Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Watch North-South coaches pick off Top 25 players

With the state of North Carolina having more than twice the population of South Carolina, it seems odd that S.C. has such a significant winning margin in the Shrine Bowl (40-27-4). The North-South Game makes it odder still.

After the S.C. Shrine coaches select their rosters, coaches for the North and South teams cull through the leavings, and there are often some very good leavings.

A case in point is South Carolina commitment Eric Mack, No.4 on our S.C. Top 25 Prospects list but not on the Shrine roster, because the coaches are believed to have wanted smaller, quicker linemen.

That means he’ll almost certainly play in the Myrtle Beach game on Dec. 12 instead.

And he’ll be unavailable should any Shrine team members get hurt, which happens to at least a couple each year.

North Carolina
has no such game grabbing the next 90 or so players.

“It’s a disadvantage for us,” says S.C. head coach Lewis Lineberger. “It makes it awful tough when it comes to getting replacement players. But that’s just the way it is.”

And somehow, some way, South Carolina continues to beat N.C. with regularity.

I have a nagging feeling that prep football is a bigger deal south of our border—North Carolina is considered by many to be a basketball state (look at all those collegiate national titles), and there may be something to that.

--Stan Olson

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