UNC's Spring Football Game and the New Thing the Internet Is Arguing About

I've never paid much attention to the spring football game. It may be a big deal in the SEC, but they have always traditionally been starved for entertainment come March. It's over four months removed from anybody taking the field in a competitive setting; you really don't learn anything about next year's players beyond the fact that they are indeed ambulatory, and perhaps capable of throwing, catching, tackling and blocking. 

Needless to say, I didn't devote much thought to this year's game either, instead heading out on a long run for my marathon training. Brief checks of twitter and postgame stories indicated that Bryn Renner threw pretty well; nothing to get excited about, since it's April, but no reason to panic. And there was even an encouraging sign in this report on the offensive and defensive lines. The offensive front in particular has been injury-prone and often a weakness under Butch Davis's tenure. If it's strong this upcoming season, it bodes well.

And that's really all the thought I was going to give the spring game. If the pictures were particularly impressive, I was going to post them, but otherwise, I had nothing to add. And then Tom O'Brien came out and said this at a meet-and-greet with his booster club:

"We can count at our school," O'Brien said. "We are obviously the mathematicians, the scientists. We don't have to estimate or guesstimate. We'll give you the exact figure of who shows up."

If you read political writings on the internet, you may have noticed that of you wander over to a blog of an opposite affiliation to what you read you find and entirely different language being spoken. People are incredibly worked up about outrages you've never heard of, using phrases that seem incoherent but prompt near-unanimous agreement among the people there. It's disconcerting, and I had the same feeing when I saw that quote. State fans have a problem with UNC attendance?

Yes they do. And they have for sometime. A long time. As near as I can tell, it springs from the fact that UNC reports estimated attendance, presumably because student attendance is through flashing a One Card. Personally, I'd prefer an actual count, but even those have a pretty significant margin of error, depending on how schools choose to report them. I'm fascinated that this can eat away at State fans for years – it's amazing what a Google search on Steve Kirschner and attendance can bring up on Wolfpack web pages – and this is the first I've heard of it. 

State's own Spring Football game is this upcoming weekend. I'm sure they'll have perfectly fine attendance, and it won't be analyzed nearly as much as UNC's was. And perhaps one of the mathematicians or scientists over in Raleigh will even take a moment to introduce O'Brien to Enrico Fermi; it can be a learning experience for all involved.

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