If you didn’t think that it’s time for UNC Football to take center stage, the picture above should have changed your mind. North Carolina of the ACC will face off with #6/7 South Carolina of the SEC in the first game of the 2013 NCAA football season. It’s “The Border War”, it’s this and that, and in a nut shell, it’s what we have been waiting for all year long!
While a loss would be a lot more devastating for the Gamecocks, make no mistake, the win is needed by both schools just as much. The hosts need to start off hot to show their ranking is not a mistake, while the guests need an out of conference signature win; Middle Tennessee State or East Carolina really do not fit that description. Without a doubt it would be a lot more surprising to see the Tar Heels in the lead when the final whistle blows, but do not discount UNC, this is the first game of the season and anything could happen. Isn’t that why they play the game?
Many talk about history, and how South Carolina has won 13 home openers in a row. But we all know that in sports, history is great to talk about, but what happens on the field tomorrow night will not be associated in any way with what has happened in Williams-Brice Stadium for the last several seasons. Each game is a shell in time, on to itself.
What will matter today, when the two squads meet on the field is what will the UNC offense do to stop Heisman hopeful Jadeveon Clowney, and what will the South Carolina D have worked up to stop Bryn Renner and the furious paced Heels. History won’t mean anything if UNC’s fast offense keeps the opposition on their (no put intended) heels. And the past won’t have anything to do if UNC’s D can not come up big when needed in the game.
Games go down in history, but they are played in the time you watch them. And what we watch tomorrow could go many different ways. Here are some of the keys for the game to me…
- Renner must step it up and get the offense going from the first drive to the last one. He is a senior, he must act like it, and lead the offensive side of the squad.
- Points can not be left on the field. UNC can not afford to go into the red zone and stall, settling for 3 points. Any turnovers must be converted into points by the Tar Heels.
- The UNC defense can not be a liability. If they can keep pace, without making huge mistakes, and make South Carolina work for first downs and points, they could help the offense a lot.
In the end, while I will hold out hope, I see the Gamecocks as a better team compared to the Tar Heels. Both squads still have many kinks to work out, who does not in week one of the season, but overall, I believe that the host team will take this one. The Vegas insiders have the spread at a dozen and a half points, and I think that it’s right about where I see the margin, with the UNC Football squad going down by the final of 35 to 24, in a game where the Heels have nothing to be ashamed of. On the other side I would not be shocked if the Heels won. As I said at the beginning, that is why they play the games!