I promise you, as a North Carolinian, none of you feel any worse about this game than I do.
It will be a painful morning at church and week at work (expect 2-15-1 to be said by me about 100 times this week).
But as nauseating as this feels in the short-term, in the big picture, it should actually be what we all expected.
Perspective No. 1: I wonder if any of us feel worse than fans of the home team in this loss?
Yes, in season No. 1, the great Nick Saban LOST AT HOME to Louisiana-Monroe!
Did that mean the Saban system was flawed? No.
Did it mean he wasn't a good coach? No.
Did it cause all their recruits to bail? No.
All it meant was, you can't teach a team how to WIN in one season. You can't fix years of problems in just 8 games.
Yes, we could easily be 8-1 and in the Top 10, have locked up an ACC title game berth and feel "back."
But that "could" really isn't a "should."
Which brings me to Perspective No. 2: Let's go back to the pre-season win prediction chart.
The average of the predictions by people on this board was an 8-4 regular season.
I would submit that we will be favored to beat Clemson and Maryland and be a slight underdog to Florida.
Percentage wise, it will be something like 70 to beat Clemson, 65 to beat Maryland and 40 to beat Florida. That's 1.75 which would round up to 2 wins and ... TAH DAH! ... an 8-4 regular season.
Sure, it's disappointing to have missed a chance for much better, but it shouldn't be seen as an indictment of the entire system. Learning to COMPETE and learning to WIN our two different skills.
Once our players and coaches are fully immersed in the system, I believe we will EXPECT to win close games, rather than HOPE to win them.
But beyond intangibles, we still have tons of execution issues to address, as evidenced by last night.
Did we really think we would magically learn to not get beat deep after what happened last season?
Did we really think our receivers would magically learn to run crisp routes?
Etc. Etc. Etc.
It sucks to lose -- especially games we could or should have won. For me, it sucks to lose to UNC and N.C. State.
I'm sure it sucked to lose to Lousiana-Monroe.
And if next season or the next we are still going 7-5, 8-4, 9-3, then it's time to re-evaluate.
But right now, we are actually EXACTLY where most of us predicted we would be, even with really no luck at all.