Countdown to Zero Bowl

The time has finally arrived. For the first, and probably only time, UNC football team will travel down Highway 264 to Greenville to play a game. When this historically significant game was first scheduled many years ago, there was no doubt in anyone's mind that it would be an emotionally intense affair.

Intense it will be, but for a much different reason than would have been thought of only a couple of years ago. Both teams enter the game winless, and desperate for a win of any sorts. A sports writer in Hampton, Virginia has dubbed this game the Zero Bowl for obvious reasons. And, outside the two teams' themselves, their respective coaching staffs, and fan bases, there will be next to zero interest in this game.

All that aside, Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium will be packed on Saturday, mostly with diehard Pirate fans that for years have pointed to this game as an opportunity to prove to those hated baby-blue colored snobs up the road that ECU's football program was the equal of anything Chapel Hill had to offer. I would have to say that at this particular point in their histories these two football programs are equal; they equally stink.

The most intriguing aspect of the game to me is just what its ramifications will be for the respective coaches. ECU's coach, John Thompson is still on his first-year honeymoon, whereas John Bunting's position at this point in tenuous. A loss to the Pirates may be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back when it concerns support for Bunting's continued employment with UNC. An ECU victory would also go a long way towards helping John Thompson gain solid acceptance among the Pirate faithful.

But keep in mind, intense emotions, and jobs on the line do not equate to good football. Remember, this game features two of the worst teams in college football, but on paper equally matched in their ineptitude.

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