I get the impression I'm supposed to be more shocked at UNC's victory over Miami than I actually am. Other folks are, but I can only remember being truly suprised by a UNC football win four times:
- The 31-9 upset of Southern Cal that kicked off the 1993 season. True, it wasn't among the finest Trojan teams, being coach John Robinson's first game, but the Heels hadn't beat a big name school in who knows how long. This was the signifier that Carolina's previous bowl season was not a fluke, and they'd go on to begin one of their best stretches of football through the '90s.
- The 45-0 stomping of Clemson to kick off the 1996 season. UNC had needed a last second win over N.C. State the previous year just to qualify for a bowl, and now they we're blowing out the Tigers in a downright embarassing fashion. Carolina would go on to lose only to FSU and then Virginia in a game that pretty much cost them an Orange Bowl bid. No one was expecting that level of dominance in the season opener.
- The long-awited first win against Florida State. Up to that point only Virginia and N.C. State had managed to beat the Seminoles in conference play, and UNC entered the game 0-3, having been trounced by Oklahoma, Maryland, and Texas. To make matters worse, FSU had beaten the Heels 63-14 the previous year. And UNC destroyed this team. I had been in Santa Barbara for two weeks, and this was my first experience following a game from the ESPN Bottom Line. And the score just kept going up, and up, and up...
- The 2004 Miami upset. That's undefeated, championship-contending Miami, falling to a 3-4 UNC team on Connor Barth's field goal. It sent the Hurricane's season into a tailspin, and may be pne of the best Tar Heel performances of the last ten years.
There's a saying about a blind squirrel that's eeriely appropriate here. And please ignore all the wrong guesses on that page.
This is the downside to the increased parity of college football - well this, and having to have championship discussions involving South Florida, Cincinnati, and Cal - that a game that would have been truly shocking a few years back is lost in a sea of more important upsets. That, and it makes the lack of a playoff even more glaring, but that's probably another post.