Thanksgiving is tomorrow, which is super cool. I like eating too much food, and the Panthers have afternoon passes for Jerry World Thursday, which is also super cool. Before you get to the food (look at you, you glutton) and football, check our weekly roundup of North Carolina’s best sportswriting:
As I mentioned, the Panthers play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving — the first time in the franchise’s history that they’ve played on Turkey Day. And leave it to none other than Ed Hardin to properly contextualize just how cool of a moment this is: The 10-0 Panthers, with their MVP-candidate quarterback, playing in front of the entire nation.
It’s Rivalry Week in the Triangle (duh, dude), which means we get our annual matchup of NC State and UNC on the gridiron. In the recent past, this game has been a true triple threat, in like a flagship-y kinda way. But, as Luke DeCock writes for the News and Observer, the 2015 Pack-Heels showdown in Raleigh has less chatter surrounding it than in previous years.
Perhaps the most clever sports-related thing I read this week — Steve McPherson for the New Yorker: “Now Streaming: The Golden State Warriors.” Spoiler alert: Things won’t end well for James Michael McAdoo. RIP, dawg.
(For the record, McPherson can be found on Twitter @steventurous; he’s good follow for NBA fans.)
I grew up a fan of the Carolina Panthers, so at this point my fandom is more chemical addiction than it is a fun thing to do on Sundays; the undefeated record is just a relief, if I’m being honest. However, it’s cool for me to see NFL fans and more casual viewers take an interest in the Pcats — who, according to DJ Gallo at the Guardian, could be the most likable NFL team of the last 30 years. Thank you, Based Cam Newton.
It’s been a nice start to the 2015-16 season for the Charlotte Hornets; they’re 8-6 — 7th place in the relatively flat Eastern Conference — and currently boast the No. 4 offense in the NBA — something that would’ve seemed fictional at any point in time the previous two seasons. And here’s some more good news: our man Rick Bonnell at the Charlotte Observer had the scoop this morning that the team and third-year coach Steve Clifford have agreed to a multi-year extension.
(Stat Boi note: I love this move; Clifford is a good coach, who’s willing to adapt his style to his personnel, which is a necessity, in my opinion. He also has this team poised for their second playoff run in three seasons.)
All season long, Hayes Permar and I have discussed how big of a deal it would be for the Panthers if they could get some production out of rookie WR Devin Funchess — like 60-70 percent of what Kelvin Benjamin produced in 2014. Well, the last three games seem to have been somewhat of a revelation — and as Funchess tells Jonathan Jones at the Charlotte Observer, expect more of the same going forward.