A Matter Of Pride

North Carolina's head coach says the Peach Bowl is important to his team and program.

Atlanta, Ga.--How important is the Peach Bowl to North Carolina head coach John Bunting? From his statements on Friday, it's very, very important.

"If we win this football, I will say it has been a great season," the first year Carolina coach said. "If we don't win this football game, I am going to say, once again, it has been a good season. It is certainly something we can grow from being down here together."

The Peach Bowl, which matches teams from the SEC and ACC, is interested in building the rivalry between the two conferences. While Auburn coaches and players have said that the conference rivalry is not a factor in their minds, it has been a topic of interest to the Tar Heels.

Bunting said for many years the ACC has not got the respect in football afforded the Southeastern Conference and said he still finds that is the case. "In my opinion, it is still not as respected as it should be," Bunting said. "We enjoy the challenge of representing the Atlantic Coast Conference vs. the SEC."

Auburn has a 98-60-7 all-time against the ACC. "Our football team is excited about the matchup," Bunting said. "They are excited not only being in the Peach Bowl and playing another game, but playing a team like Auburn. It is a great matchup."

John Bunting is the first year head coach of the Tar Heels.

The game will kick off from the 71,500-seat Georgia Dome at 6:30 p.m. CST on New Year's Eve. Auburn brings a 7-4 mark into the game and is 5-3 in the SEC. UNC is 7-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC.

"I hope we will leave here with UNC fully intact with pride and dignity, knowing what this great opportunity means to everybody who plays here and who has played here."

Tiger Ticket Extra: This is not the first Peach Bowl for Bunting, who played in the 1970 game for Coach Bill Dooley's team that defeated Kentucky. Bunting says he would rather be playing than coaching. "There is nothing like being a ballplayer," he says. "I wouldn't trade playing for the world. I wish I could still play."

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