College Football Notebook: Davis says fans have right perspective
The college football notebook …
CHAPEL HILL ó Butch Davis inherited a woeful North Carolina program that had won seven games just twice in the past decade. Yet in just two seasons, Davis has the Tar Heels in contention for an ACCchampionship and playing to improve their bowl standing.
It’s been a rapid rise for a program that had won 47 games in the past 10 seasons. The risk is fans will believe the rebuilding job is ahead of where it actually is, though fan enthusiasm seems to be the most important thing for Davis right now.
“I love the groundswell,” Davis said. “They recognize even in light of the games we’ve lost … the fans are like, ‘Coach, man, this is exciting. I love going to the stadium. We know we’re getting better.”‘
North Carolina (7-3, 3-3 ACC) has beaten ranked teams Connecticut, Boston College and Georgia Tech on the way to ensuring the first winning season since 2001. Their losses to Virginia Tech, Virginia and Maryland have come by a combined eight points.
That’s created a buzz that even encroached on last weekend’s season opener for the famed men’s basketball program with fans in attendance constantly looking for updates from the football game at Maryland. Coach Roy Williams stopped his postgame news conference long enough to ask how much time was left on the game.
Still, the close losses have served as reminders that this is not going to be an overnight job.
“The program’s not where we want it to be yet,” Davis said. “It will, as we continue to add more players in the coming years.”
It only seems as if Wake Forest is rushing its seniors out the door.
Instead of holding Senior Day ceremonies before next week’s home finale, as most teams do, the Demon Deacons are honoring their seniors before this week’s game against Boston College.
The reasoning: The students will be on Thanksgiving break for next week’s game against Vanderbilt.
When Georgia Tech takes the field against No. 23 Miami on Thursday night, the Yellow Jackets will have an unusual fan base cheering them on: Virginia Tech’s football team.
The Hokies are squarely in Georgia Tech’s corner because if the Jackets beat the Hurricanes, Virginia Tech still has a chance to win the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division title.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. ó Despite some struggles down the stretch, Notre Dame is still drawing interest from the Cotton, Gator and Sun bowls heading into its final two games.
“The great thing about the system the way it is now is you can really afford to wait until the whole season is over before making a decision,” Cotton Bowl president Rick Baker said.
The Irish (6-4) are 191/2-point favorites against Syracuse (2-8) on Saturday and will be heavy underdogs a week later against sixth-ranked USC (9-1). And although neither the Cotton Bowl nor the Gator Bowl has ever awarded a berth to a five-loss team, the presidents of both bowls said a loss to the Trojans wouldn’t necessarily eliminate the Irish from consideration.
“I don’t think we necessarily look just at the records,” Baker said. “We’re going to look at the matchup and the history that we have with the programs that we’re considering. That’s not a policy that we don’t take a 7-5 team, that’s just the way that it’s happened.”
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