CHAPEL HILL — Three North Carolina-related things to think about on this gray morning from Chapel Hill:
Without even doing much of anything, really, you could make an argument that North Carolina further separated itself from the rest of the ACC over the weekend. The No. 3 Tar Heels coasted to an 83-60 victory against Boston College on Saturday. If anything, the 23-point margin of victory was less than most would have expected.
But look around the rest of the conference: Georgia Tech has been one of the worst teams in the ACC and has lost this season against Mercer and Fordham. But the Yellow Jackets gave Duke all it could handle in Atlanta. Florida State, which many thought would be one of the best teams in the ACC, lost by 20 at Clemson, which hasn't played well all season. And Virginia, off to its best start since the Ralph Sampson era, barely held on for a 52-51 victory at home against Miami.
Parity has been the norm in the ACC for a while now and the league’s coaches have successfully attributed that to the fact that there have been lots of good teams with good players. But that explanation won't hold up this season. Let’s face it: Some of the conference’s teams have been awful. Georgia Tech loses to Mercer and Fordham, but has a chance to beat Duke? Clemson loses to a bad Hawaii team, and a bad South Carolina team, among others, but beats Florida State by 20?
After one weekend of ACC play, you have to be even more convinced than you might have been before that UNC should dominate the league. The question isn’t when the Tar Heels might lose, but when they might fail to win an ACC game by double-digits.
In case you missed it, the NCAA over the weekend granted UNC fullback Devon Ramsay a hardship waiver that gives him another year of eligibility. Ramsay was one of many Tar Heels football players who found themselves ensnared in the NCAA investigation into academic fraud and impermissible benefits.
He missed the final nine games of the 2010 season after the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible for receiving help on a paper from the tutor Jennifer Wiley. Then, last February, the NCAA cleared him of wrong doing. Ramsay returned only to suffer a season-ending knee injury in the Tar Heels’ first game of the 2011 season.
Without being around to cover this story from start to finish, this seems like the right call. Ramsay missed more than 75 percent of the 2010 season after the NCAA incorrectly declared him permanently ineligible.
If you were at the basketball game on Saturday, you probably noticed the halftime ceremony when UNC officials honored former athletic director Dick Baddour. Before heading to the locker room, Roy Williams took the microphone and said some nice things about Baddour – a nice gesture.
But what about Holden Thorp being booed? Yes, when the UNC chancellor was introduced to the crowd at the start of the ceremony for Baddour, the crowd booed Thorp. It wasn’t overwhelming. It didn’t last long. But it was definitely noticeable.
Obviously, people are still upset with Thorp because he fired Butch Davis. But he also helped hire Bubba Cunningham, who hired Larry Fedora. UNC’s new football coach, Fedora has the difficult task of moving the football program out of the scandal-marred Davis era. Isn’t it time the fan base moves on, too?