Jim Hawkins/Inside Carolina

Inside Carolina Staff Chat: The Consequences

Inside Carolina's staff convened for a free-for-all chat this week on the state of Tar Heel Football.

Buck Sanders: Welcome to another IC Staff Chat. This should be fun. I haven't seen Tar Heel Nation as devastated by a loss since '96, and the consequences may have something to do with that. Anyone else have an opinion on why the Duke loss was so crippling to the fan base? (There are lots of reasons, of course).

Tommy Ashley: Biggest reason is it's Duke.  And you can't find any Carolina fan that thinks Carolina should ever lose to Duke in football, no matter what the situation is.

Dijana Kunovac: Oh man, where to even start. Well first, I feel like the fans thought this team and this program kind of turned a corner the last two seasons. They just had to finish this season strong to solidify that. And then here comes a very bad Duke team without a single ACC win... it's embarrassing on top of being heartbreaking.

Tommy Ashley: Two, folks are dying to have the team be relevant.  Sure, 9-3 seasons are definitely a step up from the recent past, but 9-3 is the new 7-5.

Dijana Kunovac: Not only did they lose, they're Duke's ONLY ACC win this season.

Buck Sanders: D, Last year Florida State lost to Georgia Tech, which was Tech's only ACC win. That kind of stuff happens.

Tommy Ashley: Any given Saturday. (Or Thursday night)

Dijana Kunovac:  I think UNC fans are tired of the "it happens" narrative.

Buck Sanders: I think the consequences are the hardest to swallow. If UNC wins that game, they are in control of the Coastal after VT's loss, maybe a New Year's Six game is in play; UNC lost more than just a loss to Duke.

Dijana Kunovac - Oh yeah, I agree. The complete aftermath of the loss was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Tommy Ashley: But if it was say to Clemson, no way the reaction so harsh.

Buck Sanders: Tommy, I kind of disagree. Had UNC lost to anyone with those stakes on the table, there still would have been a huge backlash. If it had been GT, or VT, with those same consequences, a lot of air would still have gone out of the UNC balloon.

Tommy Ashley: Don't totally disagree, but you are kidding yourself if you don't think the fact it was Duke poured poison into the wounds.

Buck Sanders: In this case, I think because it was Duke just added insult to injury.

Dijana Kunovac: I understand what Tommy is saying, it stings just a liiiiiiittle more. Especially after how big of a deal the UNC guys made out of painting the Victory Bell.

Tommy Ashley: Yep. A colossal egg was laid in Durham.

Buck Sanders: And, *some* people predicted a UNC blowout, but let's not go there. I'm not going to be that guy. 

Dijana Kunovac: Well, this is awkward...

Tommy Ashley: I said 'should be but won't be'.  But I did think Carolina would push 50.  And so did everyone after the first two drives.

Buck Sanders: Tommy does a great job of covering his bases, but I won't belabor the point.

Tommy Ashley:  Did the season end last week?  Sure sounds like it did. Let's talk Bulldogs. 

Mike Ingersoll: The loss is painful because of all the attention surrounding it beforehand with the Bell. All that added attention made the game seem bigger than it really was. But for me it's the WAY we lost. Looking dominant in the first quarter but then laying an egg on both sides of the ball for the next three is tough to handle with what was on the line

That, combined with Tech finally losing, and with the mayhem ahead of us in the rankings, people quickly realized that we likely would have been around #10 by default, in control of the Coastal, with an FCS team coming, and then a big rivalry, must-win game with State. A win in both those games puts us around probably 8 or 7 going into the ACCCG, against a Clemson team that I think UNC can actually beat this year, and we end up at what? #5 at worst? MAYBE pushing for an at-large bid to the CFP? But at worst Orange Bowl.

Tommy Ashley: Hard work beats talent if talent doesn't work hard. See that all the time with sports.

Mike Ingersoll: That domino-effect reality is what makes this hard to swallow. And what Tommy said to me last week: You have to win that game if you want to turn the corner.  And we stumbled.

Buck Sanders: Okay, change of subject because it is so painful (and awkward for some), so there are a lot of mixed feelings and crazy stuff going on. Half the UNC fan base is afraid someone is going to poach Larry Fedora, and the other half can't wait (percentages could be way off, but you get the point). 

Mike Ingersoll: Fedora isn't going anywhere. If he does, that's a questionable move until he can prove that he can create a team with a stellar offense and a manageable defense. Can't survive in the SEC w/o defense (which is where I'm assuming the fearful worry that he'll go--LSU)

Tommy Ashley: Remember the days when no one wanted or ever mentioned a Carolina Football coach?  I do. And having your coach considered or wanted by the big dogs is never ever bad.

Dijana Kunovac: Yeah I'm not buying the poaching thing here, but that's just me. Larry's been "leaving for a better job" since he got to UNC.

Mike Ingersoll: But yes Tommy, it is nice to have a program with parts people want to strip.

Buck Sanders: Until a couple of days ago, no former UNC coach since Mack Brown had landed so much as a Group of Five head coaching job.

Tommy Ashley: If he leaves, he leaves.  The program certainly needs long term stability though.  But these days, what's that mean? 5-7 years?

Mike Ingersoll:  Yeah, no kidding Tommy. "Long term" barely lets one high school kid see the same head coach all the way through from frosh year to graduation. But, hey man! Butch is back baby! I'd get an FIU T-shirt if it wasn't made by Adidas.

Tommy Ashley: Or in China. :joy:

Buck Sanders: Wait, let me correct myself, Everett Withers is at Texas State. Which if you look real hard, is in the FBS.

Mike Ingersoll: Tommy that's xenophobic, how dare you. Isn't Texas State the school that was in that movie about the Green Machine? What movie was that...the QB came back, he was like 35, wore white shoes?

Buck Sanders: Those making political comments will face the wrath of the Godfather of IC.

Dijana Kunovac: Can we not with the political jokes.

Mike Ingersoll: jokes on jokes on jokes

Tommy Ashley: Moving along

Mike Ingersoll: Thank you Tommy. But seriously, what movie was that?

Buck Sanders: Back on topic. I say there’s a chance UNC may have to replace their head coach this year. Not a given, but it could happen. If so, whence goes UNC?

Mike Ingersoll: If Kyle Ralph had college experience, I'd lobby for him. But he doesn't, so I can't

Tommy Ashley: There's a QB on the squad with a coach for a dad.

Mike Ingersoll: Yeah, maybe Les is more. Bring in Ralph as OC, or QBs coach

Tommy Ashley: Add a flashy OC?  Wowwwwww...

Mike Ingersoll: Tommy...get out of my brain

Buck Sanders: So wrong of me to say this, but if Miles is the guy, just shoot me now. John Shoop will be the OC.

Tommy Ashley: Would match the Butch hire in hype and attention. (That said, don't see either the cause or effect happening).

Mike Ingersoll: Say what you will about Shoop, but I played for the guy. Shoop's system wasn't the problem. I'll defend that guy as a coach until the day I die.

Buck Sanders: A topic for another day, I liked Shoop personally, but as an OC, not so much.

Tommy Ashley: How many did Shoop lose to Duke?

Mike Ingersoll: Love T.J., but Mitch at the helm changes that system's production.

Buck Sanders: Would expect you to defend Shoop, Mike. Let's move on. Wow, the world has gotten so divisive.

Mike Ingersoll: I spy with my little eye, a political joke

Tommy Ashley: Honestly, I'd rather see teams win with defense than offense.  Maybe I'm old school.

Buck Sanders: A non-partisan political joke. Does anyone want to talk about the Citadel? (And Tommy you are far more old school than me). 

Mike Ingersoll: Ten-win team, unbeaten. Tough to pull off at any level.

Tommy Ashley: Carolina better play. Anything short of a rout will have the natives spying cliffs.

Mike Ingersoll: I remember playing these guys too. Very disciplined. Ungodly conditioning. Their record screams "really good team."

Buck Sanders: They rush for like 350 yards a game, different level of course, yet still...

Tommy Ashley: So was JMU and they did okay at first.

Mike Ingersoll: This is one of those letdown games. Have to avoid another near-McNeese situation. Or JMU 2016, for that matter.

UNC-NCSU Ticket Giveaway
This Week's Code: 1894

Tommy Ashley: This game IMO will show how much leadership both from the staff and team there is.

Mike Ingersoll: Hopefully the team isn't looking ahead to State. Which I'm pretty sure they were doing Thursday night.

Tommy Ashley: Duke exposed a problem there I think.

Buck Sanders: Speaking of soul-wrenching losses; Furman '99. I sat at that game until the final whistle blew; there were less than 10k in the stands at the end, and that's generous.

Tommy Ashley: Covered that one for IC.  Furman players said Carolina quit.

Mike Ingersoll: Good news, some of the kids on this team still couldn't say words back when Furman won at UNC. Hopefully this crop avoids that same misstep.

Buck Sanders: Well, prediction time. Go for it group.

Dijana Kunovac: Oh noooo, I'm not doing this again.

Buck Sanders: Coward. And I mean that in the nicest and most understanding kind of way. 

Dijana Kunovac: Both teams played hard.

Buck Sanders: The only people who are never wrong are those who never make predictions.

Mike Ingersoll: Uncomfortably close in the first half. Will likely mirror JMU early. Hopefully it mirrors JMU late, too.

Tommy Ashley: 42-20

Mike Ingersoll: You miss 100% of the shots you never take. - Michael Scott

Dijana Kunovac: Both teams played hard.

Buck Sanders: Come on, D, stop being such a....oh, wait, can't say that. 

Mike Ingersoll: 42-28. But I've been wrong before (see Duke, UGA).

Dijana Kunovac: Ugh, fine, UNC wins by some points ok? That's the best you're gonna get out of me.

Buck Sanders: At the risk of breaking my two-game string, I think UNC rolls. If the team can't play pissed off on Saturday, then they should just not play the game. So, I am saying 52-10. 

Tommy Ashley: ‘Course I man up and predict, then get called out later for being wrong.

Buck Sanders: Which you never do, call someone out for bad predictions, of course.

Mike Ingersoll: Hindsight is 20/20 Tommy. And people in glass houses sink ships. Anyone calling you out should remember that. Come on, Tommy let's get out of here, we don't need these guys.

Tommy Ashley: Peace!

Buck Sanders: Oh, and whenever I am wrong, which is often, no one spares the slings and arrows. 

Mike Ingersoll: It costs to be the boss, Buck.

Buck Sanders: Okay, we'll wrap it there. Same time, same station, next week.


The Participants
Tommy Ashley - Co-host of the Inside Carolina podcast and contributor since 1998.
Greg Barnes - Inside Carolina's highly esteemed beat writer since 2007.
Mike Ingersoll - Former UNC offensive lineman ('07-10), current UNC law student and Inside Carolina analyst.
Dijana Kunovac - Video production coordinator at Inside Carolina from 2011-15, now back on part-time basis.
Buck Sanders - Daily football columnist and Inside Carolina's president since 2000.
Jason Staples - Former FSU WR, now QB coach with a PhD from UNC and Inside Carolina's Xs and Os analyst since 2013.


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