North Carolina will make a repeat appearance in the Meineke Car Care Bowl today but will play with a different attitude. This time, the game's not for fun.
UNC will try it again
The Winston-Salem Journal
North Carolina coach Butch Davis and Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt spent 11 seasons together coaching defense under Jimmy Johnson -- best known for winning a national championship at Miami and two Super Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys.
So it's no surprise that when the Tar Heels and No. 17 Panthers meet today (4:30 p.m., ESPN) in the Meineke Car Care Bowl at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, both teams will share a similar identity.
Familiar faces, familiar places
The Durham Herald-Sun
For a team that ended the regular season on a two-game losing streak, the Panthers (9-3) came very close to reaching a BCS bowl.
Losses to West Virginia (19-16) and Cincinnati (45-44) snapped a six-game winning streak that dated to a 38-31 loss at N.C. State in September.
That said, the Tar Heels (8-4) should have an edge in intangibles if enough Carolina fans show in Charlotte to give the day a Kenan Stadium flavor.
Heels are due for bowl win
The News and Observer
It looks much like a replay for North Carolina's football team, ending the season in the Meineke Car Care Bowl against a Big East Conference opponent that carries the favorite's label.
The Tar Heels say they're fine with all this as long as there's a different conclusion this time.
Tar Heels seek different ending with return to bowl
The Burlington Times-News
North Carolina kicker Casey Barth went to Bank of America Stadium three weekends ago and watched his brother endure a rough game kicking the football.
Later that night, Casey Barth learned he would be going back to kick in the same stadium.
Barth brothers keep kicking through good and bad
The Burlington Times-News
Motivation can be found virtually anywhere. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find it.
The North Carolina football team knows all about that.
For the past three weeks since learning they'd be back in Charlotte at the Menieke Car Care Bowl for the second straight year, the Tar Heels have been searching for reasons to do more than just show up at Bank of America Stadium this afternoon.
From the sound of things, they seem to have found some good ones.
This time, Tar Heels hope to leave Charlotte as ‘champions'
The Wilmington Star-News
In the Big Four's year of the quarterback, N.C. State's Russell Wilson was going nowhere, joining Duke's Thaddeus Lewis and Wake Forest's Riley Skinner on the outside looking in at the postseason.
Meanwhile, Yates, a junior, had started every game in North Carolina's 8-4 season, helping the Tar Heels to their second straight bowl berth -- today's Meineke Car Care Bowl against No. 17 Pittsburgh, the first back-to-back bowls for Carolina in a decade.
The crowd booed anyway.
And Yates was there to hear it.
UNC's Yates hopes to turn jeers to cheers
The Greensboro News-Record
Cynics and critics of the college football bowl system would say that Pitt (9-3) and North Carolina (8-4) will play a meaningless game this afternoon when they meet in the Meineke Car Care Bowl at Bank of America Stadium.
Meaningless, however, is in the eye of the beholder. While there isn't a championship on the line and the game isn't for position within a conference, both teams have plenty to play for, especially the Panthers.
Pitt Football: Final game holds plenty of meaning
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pitt quarterback Bill Stull said the Panthers won't change a thing against North Carolina.
"We have same the mentality — run the ball to set up our play-action passing," he said. "We have to eliminate bad plays and limit our penalties. We have to stay on the field on third down, and we have to make some big plays. It's a formula that has worked all season."
Stull, Pitt will stay the course on offense
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review