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Blue, Blue Heaven

It looked a lot like one of the longest post-game walks ever made by Frank Beamer. The final horn had sounded on Tech’s 35-10 demolition of North Carolina . As is his habit and that of most coaches, Frank strolled to mid-field to engage in the customary hand-shake and exchange of pleasantries with Big John Bunting. The only problem was Big John was nowhere to be found.

The Head Heel was standing on his own sideline talking with what looked to be a staff member. Frank kept walking toward the Carolina bench. And kept walking. About three-quarters of the way Big John finally moved to meet and greet Frank. There was a quick handshake and then Big John was gone. Dean and Coach K have engaged in minutes of pleasant conversation and back-slapping compared to this. Gee, Big John, what happened? Weauxf Gods got your tongue?

The guy who garnered more face time during Channel 7 newscasts this past week than Mike Stevens seemed unusually reticent. There hardly seemed time to engage in the weauxfing he has barked since last August. What, no boasts to Frank about how the Tar Heels were “right there” with Florida State and Miami ? The dissertation from Big John about how he was recruiting the top talent out of Virginia looked to be quite a bit shorter than it had last Thursday.

Football fans were treated to quite an exhibition last Saturday of what the good old N&O called Bunting Ball. It was provided by Virginia Tech, where it is normally referred to as Beamer Ball. Carolina got the full package, from the opportunistic defense right down to the blocked kick. It would seem Danny Pearman had forgotten everything from the nine years spent on the Tech staff.

Big John did not seem to be any happier when he got to his postgame media conference than he had been when declining to congratulate Frank on the game. He called his coaching “inexcusable.” There seemed to be quite a few Carolina fans in agreement.

That included the several with whom I had a chance to chat before, during and after the game. That would include the incomparable BobLee Swagger, who kept the Clubhouse Tailgate in stitches Friday night and Saturday during both the pre and post-game tailgates. This trip to Blue Heaven reinforced my prior experience of having never once met a Carolina alum who fits the UNC stereotype. That, however, does not seem to extend to the famed Tar Heel Sports Network.

While the Carolina fans to a person began conversations with “John Bunting is a nice guy, BUT,” the radio crew, which seemed to include some clown whose network duties involved getting drunk on Franklin Street, did their best to prove the worst of the negative Carolina typecast.

Woody Durham continues to become a caricature of himself while stating the case for mandatory retirement. As someone who has listened to him on Carolina radio since the beginning of his career, it is painful to listen to what he has become. He was hardly the worst, however.

All radio networks are comprised of homers, guys well aware of both the people signing their checks and that radio networks attract the serious fan. Most networks, however, tend to leave the message board loons to the Web sites. Not so the Tar Heel Sports Network. They believe in finding the worst one out there and handing him a microphone.

That would be Deems May. A key contributor to Mack Brown’s 1-10 Carolina teams and whose leaving enabled Mack to begin winning and going to bowl games at Carolina, May’s assignment now seems to be to spend games in bars working on raising his levels of bile.

May was reporting from the bar of the Four Corners . Perhaps he should have staggered down Franklin Street to the Interception or Peter Principle Coach. It would seem that the grapes used to make the wine so popular among the whine and cheese set had become a bit sour.

In between long gulps of the house red, May bitched about RUTS- apparently Frank calling off the dogs and going to his second team did not erase the talent discrepancy brought on by Big John’s excellent recruiting. The drunken Mr. May seemed to feel that in order to even things up a bit, Frank should have only played walk-ons from the middle of the Third Quarter on. That might have held the score down to only 28-10.

He was also a tad miffed by Tech being in his beloved ACC, an attitude that did not seem to be shared by any of the great Tar Heels we tailgated with. May should empty his spleen on his own prez and the critical role Meezie played in enabling that happenstance.

May also got in the obligatory shot on Frank Beamer, saying he was glad Frank is at Tech and not Carolina . So are Tech fans, Deems. May also, in a rather remarkable display of broadcasting professionalism, claimed that the sight of Tech’s colors made him want to hurl. Perhaps the couple of jugs of wine contributed. If the wine was indeed red, when he spewed like Vesuvius he would hock up a pretty fair representation of maroon. It would seem that when Mick Mixon left for the Panthers Leafield had much trouble coming up with a competent replacement.

Maybe Deems May should tear himself away from the bars and spend some time in the Kenan Center . There he would find the man most responsible for last Saturday’s results. Big John Bunting has engaged in a lot of big talk. All are waiting for the delivery.

Much has been said about the seven years it took Frank Beamer to hit it big. I would point out that Frank had a winning season in his third year, even after inheriting the probationary and financial disaster he did from Dooley. Even with the defensive problems that wrecked 1992, it was fairly obvious that he had Tech going in the right direction. Is that really the case in Big John Bunting’s sixth year?

There has been a lot of talk about how much Big John has improved Carolina ’s recruiting. He sure manages to keep it well hidden. Tech has a clear talent advantage all over the field. This is hardly a vintage Tech team, a nugget expounded on by May.

They may not be any good, as May claims, but they were sure as hell good enough to easily handle the Tar Heels. Sean Glennon might not be able to start for Independence High [again the World According To May], but he did seem to have a pretty good handle on the color uniform his guys were wearing. Check your own house, May.

As bad as Carolina looked Saturday, they certainly did not provide the worst spectacle. That happened over in Carter-Finley Stadium at NC State. Akron , Chuckie? You still the man? At least Big John lost to a ranked team. Give Herb a call to see how he likes the dry heat of the desert. It will still be considerably cooler than the white-hot blast furnace he experienced at State. Any cool breezes wafting through the Murphy Center these days?

It was a lost day for football in the state of North Carolina . The only one in that state to win was Wake Forest , and that was primarily because they had the good fortune of Duke showing up on the schedule. Wake again prevailed in the annual battle for the Powder Puff, but just barely. The Deacs proved once again that it is impossible to play a football game where both teams lose.

Even the Panthers did their part. All of that Super Bowl talk seemed to end at the exact instant the Falcons and Mike took the field at BoA Stadium.

Once again, football in NC is basically being written off by the middle of September. The good old N&O obviously knew what they were doing with all of those basketball stories last week. There should be an avalanche of ones this week about Ol’ Roy, Coach K and El Sid. Big John will be lucky to rate a couple of paragraphs as he prepares his charges for that big revenge game against I-AA Furman.

It would seem Little Johnny Swofford knew what he was doing when he pushed so hard for ACC expansion. A glance at the standings seems to confirm that he got the right teams, although Deems May obviously would have preferred the Orangepersons.

That would have been a bit closer than 35-10, although the heat generated from the empty aluminum seats not filled by all of those thousands of Tech fans would have caused those pines behind Kenan Stadium to burst into flames from spontaneous combustion and created such a glare for miles around Kenan that pilots at RDU would have been blinded and crashed their planes. The control tower at RDU will obviously hope for a cloudy day this Saturday for the Furman game. Of course, Deems May would have been a much happier bitter, small-minded person, certainly worth some scorched earth around Kenan and hundreds of lives lost at RDU.

There was lot of business as usual last Saturday. Virginia Tech showed that while, at least until the offense gains more experience, this is the worst Tech team since 2001 or maybe 1997, they still had plenty to romp over Carolina . For their part, the NC schools sure demonstrated why they play in a basketball state. Atta boy, Big John and you, too, Chuckie.

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