Welcome to Friday Food For Thought, the weekend conversation starter. Each week, this article presents a topic for debate. Whether in the comments section, on the golf course, or around the weekend game table, the goal is to provide enough background that either side could be a winner. In order to facilitate the discourse, a suggested beverage pairing is also included. So speak up, mix it up, and drink up.
My colleague, Chad Floyd has put together excellent previews of the Tar Heels’ gridiron opponents for the upcoming season. It is hard to review those articles and not get excited about the season ahead. The question for today is which home football game are you most excited to see?
As is usually the case with the Friday Food for Thoughts, there is more to this question than meets the eye. Inherent in the concept of game day excitement is a significant level of prognostication. In other words, what looks to be a highly anticipated matchup on the schedule may end up being a low attendance inspiring game if the season does not go well. Conversely, a late season contest between two teams playing for a Division championship can be a must-see event.
So bring together the elements of opponent record, Carolina’s results, and the value of the matchup itself to wade into this week’s debate. The options are UCF, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Western Carolina, and NC State. I will be attending the game when the Heels host the defending National Champions from the University of Central Florida, but I don’t think that will be the best of the year.
The best home game of the year will be Virginia Tech. It is entirely possible that the Heels will enter the game with an excellent record. At Miami seems like a stretch but the rest of the early season schedule is very doable. With a couple of tight games against Florida State and Notre Dame, the Hokies should be sporting a very good record as well.
This game could well serve as a tiebreaker for the Coastal Division if Miami stumbles through the season. Call me crazy, but Virginia Tech seems to always be in the mix and this game could go a long way in the standings.
Coming off of what will likely be a prime time game against the Irish, it is also a good bet that this will be a very tight and competitive contest.
It is very likely that this season will be another up and down affair. It will be a combination of mid-game highs and late game lows that lead to a near .500 record and the possibility of a mediocre bowl.
Being bowl eligible will be a question that could dog this team the entire second half of the season. Bouncing above and below the cut line will be a weekly narrative. With a record of 5-6 entering the final week of the season, a win may be required to be bowl eligible.
And that win will have to come against an in-state rival; the Wolfpack.
There is always plenty on the line when NC State comes to town and this year will be no different. Program development, team progress, and possibly even Larry Fedora’s job will be on the line entering the November 24th match up. This will be the Tar Heels’ playoff game.
In need of encouragement to debate – Visiting Charleston, South Carolina this week,I recalled the first time I tasted Firefly Vodka. The iced tea flavored beverage pairs excellently with lemonade for a spiked Arnold Palmer. I still recall having one on the rooftop bar and then bringing the recipe home.
Can debate without assistance – The kids like to have a version of what the parents are drinking so this week brings in pink lemonade. A couple of tart cups always brings a smile to their faces.