UNC is Not Our Rival

NC State fans have for too long harbored unwarranted ill will toward our good neighbors in Chapel Hill.

It's hard to believe we have for so long imagined a rivalry with our dear neighbors to the west, UNC-Chapel Hill. Such a rivalry is, of course, a complete myth. Both UNC and NC State have fought tooth and nail together against the rest of the ACC for over half a century, and through those years both have represented the old Pine State well.

But, unlike our UNC compatriots, many of us NC State fans would seem to harbor ill will toward friends, family or acquaintances associating themselves with our fellow state school, perhaps they themselves having passed through its hallowed halls, or having once seen a cool UNC hat in a rap video. But, UNC fans do not hate us. In fact, UNC fans have always maintained a civil indifference to NC State, treating us just as they do their own football team. Why should we not feel any different?

As most UNC fans will attest, the Wolfpack faithful harbors ill will for UNC because of a long history of seething jealousy and envy. Not only does UNC have both a Bell and a Well, but its founders invented the color of the sky, created the first public university in the nation, and singlehandedly led the Confederacy to victory in the Civil War because their heels were so sticky, like tar. Faced with these facts as we are on a daily basis, it's perhaps natural for NC State fans to feel a little resentment. Nonetheless, the error of these ways should be obvious. A friend of mine, a brilliant student who graduated Summa Cum Laude from UNC's presitigious Philosophy program, once told me, "He who laughs, rather than rages, is always the stronger." I ran into him recently at a coffee shop, and after I paid him for my mocha Frappucino®, these words echoed strongly in my mind.

It's not UNC's fault that it's not actually an exclusive, private university. Nor should it be hated just because its football team has so extremely dominated NC State recently. As most UNC fans can tell you, UNC has won 14 of the last 8 meetings. Tough numbers, and certainly none that would help argue for the existence of any so-called "rivalry".

While NC State students waste their school years struggling through terribly uninteresting classes like math or physics, UNC students enjoy virtual Discovery Channel specials in courses such as MUS 43: History of Rock Music or SOC 21: Empirical Analysis of Social Binge Drinking. I understand that on the surface it might seem a little easier to graduate from UNC, and perhaps it may not seem fair that each year UNC's first 1,500 graduates receive a complementary Journalism degree autographed by alum Stuart Scott, but try to keep an open mind and remember that these things are neither wrong nor right, just different.

After all, UNC fans do not necessarily have it so easy. For football games at Chapel Hill, parking is nearly impossible to find, unlike at the spacious grounds at Carter-Finley. Students are forced to circle campus all day while hunting for a spot, usually finding nothing and then each having to drive their individual cars all the way back to their dorm, then having to walk at least several blocks to the stadium. It's no wonder most spectators end up missing the first quarter, not to mention have to leave before the fourth quarter so they can beat heavy pedestrian traffic.

If anything, we NC State fans should let go of our obvious envy of UNC, and instead extend our sympathy. We might be the stepchild in red of North Carolina, but we don't have to worry about the burden of excellence favorite son UNC must carry. High expectations have already adversely affected their program. Some players have tried to transfer from UNC to a different school, ignorant of the opportunity UNC had blessed them with, or how worse the food is at other campuses. Others have chosen to focus on their studies instead of football, letting down the team and every good Ram-fearing citizen in this state.

When you look at the situation closely, you can see how little sense it makes for NC State to claim a rivalry with UNC. Just because this year our team is good and theirs is bad is no reason to rub their noses in it. UNC fans always hold their noses high, and never stoop so low so as to attack other schools besides their own.

To paraphrase Charles Kuralt, the University of North Carolina is special because it is as it was meant to be having been once meaning to do as it was. So this saturday, for every Winn Dixie Sack of the Game, for every Blue Cross-Blue Shield Blue Advantage big play, or for every telltale statistic announced by the Tar Heel Sports Network's Beefmaster Sideline Reporter, remember that it is just a game. If UNC happens to trip itself into a victory, you won't need to worry about hearing about it from UNC fans, since NC State isn't their rival.

Remember, the many back-and-forth battles between the Tar Heels and Florida State are what created UNC's principal rivalry, not to mention other rivalries caused by its epic series with powers like Texas, Miami and Ohio State. NC State fans shouldn't try to peek up into the clouds where those in Carolina blue reside, but stay down to earth and focus on our primary rival, New Mexico. In that regard, our season is already complete. Go to hell Lobos!!

You can email the author at brett@struttingwolf.com



Pack Pride Top Stories