Joe Giglio put together a nice chart comparing the records of UNC's Butch Davis and NCSU's Tom O'Brien vs...well..everyone. The overall picture for Davis is slightly better than it is for O'Brien.
A couple of numbers that stand out:
• O'Brien is 7-2 against the Coastal Division but 2-13 against the Atlantic. It's one thing to be winless against FSU, BC and Clemson but a collective 2-4 against Maryland and Wake? Not good.
The flip side, of course, is a 5-0 mark against UNC and Miami, two of the most talented programs in the ACC. (Aside: My guess is that the Duke loss from last season still keeps O'Brien up at night. Given Duke's recent history, it's not a stretch to reason O'Brien should be 8-1 against the Coastal — with only a no-chance loss at VT).
O'Brien and Davis are a combined 5-0 against Miami but 0-4 against FSU. You think either one was happy to see Bobby Bowden retire (or that Randy Shannon was given a contract extension)?
• Even if you take away the four I-AA gimmes, Davis is a respectable 10-6 at home with quality wins over Miami (twice), Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Boston College.
Take away O'Brien's four gimmes and he's 8-12 at home.
You have to win your home games in college football. Period. There's no two ways around it.
The two records for Davis that will make the sanest of UNC fans crazy is the pair of 0-3 marks vs NCSU and UVa. Those six games include three at home and three on the road. UNC was in all but one of those games (the 41-10 disaster in 2008) but could not close the deal. The 2008 and 2009 losses to UVa seem almost inexplicable in hindsight as does the loss to NCSU a year ago.
The highlights for Davis here as it pertains to a comparison with O'Brien are the overall record, ACC record, record vs the Atlantic Division and record at home, especially when you exclude IAA teams. Davis is 4-4 vs BCS teams whereas O'Brien is 1-5. Davis has also been slightly better vs IA teams in general and teams with winning marks.
All that being said, it is actually not all that pretty, even for Davis. The head-to-head failure vs O'Brien is a big sticking point, especially since UNC has been mostly average in three seasons under Davis. Don't get me wrong, there is improvement with a positive outlook(hopefully!) The bounce back from the previous coaching era in terms of on the field performance and the work being done in recruiting is more than satisfactory. Now if this NCAA probe would wrap up with minimal damage and UNC can put together a 10 win season with victories over UVa and NCSU, the program will be heading in the right direction.