John Bunting has done some good things in his short tenure at the helm of the Carolina football program, but this week he has a real opportunity to fix something Dick Crum broke and neither Mack Brown nor Carl Torbush could fix. He has the opportunity to end the Scott Stadium Drought on his first try.
When I was planning my long football trips from Birmingham last spring, there were two games which just jumped off the schedule to me: Texas and Virginia. The Longhorns, of course, brought Mack back to Chapel Hill along with the real feeling of "big time" football. While the game didn't work out as well as any of us had hoped, it was nice to be able to give Mack our, um, regards. The Heels played well enough to inspire some optimism for the rest of the season, and overall it was a good trip.
Since that time, Carolina has been all over the map. The first half against State was as complete an effort on both sides of the ball as we have seen from Carolina all year. The second half was its polar opposite, leaving us all to wonder just which team will show up in Charlottesville.
It is with that question weighing on me that I begin my trip northward through the Shenandoah Valley to Mr. Jefferson's University. (I should say now that despite the Cavaliers, Jefferson is my favorite of the Founding Fathers – although he might have been better served spending more time founding than fathering.) Regardless of how the Heels get it done, the Streak, which dates back to 1981, must be ended and it must be ended now.
It must be ended because the last time the Heels won in Charlottesville:
* Ralph Sampson was a junior in college
* Ronald Reagan was less than a year in the White House
* Over half of the Tar Heels who suit up on Saturday were not even born
* John Bunting was still an NFL linebacker
Throw the stat book out the window and forget about all that has happened to date this year. This is a game that can be won, and it needs to happen to erase the memories of Keldorf over the middle for a loss of $6 million. It needs to be won to erase the memories of completely outplaying the Cavaliers two years ago only to end up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. It even needs to be won to erase the memories of Todd Braverman hitting a 54-yard field goal with his 35-yard leg on the hard breath of a hurricane in Chapel Hill in 1999.
I am driving to Virginia because I believe. I should say I'm going for a nice October vacation and to see some leaves, but I am going to lend whatever support I can to making the Scott Stadium Drought a thing of the past.
The streak must end, and it must end Saturday.