So began the buildup for the annual Chick fil-A opener, which features two ranked teams — and an appearance by ESPN’s College Gameday crew — for the third time in as many years.
The 21st-ranked Tigers and No. 18 Tar Heels will kick off the season at 7:12 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
That we know.
But questions abound for the team that wears Carolina blue. Because of the ongoing investigation into player-sports agent relations and academic improprieties, UNC faces the possibility of taking the field against LSU minus wide receiver Greg Little, defensive tackle Marvin Austin and others.
Little and Austin practiced with UNC’s second team throughout fall camp after being interviewed by NCAA officials about potentially inappropriate contact with a sports agent. Several other players are linked to the academic probe, but the school has not released names.
Davis provided no depth chart Monday for UNC’s weekly game notes, a departure from typical routine.
“Obviously, this game presents a lot of challenges regardless of what’s going on,” Davis said. “We’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for coach Les Miles and the LSU football team.”
At his weekly media luncheon, Miles said the turmoil in Chapel Hill would not affect LSU’s preparation.
“I recognize that North Carolina has NCAA issues. I can only tell you we’re planning to play their best players, and we’re planning to play a very quality football team. Whoever is there will certainly be representing a very good, very well-prepared, well-coached football team,” Miles said.
Davis said players who are certain to be held out before Friday will not travel to Atlanta. Athletic director Dick Baddour said the school is still investigating the academics side to the probe and would reveal its findings to the NCAA through the week for assistance in determining who could or couldn’t play.
Baddour said he and Chancellor Holden Thorp would be involved in the decisions, even if it comes just before kickoff.
Read on here….