That settles it. I've made up my mind: I hope John Bunting coaches the University of North Carolina's football team for a long, long time. And there isn't a sarcastic reason for it. This isn't reasoning based on the fact that the Tar Heel program has fallen on hard times on the gridiron, though I would guess there are many NC State fans that would cite that as their reason for wanting Bunting to stick around for many years to come. (Especially when one considers the thought that he could be replaced by someone with the ability to take Bunting's recruiting classes and make a solid team out of them.)
Don't get me wrong: I was starting to have my doubts about Bunting. It had been a while since anything really colorful had come out of his mouth, and he's admittedly not as flashy as NC State's Chuck Amato. (I can't imagine seeing JB in white sunglasses and red shoes that look like his feet were dipped in candy-apple mix.) But losing seemingly has taken some of the color out of Bunting's interviews, which is a shame.
Thankfully, Linda Warner - I mean Dawn Bunting - has given me a reason to come back into Bunting's camp.
"Pagan baby, What you got, I need. "Don't be savin', Spread your love on me." -- "Pagan Baby" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
According to the Friday edition of the News & Observer, Mrs. Bunting "was seen escorting a veiled, stooped figure around the empty [Kenan] stadium" before Carolina's Sept. 18 game at home against Georgia Tech. "The woman was burning sage and making incantations," the article stated.
UNC Athletics Director tossed off the ceremony as "just a big joke" and stated that Dawn Bunting is "fun-loving, passionate and spirited." Maybe. But the article goes on to say that the "sage ritual" also took place in St. Louis when John Bunting was an assistant coach with the Rams from 1997-99.
"The year we went to the Super Bowl, they said the city was cursed and that the only way to get rid of the curse was to burn sage," Bunting told the N&O. "So on Saturday nights before games ... a lot of people started burning sage. It was a little bit of fun. Of course, we started winning and everybody had more fun."
Bunting went on to admit that the sage ritual will
take place before the Wolfpack visit on Saturday,
saying "What are we, 2 and 1 at home? I'm sure we'll
be burning some sage tomorrow."
And with those comments, State fans now have even more ammunition with which to rag their rivals - as if recent on-the-field history wasn't enough. And isn't that what rivalries are all about?
ACC Rankings - One Man's Opinion
1. Miami: Brock Berlin's time as starting QB may be nearing the end.
2. Virginia: OK, UVa, the fun's over (maybe). Four of the Cavs' next six games are on the road. But if the Wahoos can sneak out of Tallahassee with a win next week, then who knows just how far up the rankings UVa can go before the season's over.
3. Florida State: Seminoles were pushed at home by UNC, but managed to get the job done.
4. Maryland: Just like the past couple of years, Ralph Friedgen's Terps are quietly going about their business, picking up wins and gaining confidence.
5. NC State: Chuck Amato complained that there weren't enough fans at the lame-named "Walk of Champions" before last Saturday's State-Wake game. He should be pleasantly surprised at the amount of red and white in Kenan on Saturday.
6. Virginia Tech: Hokies rebounded from disappointing State loss to shatter WVU's season.
7. Wake Forest: Sometime, maybe very soon, the Deacons will be the ones winning a close one.
8. Georgia Tech: Yellow Jackets face a tough road test in venturing into Byrd Stadium.
9. Clemson: Tigers' season is going downhill very fast at 1-4 overall and 1-3 in the ACC. And they still have to face Maryland, State, Miami and South Carolina.
10. North Carolina: Believe it or not, but a win over State will keep the schizophrenic Tar Heels in the mix for a bowl (with admittedly a lot of work still left).
11. Duke: Blue Devils got that elusive first win out of the way. Now Ted Roof's team has a week to enjoy it before preparing for a road game against Georgia Tech.
This Week's Games
NC State at North Carolina: Logic says that this will be a game that pits the two teams' strengths (NC State's defense and UNC's offense) against one another. However, State's offense, previously the Wolfpack's weak point, seems to be improving while UNC's offense, previously the Tar Heel's strength, may be regressing somewhat. NC State 28, North Carolina 17
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest: Wake Forest has been on the short end of some nail-biters the past few years. This time, Jim Grobe's team gets the last laugh in a hotly-contested ACC game between two schools that actually aren't that far away from one another (in proximity, that is.) Wake Forest 21, Virginia Tech 20
Georgia Tech at Maryland: The Terrapins offense seems to be hitting its stride, and that's very bad news for Chan Gailey's team. Maryland 42, Georgia Tech 24
Florida State at Syracuse: The Orange have been bad, very bad, so far this season. But this is the kind of game that could bite the Seminoles in the rear, if Bobby Bowden's team isn't careful. This will be the first road start for QB Wyatt Sexton. Then again, the 'Cuse is giving up almost 400 yards per game. Florida State 35, Syracuse 17
Prognostication Record So Far (based on picking the correct winner only): 29-5