Mike: Be Nice to a Wolfpacker Day

N.C. State Week… The one week out of the year when those of us who pull for the Blue and White know exactly how Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) felt when Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) drove his R.V right up into the front yard two days before Christmas. We can't really avoid them because they're family – in a conference manner of speaking, but it always seems like they're back too soon.

Now imagine Eddie showing up with about 10,000 of his friends all dressed alike and howling like wolves – that's probably what Chapel Hill is going to witness come Saturday.

If that's not enough to scare you 2 ½ weeks before Halloween, consider last week's game out in the desert. The offensive performance was impressive and well worth staying up late to hear about, but the defense was, well, pretty offensive in it's own right. The 650 yards surrendered last week have no doubt caused wolves to salivate and more than a few worries among the Tar Heel faithful.

I say don't worry. Truth be known, this game is important and does have ramifications both in recruiting circles throughout the state as well as the conference bowl lineup. But one important difference exists: Carolina doesn't have to win tomorrow to have a successful season; State cannot have a successful season unless they win tomorrow.

State has much to lose – high national ranking, undefeated season, loss of potential BCS Bowl bid and/or an ACC Championship. Carolina, on the other hand will go from 2-3 to 2-4 in the midst of what has been generally accepted to be a rebuilding year. Oh yes, and the series record will move to 8 out of the last 10, the overall record will still remain decidedly in favor to the Heels, but all that will be heard is "2 out of the last 3."

I'm not buying into the whole debate about who is or isn't a rival of Carolina. Even State fans will admit that just about everybody in the ACC hates Carolina also. In the mind of the Wolfpacker, Carolina is easily contemptible enough to be hated by everyone. State fans detest Carolina more than anything, and sometimes feel slighted if all they get in return looks more like indifference than hatred. In fact, that feeling seems to only make them angrier.

It is with this thought in mind that I encourage all Tar Heels, except the players, of course, to make October 12, 2002, "Be Nice to a Wolfpacker Day." If they sit next to you in Kenan, welcome them to the stadium with a smile and wish them good luck. Offer them a drink. Cheer long and loud for the Heels, but in victory or defeat thank the red clad visitors for a good game, wish them a safe trip home and good luck with the rest of the season.

Deny them equal shares of hatred and you will sour a Wolfpack victory or rub salt in a Wolfpack defeat. Killing them with kindness is the best way to go.

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