Yes, UNC meets Rutgers this evening, but by the time that game tips off I'l be somewhere over the Atlantic. Hopefully in a plane. I'm already looking ahead on the schedule anyway, to a little game on the 22nd when the Heels meet UCSB.
You see, UC Santa Barbara is my other alma mater, where I spent six yerars earning the right to snobbily correct everyone that it's Doctor Carolina March, thank you very much. I've got to be the world's leading expert on Chapel Hill-Santa Barbara competition. This is what my entire blogging career has led up to.
And again, I'm going to be on the other side of the globe, cutoff from any internet access, and completely unable to see the game.
But that doesn't mean I can't provide the in-depth analysis you're completely unused to reading here. Not about the game - UNC is faster, taller, stronger and infinitely more accomplished than the Gauchos. Although to their credit, UCSB could at least beat Harvard, which is more than a certain Big 10 team can say.
Barring a return of Ben Howland to sideline, this game shouldn't be close.
But what about off the basketball court? Who would win a random contest of miscellaneous questions asked by me?
Who has the...
...better weather? Nothing can beat a crisp fall day in Chapel Hill. Except a place where the number of rainfalls per year can be counted on one hand, the thermoter never drops below 55 and my jacket never left the closet. Advantage UCSB
...better undergrads? I'm not particularly unbiased here. As an undergrad my days were filled with stimulating intellctual discussion and a broadening of horizons. As a grad student, the undergrads are a plague of locusts serving no useful purpose. I think it's safe to say, though, that the chancellor in Chapel Hill never had to send out a campuswide e-mail imploring students to not do porn. Advantage UNC
...hotter women? California girls may be the best in the world, but the vast majority seemed to prportefer to sport muffin tops and Ugg boots. Give me Connor Beach over the Pacific Ocean any day. Advantage UNC
...hotter men? Well, I was a damn sight more attractive in California than I was in Chapel Hill. Advantage UCSB
...better UNC apparel? It's a closer question than you might think - I saw a lot of interlocking NC's on the west coast, even if I quickly learned the wearer's had no connection to or knowledge of the Heels. But you can't beat Chape Hill for the selection, or the price. Advantage UNC
...better drinking? I love the Carolina Brewery, and can enjoy Top of the Hill, but give me a good California pale ale any day of the week. Throw in the thirty minute drive to wine tasting country - our record stands at seventeen wineries in two days - and corner stores that sell liquor handles and Santa Barbara is the place livers go to die. Chapel Hill hasn't been the same since Big Bertha passed on to refrigerator heaven anyhow. Advantage UCSB
...better music? I saw all of two medium-sized indie acts come through Santa Barbara in my six years - TV on the Radio and Ted Leo. And Ted Leo I had to see in a church rec room masquerading as alcohol-free venue. You don't realize how special the Cat's Cradle is until you're three time zones away, driving two hours to L.A.. Advantage UNC
...better parking? Expensive in both places. Dotted with incongruent parking garages in both places. Overzealous, unforgiving parking officials in both places. But in California, there was a nearby park where, well, as I sent a friend after she asked if I could see the beach:
Illegal parking rules. Advantage UCSB.
...better beaches? I know what I said about Connor Beach, but look at that picture again. Advantage UCSB
...better Tar Heels? I never actually experienced tar on my heels until the beaches of Santa Barbara. The metaphorical type cheering on UNC athletics is so much better. Advantage UNC.
...fewer signs of the apocalypse? My time at UNC coincided with two hurricanes and a blizzard. My time at UCSB was marked by flooding, earthquakes (only one of which I felt) and the hills catching on fire. That averages to about the same number per year, but California also elected to the state's highest office the star of Jingle All the Way. Advantage UNC
And yes, that means my doctoral diploma has the signature of the guy who played Mr. Freeze. I'm very proud.
So six to five, a slight win for UNC but UCSB can still challenge a couple of calls. Better decide the whole thing on the basketball court just to be safe. Go Heels.