Two boys are in the back yard playing football. Things get rough. Boy 1 says something mean about Boy 2's mom. Boy 2 yells back something equally bad about Boy 1's sister. Boy 1 throws a punch and the two are rolling around in the dirt.
The boys' mothers come out and break up the fight.
"Now, Everett, you apologize to Tom!"
Everett, with a smirk and not looking a bit sorry, says "Soooorry, Tom."
"Tom, apologize to Everett."
Tom, with fists balled and still shaking with rage, says "Sorry" through gritted teeth.
"Now you boys play nice."
That's basically what happened this week between North Carolina football coach Everett Withers and N.C. State football coach Tom O'Brien leading up to Saturday's rivalry game.
It started when Withers made some comments on Raleigh sports radio Wednesday about N.C. State's academics. Then O'Brien fired back, visibly upset, at a press conference the next day talking about UNC's academic violations.
Should Withers have said what he did? No. Should O'Brien have fought back? Probably not. But you know what? I love it. As a Carolina graduate, I love seeing the Tar Heel coach openly show his dislike for football rival N.C. State. (Notice I said "football rival.") After four years of watching Butch Davis downplay the game and proceed to lose, I'm glad there's some intensity coming into the game.
Then UNC chancellor Holden Thorp had to ruin it by calling and apologizing. N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson also apologized. C'mon, guys! This is a big rivalry. This is ACC football. It can use all the excitement it can get.
I believe the reason Carolina lost most of those games was because the State players were more excited about the game that the Tar Heels. Not this time. You'd better believe that the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack will both be fired up and ready to play at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Dust off your britches, boys, because UNC at N.C. State is going to get rough Saturday and it's going to be fun.