Alternate headline: So This is What Being an NC State Fan Feels Like.
If you are keeping score at home this year marks the first time in UNC's ACC membership a team didn't win at least one ACC championship. UNC last chance to snag a title dissipated Friday night in Greensboro when the Tar Heel baseball team was officially eliminated from ACC Championship contention via a 3-2 loss to Virginia.
On top of UNC's futility in league titles, UNC is likely to finish the year without winning an NCAA championship either. The women's tennis team came very close to securing at least one team title this year but lost 4-3 to UCLA in the national championship match. The baseball team is in the NCAA Tournament for a 13th consecutive season but facing a steep climb to even get out of a regional that has #2 overall seed Florida, College of Charleston and Long Beach State.
As David Teel at the Daily Press notes, the number of ACC schools who can claim at least one title in each of the last ten years is down to Florida State, Virginia and Duke. The success in Durham is particularly disturbing for UNC partisans. The Blue Devils captured a pair of national championships this spring including going back-to-back in men's lacrosse. Duke also appeared in the ACC title games for football and basketball plus was one win away from doing the same in baseball.
Needless to say this kind of season confirms what athletic director Bubba Cunningham said several weeks ago about the athletic program becoming stagnant. On one hand, UNC continues to enjoy success in the Learfield Sports Director's Cup. UNC was 8th following the completion of the winter sports. The spring sports have probably been successful enough to help the Tar Heels stay in or near the top ten. However the lack of hardware is not a particularly exciting trend to see. While it's great the athletic program as a whole continues to enjoy relative success at UNC winning conference and national titles has been and always should be a focal point.
In the end this could be just a fluke year given it has never happened before. That being said, Cunningham has already publicly stated he thinks there is room for improvement. What improvements those might be will certainly be worth watching.