It was an ill-fated week for FBS football teams from the state of North Carolina. The team from Raleigh lost on Friday night to an astonishingly 5-0 Louisville, East Carolina lost to Rice yesterday afternoon, a moribund UNC Charlotte got trounced by SMU, Duke lost to Notre Dame in primetime in heartbreaking fashion (go Irish), and even the mighty Mountaineers of Appalachian State needed a borderline miracle to escape Louisiana-Monroe with a walk-off game-winning field goal. (For what it’s worth, Wake Forest was also on a bye this week).
There were obviously bad vibes bouncing in an oblong fashion around the Old North State; maybe a looming haint from the rapidly-approaching Halloween season, or perhaps simply bills coming due from early-season luck. It was a good week, either way, to be at home. The Tar Heels are heading into spooky season with a guaranteed undefeated record, and were able to sit back and watch football programs statewide crash and burn. The only thing better than a week’s rest is watching your rival have their hearts ripped out on a national stage while the other proximally-located school continues to fade ever-so-slowly into obscurity.
A bye week is a welcome respite in any season; a time to work out any kinks or weaknesses, nurse any nagging injuries, and watch tape and gameplan for the latter part of the season. It’s a good time to reflect on the season thus far and look forward to the challenges to come, both for Tar Heels on the active roster and Tar Heels rooting for their team from all over the country. Every coach says that a bye week is like a win on the schedule, based on the work the team is able to do and the adjustments that this extra time permits.
Bye weeks are always worth celebrating. Even if we miss watching the Tar Heels take the field for one weekend, we can still readily recognize the usefulness of a little bit of time away, especially since we still had teams to root for.
It was a good week to watch from home for everyone. A division has formed between the football teams in our fair state, one team separated from the rest by a conspicuous blank in the loss column. The University of North Carolina Tar Heels stand alone as the sole remaining unbeaten team in the state it represents, and have finished September unscathed for the first time since 1997 (excepting the 2020 season, in which the Heels were 1-0 heading into October). An exciting start to a football season, and a thrilling beginning of the end of a year.
It’s a good week to be a Tar Heel.