Fourth and Long

Published 12:08 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I have several thoughts regarding sports I wanted to cover today, so I am thinking it might be time for one of my traditional rant and rave columns.

In fact let’s go ahead and get started.

If I am a college football recruiter and I know I am up against N.C. State, my job has gotten significantly easier this year. What talented football player with options is going to choose N.C. State over the likes of UNC, Duke, Wake Forest or ECU?

I can hear the speech from the UNC recruiter now…”young man, we sent 15 of our best players into the NFL last year. N.C. State sent their best player to Wisconsin. Where do you want to go?”

I had the opportunity to join fellow Roanoke-Chowan Publications stars Thadd White and Patrick Bryant at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the ECU-Carolina game. Tailgating in Greenville has always been fun and this year was no exception. Carolina fans came out in droves and the Pirate fans were gracious hosts.

The most entertaining portion of the entire evening may have been the pregame introductions on the video board which included the introduction of a housecat into the ECU starting lineup…..seriously.  It was only on the screen for about one second, however, it was there. Does anyone know the story on that or did anyone else see it?

Speaking of UNC, interim head coach Everett Withers has done a fine job stepping in for former Tar Heel skipper and current ESPNU color analyst Butch Davis. UNC has some question marks, primarily in their secondary, however, they currently sit at 4-1 as they head into the meat of their schedule.

As far as the ACC goes, Clemson continues to impress which is a surprise to few while Florida State and Virginia Tech continue to disappoint which is a surprise to even less. They are overrated and overhyped.

The surprise for me thus far has been the play of Duke. The Blue Devils are on a three-game winning streak and I can honestly say that I don’t remember having ever said that.

The truth is that Duke is one of the better coached teams in the ACC and while they may not have the talent level of some of the conference’s bigger “powerhouses,” it was only going to be a few years before David Cutcliffe had the Blue Devils ready to make some noise and start winning some games.

A question was asked to me by a co-worker the other day and I am still not sure of the answer. He asked me if I thought that this might be Nick Saban’s best team at Alabama. I don’t know if it is or not, however, it does not bode well for the SEC or the remainder of the country that the question is even being asked. The Tide are good…real good.

David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publishing. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at