College Football Preview: UNC vs. N.C. State
Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2008
CHAPEL HILL ó It hasn’t taken long for Butch Davis to get into North Carolina’s rivalry with North Carolina State.
“The fans are right on top of each other,” the second-year coach said. “I was mad at some people dressed in red at the (grocery store) last night.”
About a half-hour east on Interstate 40, N.C. State running back Andre Brown can feel it, too.
“You can just see it that even after the whistle’s blown how people are still driving and still trying to physically beat the guy down,” Brown said.
The angst that comes with the latest meeting of longtime instate rivals offers a simple motivation heading into today. It sure beats dwelling on the big picture, whether it’s the 25th-ranked Tar Heels’ chances of somehow winning the ACC’s muddled Coastal Division race or the Wolfpack’s need to win its last two games to become bowl eligible.
North Carolina (7-3, 3-3 ACC) controlled its own fate in the division before last weekend’s 17-15 loss at Maryland. The Tar Heels got a boost with Miami’s loss to Georgia Tech on Thursday night, but they still need Virginia and Virginia Tech to lose at least once. The Cavs and Hokies are 3-3 in the league, but they have beaten the Tar Heels head-to-head.
Ask Davis anything about that scenario and his answer usually falls into the “one game at a time” category.
“You don’t look at the landscape,” he said. “I don’t follow all the other schools. We can’t control anybody else. We worry about how we play and how we prepare and if we do like we’re supposed to, the future will take care of itself.”