Let me start by telling you a story. My little brother is in school at East Carolina and was at a house party. A guy showed up with a UNC sticker on his car. The entire party commenced to literally flip his car.
This is a prime example of one of the greatest, purest things you can find: passion at a primal level. That level of anger and loathing towards Chapel Hill by ECU students is something that a great college football rivalry can be founded upon. Now am I suggesting that you flip a car with an East Carolina pirate sticker on it? Maybe.
I am saying that this is one of the reasons I love college football so much. NFL fans have long since worshipped the ground of a star athlete only to find him inking a signing bonus with an in-conference rival the next season. “The NFL is a business.” You hear that one a lot. College football fans are young, energetic, and often intoxicated enough to truly despise the other guy on an intimate and emotional level—comparable to a trip to the dentist. There’s no signing bonus that can take the place of that.
The moral to the story is that UNC and ECU have a simmering contention that is moving closer and closer to boiling over. What is the one thing holding the game against East Carolina being called an “in-state rival?” UNC’s dominance is. ECU hasn’t beaten Chapel Hill since 2007, getting outscored 108 to 54 in the last three games. You kind of need a back and forth repertoire to be a bonafide big-game.
The Pirates are situated right in the middle of #25 Louisville and #16 Virginia Tech. ECU is just looking for us to hit a lull following a big win against the Cardinals and before the win against the Hokies.