Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Saturday, November 11th, Noon
Records: UNC 1-8, 0-5 ACC. Georgia Tech 7-2, 5-1 ACC
Yeah, I had some complete departure from reality and said UNC would win this game in my preview of the UNC football season. Of course there are four other games I picked wrong at this point so what's one more.
However, if UNC wins this game it will be referred to as the "Butch Davis" game because UNC has all but hired the former Miami and Cleveland Browns coach but refuses to say so out of respect for John Bunting's request that homecoming be about "the team." Apparently Davis has concurred as not to make a bad first impression with the players. It is part of that Carolina Way and although all pretense of dignity was stripped away when they fired Bunting. (Well in all honesty all pretense of dignity was stripped away in losing to Clemson but who is really counting) The bottom line here is hiring a new coach and having they hire become public knowledge was an inevitable consequence of handling Bunting's dismissal this way. I am not sure what decade UNC thought they were living in, perhaps the 1980's but in this one you cannot hire someone secretly and think it will be be made known on your timetable. The internet has made that impossible but that has not stopped UNC from engaging in the dog and pony show nonetheless.
Anyway, as for the game, the emotions will be high and not just for homecoming. This is, in terms of public perception, John Bunting's last game as head coach at UNC. Yes, he will be calling the shots for NC State and Duke but when UNC announces that Davis has been officially hired the fans stop looking at Bunting as the head coach. This is his last stand, the last game he coaches without the shadow of his successor hanging over him. Sure there will be a message board thread here or there about respecting and thanking Bunting and the media will toss him a story or two as the end nears against Duke. However, in every tangible way we look at the UNC football team, Bunting becomes infinitely smaller when UNC makes Davis hire official.
GT has a great defense and a great offensive player in Calvin Johnson. Unless Reggie Ball implodes with four INTs, it will be tough for UNC to get over the hump.
Georgia Tech 28 UNC 17