The Butch Davis era was one that most Browns fans would love to forget. Sure, he lead the team to a 7-9 record during his first year as the head coach, and then improved that to a 9-7 mark with a spot in the playoffs. PLAYOFFS!?
We then had our first taste of a quarterback controversy with Timmy Tears and Kelly Holcomb; Holcomb ultimately won the starting gig. In 2003, that 9-7 record turned into a 5-11 with trouble brewing. The year 2004 rolled around and Davis signed the “savior” Jeff Garcia, cut our former first overall selection, and threw in the towel after a 3-8 start. He wound up with a Cleveland career record of 24-35, and left Cleveland with some other formidable memories.
After taking some time off as an analyst for the NFL Network and sipping mai tai’s thanks to a multi-million dollar deal with Cleveland, Davis found a home back in the college circuit with the virtually unknown North Carolina Tar Heels. Thick in the heart of basketball country, Davis took on a team that amassed one winning season in the six prior to his arrival.
Rumors of Butch bailing on UNC a year later would only firm up his belief in a team that he took under his wing. Agreeing to a contract extension (Butch seemed to have a knack for those), Davis entered 2008 with a Bowl game in his sites. “Bowl game” is something that hasn’t exactly been synonymous with North Carolina Football since the turn of the century. And as of right now, Davis is blowing these goals out of the water as he is not only set up for a bowl game. His Tar Heel team is looking to actually win the ACC as they are fresh off of a huge win over Georgia Tech, and wrap up this year’s season against Maryland, N.C. State and Duke.
While the ACC isn’t exactly the football hotbed, there are other teams that pack a punch. Clemson was forecasted to win the conference. And we cannot count out Florida State, Boston College, Wake Forest, Virgina Tech and the powerhouse formerly known as Miami – his old stomping grounds.
And sure, any of the three remaining opponents of the Heels could pull off an upset. However, if they run the table – as they should – North Carolina would be set to play in an actual BCS Bowl (the Orange Bowl); something that even the biggest of Heel fans likely didn’t see coming.
And of course, Davis is now rumored to be in the mix for jobs in Tennessee (which he has stated as having no interest).
And with all of this said, it’s pretty obvious that Davis will not be returning to the NFL any time soon. Like many coaches before him (in basketball as well), the NCAA and NFL rarely provide equal success. But even given the feel-good story which I briefly laid before you, I struggle to root for Davis. Do I want his team to do well? Sure, it’s not their fault that their coach set my favorite NFL franchise back a few years thanks to terrible scouting/drafting (Gerard Warren, Quincy Morgan, James Jackson, William Green…)
But am I alone? What are your sentiments when you see a Butch-led team climb the ranks the way that UNC has? Am I out of line to still hold a small grudge against a guy who did ultimately land us Kellen Winslow?
Take it from here. When you’re flipping through the channels on a Saturday afternoon and see UNC on top of their opponent, do you grit your teeth or just continue flipping?