So much happened over the weekend, let's take a moment and review.
UNC beats Duke in football, finishes 7-5
This season hasn't always been pretty but to end up 7-5 and finish the season with a win over Duke is plenty to be happy about all things considered. UNC entered training camp with Everett Withers only a week into the job as the interim head coach. The naysayers and Chicken Littles of the Tar Heel fan base said this would result in a 3-9 season and the football program would be utterly destroyed. As it stands now, the Heels had a good season. Could it have been better? Sure. A win over NC State would have been nice. It is conceivable that UNC should have at least beaten Miami or perhaps stolen one from Georgia Tech. However at the end of the day, the crowd who lamented Holden Thorp's decision to fire Butch Davis as a disaster for the football program have been partly proven wrong. The Heels had a winning season and will head to a bowl game which is great for giving younger players an extra month of practice. If Bubba Cunningham comes through with a solid coaching hire then it will have all worked out nicely.
Look who is the starting QB in Houston now
With Houston Texas' start Matt Schaub lost for the season with a foot injury and backup Matt Leinert suffering a broken collarbone, the door has swung wide open for former UNC QB T.J. Yates to make his first NFL start this week. Yates came in for Leinert on Sunday going 8-15 for 70 yards on the way to a 20-13 win over Jacksonville. Now Yates will take the reins of an 8-3 team with serious playoff aspirations. The upside for Yates is he is surrounded by plenty of offensive weapons which should make the transition easier.
UNC loses to UNLV in basketball; Tar Heel fans freak out
The outflow of frustrations in the world of Tar Heel fan internet commentary has been both sad and comical to watch over the last 48 hours. If there is anything we are really good at it is hand wringing after a loss. This is no different and despite the fact UNC played a 6-0 team ranked 15th by Ken Pomeroy in a de facto home game(it was the first time I have ever seen a neutral court rushed following the game) somehow the loss exposes UNC as having multiple fatal weaknesses. Maybe we should fire Roy Williams and cancel the season.
Truthfully, the team did not play well, especially the frontline. UNLV on the other hand played extremely well. In the world of college basketball upsets are the lifeblood of the sport's popularity. March Madness is predicated on upsets and what we saw late Saturday night was a top seed falling in a Sweet Sixteen game. It happens, quite a bit if my recollection of NCAA history is on point, which is why we should be thankful it wasn't in the Sweet Sixteen and this isn't college football. The Heels have some work to do that is certain. The rebounding and poor shooting inside the arc are obvious areas of concern but if you read this fantastic analysis by Tyler Brooks at Inside Carolina(subscription only) UNC was really a victim of poor spacing, settling for bad shots, sloppy offensive execution which led to generally poor rebounding coverage. Plus the issue of the defense collapsing on the interior without kicking the ball out didn't help either. The point is there is absolutely nothing I saw on Saturday night strikes me as anything that cannot be corrected in due course. All teams develop and gel at a different rate or different points in the season. The benefit(if you can all it that) to a loss at this stage in the season is it helps to draw out the weaknesses and refocuses the players' attention.
It is also important to remember that Roy Williams' teams generally do an excellent job bouncing back after a loss. The lessons learned at the cost of losing a game general get applied in short order resulting in a better team in the long run. I also think you cannot discount UNLV being a less than ideal match-up for UNC personnel wise and there number of times that will be the case this season should be far and few in between. That is why I refuse to extrapolate too much from one game or even a stretch of games at this stage of the season.
The bottom line is UNC has the parts, experience and potential to win the national title which last I checked happens in April not November.