With only one more day to leave an impression on Santa that determines whether or not you get a lump of coal in the form of crippling NCAA sanctions or that shiny new Red Ryder BB Gun of a program changing bowl victory, here’s how things stand …
The Nice List
The emotional leader of the Duke Blue Devils, for better or worse during his four years in Durham, was desperate to avoid the distinction of becoming the 2nd four year player to leave Duke under Coach K without an ACC or NCAA championship ring. While it would have been easy for Cook to try to do it all on his own, his willingness to defer to true freshman Tyus Jones in crunch time was likely the catalyst that propelled Duke to a 5th National Championship, and Cook’s first banner.
When North Carolina football fell flat on its face towards the end of the 2014 season, it was obvious that the defense was in need of serious repair. Chizik was hired early in 2015 in a move that was regarded as a great hire that would pay dividends in a few seasons when he would finally be able to implement his style of play. No one expected UNC’s defense to go from disgustingly awful to above average in one season, but they did, and that improvement was good enough for an 11-2 record and a spot in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
The Carolina Panthers
Even though the national media is working hard to paint the Panthers as a traditionally dirty, bat-wielding band of hooligans, Greg Olsen is a finalist for the NFL Man of the Year Award, Cam Newton is consistently making headlines for his work in the community, and they’re on the verge of becoming the first team since the ’72 Dolphins to go undefeated during the regular season without cheating.
The ACC won’t be coming back to Greensboro any time soon, which is a total shame when you consider how much that city embraces the event. The arena staff is second to none, you can’t go anywhere without being chatted up about the tournament by a restaurant hostess, gas station cashier, or Uber driver, and because there’s not much to do in Greensboro, the arena and surrounding restaurants become an ACC community for the entire week. The town put on an amazing event in 2015, just like they always do.
Over the past year, somehow, some way, Steph Curry has become the most popular basketball player on the planet. We always knew he was incredible, but the way in which he keeps improving is downright frightening. The best thing about Curry? He’s seemingly backlash-proof.
The Duke/Carolina basketball pregame
There’s no shortage of hate in the Duke/Carolina rivalry, and with the NCAA mess and Duke’s latest run of success on the court and in recruiting, things seem to have really ramped up on the Chapel Hill side of things recently. While all goodwill pretty much faded with a commanding UNC performance and a furious Duke comeback, before the game, Duke fans made and distributed “Dean” t-shirts to honor the passing of the legendary Dean Smith, and the teams shared a genuine, touching moment of silence before tipoff. It was a rare reminder that we can all actually behave during rivalry games.
The Naughty List
There’s really not enough room to talk about how bad ACC officiating has been, and the negative impacts its had on teams in North Carolina. Just know that you’re the worst, ACC referees. You get nothing for Christmas.
The Carolina Hurricanes Front Office
Give us a hockey team again, please. And don’t float this garbage about relocation out there either like anyone in any city would pay to see the product that’s put on the ice every night. North Carolina fans don’t have to have a Staal or a Ward on the roster to buy tickets. We’re not dumb. Build around the youth, move overpaid “stars”, and build this franchise back up again.
Sure, you hired a super person as your new head coach, but let’s not forget that you fired a super person to get him. And the guy you fired also happens to be a proven head coach who also happens to have graduated from East Carolina. It’s extremely hard to cheer against Scottie Montgomery, but it’s pretty easy to hope this blows up in Compher’s face.
“Tweet at recruit” Guy
Smith. Brandon. Bam. Harry. And many, many more. So many elite NC recruits this year, and so many of them had multiple NC teams in their final list. From fans begging recruits to come to their school to wishing injuries on them when they don’t, North Carolina saw our fair share of Twitter nastiness on display. Talking to you too, assistant basketball coach who subtweets recruits who chose to play elsewhere.
Whoever is in charge of the ACC broadcast agreements