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Tar Heel Hangover: Weathering the storm

Time for some perspective.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at East Carolina James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Tar Heel Hangover. This is our Monday morning opportunity to review last week’s games, second guess all of the key moments, and set the game plan for the week ahead.

The Elevator Speech: What happened last week.

All eyes turned east for the week, and I do not mean to Greenville.

If your life was not, or is not about to be, affected by Florence then you have quite a bit to be thankful for. The level of devastation is simply incomprehensible.

College football is a nice distraction from life on a regular basis. At times like this, for those on the Carolina coast, sports is a luxury that takes a back seat to survival and recovery. My thoughts and prayers go out to all in the path of the storm.

Water Cooler Discussion: If I were the coach . . .

Even without a game and with such a horrible weather event, there are still a couple of football-related points to be covered. Two items from last week are particularly telling as to the current state of the team.

First, I advocated in last week’s article that Antonio Williams should be suspended for his hit on Colby Gore. There was quite a bit of debate in the comments that Tyler Powell would have been a better focus of the ire.

How incredible is it that the debate from last week was over which personal foul penalty was more egregious? Perhaps Williams was just making a downfield play and got tangled up with an off-balance defender. I maintain my view on the play but can certainly understand how reasonable minds differ. The fact, however, that there was more than one game-changing personal foul is quite the statement.

Regardless of one’s position on which play was worse, this is clearly a debate that should not ever happen in the first place.

Unfortunately, that was not the most disturbing piece of news from the week off.

The Orlando Sentinel was closely watching the possibility of the game being cancelled and reported immediately once the inevitable occurred. The editorial take was that the cancellation would be good for both the struggling Heels and the Knights.

What is amazing is that the positive element for the Knights was that the Heels would not drag down their strength of schedule. That’s right; we have gotten to the point when an American Athletic Conference team is happy to not have its season dragged down by a presumptive victory over Carolina.

All fans should let that thought sink in.

This is not meant to denigrate a very impressive Knights team and an outstanding streak of victories dating over multiple seasons. But it is truly shocking that Carolina has become such a blight on the schedule that a team would rather not play us. It is time to pull our heads out of the sand and recognize the real state of the program.

Lying In Bed, I Wish I Could Change . . .

Perspective is important. As much as I wish I could change the course of the season, that thought would gladly be traded to have been able to change the course of the hurricane.

Looking Forward: Pitt Panthers

The revised renovation home opener will take place against the 2-1 Pitt Panthers. Pitt has played each of its first three games at home, getting demolished by Penn State but essentially shutting down the Georgia Tech offense. Which Panther defense shows up in Chapel Hill could determine the game.

Also, plan for it to be a five-hour affair. Pitt is last in the ACC in penalty yardage. Given the proclivity of the Heels to accumulate penalty yards, I strongly suspect there will be a lot of laundry on the field.

What the unexpected week off does provide, is an opportunity to hit the reset button. Two weeks of teaching. Two weeks of healing. Two weeks to establish an identity and a game plan and to find a way to execute. Two weeks to break the negative momentum of a bad start to the season. Remember, as bad as the season looks so far, the Tar Heels are undefeated in league play.

Final Thoughts

Once again, best wishes to all those affected by Hurricane Florence.