs fairly hot in football however because the teams have been more even though UNC has still held an edge since Mack Brown got things moving in the early 1990s. And yes, Duke is often associated as being a part of the State University of New Jersey system. In fact we are not even sure Duke accepts students from any other state.
Thanks again to Tar Heel Fan, and good luck to the Tar Heels in the remainder of their season. Please don't beat our basketball team (they're improving, we swear) too badly when you visit the RAC in a few months.