I spent the Memorial Day holiday in Charleston, WV, which does not appear to be a hotbed of North Carolina fans. (There was one car with both a Carolina and a WVU sticker in the back window I'd pass on my morning runs, but staking out the house it was parked in front of seemed like a waste of a weekend, so I demurred.) I did come across an article in the morning paper, though:
IN THE interest of full disclosure, I must confess to a rooting interest this fall in college football.
I am rooting for South Florida. I am rooting for Rutgers.
I am rooting for the Bulls and Scarlet Knights to win six games. Exactly six games. No more, no less.
So why am I wanting these folks to go 6-6? Well, under the NCAA's definition of a "deserving winning team," (hey, it's in the Division I Manual, you can look 'er up) teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (ugh) must win six games out of 12 to qualify for a bowl.
But you can only count one game against an FCS team. And if you're "stuck" with playing two FCS teams, it doesn't matter. You count only one.
Therefore, USF and Rutgers could very well go 6-6 and not qualify for, say, the PapaJohns.com Bowl in beautiful Birmingham. Worse, as far as the coaching staffs are concerned, the teams wouldn't get those precious extra practices.
As the article mentions, UNC, Duke and N.C. State all share USF's and Rutgers' predilection for poor scheduling. It's a quick fall from the early Bunting years, when the team went out and scheduled the toughest opponents they could find, with no regard to the consequences. Which, to be fair, were often bad. Although, occasionally good things would happen; Bunting went out and picked up a season kickoff game against Oklahoma for his first game in 2001 (UNC lost) and then was crushed by Texas, only to rebound and knock off Florida State. The high level of competition helped.
So how did UNC end up in such illustrious company of cupcake double-bookers? By canceling a home-and-home with Colorado, something Davis did upon arrival in Chapel Hill because he doesn't like traveling to the West Coast. Davis's Miami team twice played west of the Rockies, and both games ended poorly, as the Hurricanes lost 31-8 to UCLA in his first game as head coach, and 34-29 at Washington in their only loss in the 2001 champion season.
UC-Boulder was able to replace the game, ironically, with West Virginia; UNC could do no better than Georgia Southern. I don't find the location to be a valid excuse; the game would have been in Boulder last season, when the Buffaloes went 5-7 (and lost to WVU). Now, in a season where UNC has the chance to excel, two of the home games are against teams literally not in the same league as the Heels. At best they'll be poor entertainment, at worst an embarrassment. I won't be rooting for Carolina to go 6-6, but I can definitely understand the instinct to do so.
UNC has one FCS team on the schedule for the two seasons after this one. They can do better in that regard as well.