Welcome to this week’s installment of the Game of the Week GameDay Guide which features an ACC matchup between North Carolina State and North Carolina. This is the ninth edition of the Game of the Week GameDay Guide and will continue each week for the rest of the 2010 football season.
This week’s GameDay guide travels to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home of the Tar Heels as they take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack in the Battle for Tobacco Road. Both schools are located in the research triangle district of North Carolina, along with Duke University, and the schools are less than 25 miles apart, intensifying the rivalry. Even the student-run campus newspaper staff competes in a flag football game on Friday prior to the Carolina-State game. So much tradition, pride and in-state bragging rights is on the line during rivalry games and this week in Chapel Hill should be no different.
The game will be played at Kenan Memorial Stadium on North Carolina’s campus nestled among the pine trees. Some claim that the stadium is not permitted to expand vertically, becoming taller than the pine trees. Mel Kiper of ESPN.com has ranked Kenan as the third most scenic stadium in college football calling it, “a picture postcard setting any time of year.” Kenan Memorial Stadium was constructed in 1927 and currently has a capacity of 60,000. The largest crowd ever to attend a Tar Heels football game at Kenan was in 1997 when the Florida State Seminoles came to town.
The University of North Carolina is a storied institution with many proud traditions. UNC’s mascot, a ram, is one of those traditions. With the team name being the Tar Heels, a ram may seem unusual as the mascot. Rameses, the name of the official mascot, has graced the sideline of Heels games since 1924. The school decided it was in need of a mascot, since rival North Carolina State had a wolf on the sideline of its games, and “ram” was the nickname of star fullback Jack Merritt representing the way he attacked the lines. Rameses the First made his debut in 1924 against heavily favored Virginia Military Institute. The teams were scoreless late in the fourth and just before UNC field goal kicker attempted the game winning kick he rubbed Rameses for good luck. The kick was good and the mascot has been a permanent fixture at UNC since.
Chapel Hill, North Carolina is a beautiful place filled with school spirit, pride and a love for all things Carolina blue. Their disdain for instate rival, North Carolina State, should make for an exciting GameDay in Chapel Hill and with State’s campus being so close, Kenan Stadium should have a full house. College football fans in the Tar Heel State will not want to miss out on this exciting match-up between ACC rivals as each team desires to reign supreme among Tobacco Road schools.