By all accounts (except personal observation) the days are getting longer. The turn toward more daylight brings a wave of intraleague ACC basketball, a gush of bowl games, final jockeying for NFL playoff berths, and a rush to make that last payment to secure seating privileges before the tax deduction is eliminated.
We bid farewell to a year in which two of North Carolina’s three major league franchises are up for sale, two Carolinas-based college squads won NCAA championships in the big-money sports and neutralizing HB2 allowed our state to resume a place among the ranks of the tolerant. Multimillion-dollar indoor football practice facilities popped up at FBS schools as though we live in a snow-beset region, and multimillion-dollar campus TV studios became de rigueur for ACC schools eager to board the wobbling ESPN gravy train.
Plenty of entertaining truths and oddities came to our attention as well, a few of them commemorated in this fourth-annual year-ending quiz.
1) N.C. State’s All-American defensive end Bradley Chubb unavailingly tried to distract Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant during a Tiger victory by performing what precious mind-game while on the field?
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a. Snatched a towel from Bryant’s waistband three different times.
b. Tied Bryant’s shoelaces together during a pileup.
c. Yanked down the quarterback’s pants.
d. Stuck his tongue out, placed his thumbs in the earholes of his helmet, and flapped his fingers.
2) There’s an opportunity to be had filling a museum with statues of tarnished heroes that have been, or will soon be, removed from their places of honor. Which of these sculpted tributes doesn’t belong in the collection:
a. Joe Paterno
b. Robert Lee
c. Jerry Richardson
d. Arnold Palmer
3) Speaking at halftime of a UNC-Duke basketball game, Tar Heels alum Michael Jordan announced Carolina’s football team would wear Jordan Brand gear and famously intoned, “The ceiling is the roof!” What did he mean?
a. The dome of the Smith Center is leaking.
b. When standing on his head, everything looks upside down.
c. No one knows.
d. The sky’s the limit.
4) What ACC men’s program has missed the NCAA tournament for the past eight years, the longest ongoing drought among conference members?
a. Boston College
b. Virginia Tech
c. Georgia Tech
5) This erstwhile role model extolled aspiration and perseverance in a talk at a Florida elementary school. Repeatedly accused of sexual assault, he also perhaps revealed his underlying attitude toward female submissiveness when he told the youngsters that boys should be strong and “the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle.” He is:
a. Donald Trump
b. Jameis Winston
c. Harvey Weinstein
d. Jerry Sandusky
6) Last January, a former ACC starter had his eyeball popped out by an accidental blow while playing for a team in New Zealand. Who was this unfortunate league alum, later treated for his injury upon returning to the U.S.?
a. Merl Code, Clemson
b. Jon Scher, Duke
c. Akil Mitchell, Virginia
d. Hawkeye Whitney, N.C. State
7) As Louisville finished an NCAA baseball tournament victory over in-state rival Kentucky, what did Cardinals fans chant to vex the losers?
a. Our coaches only cheat on their wives!
b. Christian Laettner! Christian Laettner!
c. Red is prettier than blue!
d. ACC! ACC!
8) Which ACC women’s program has suffered a 29-year absence from NCAA tournament participation?
a. Boston College.
b. Georgia Tech.
c. Virginia Tech.
d. Wake Forest.
9. Asked about the failure of any NFL team to hire Colin Kaepernick, instigator of sideline protests against mistreatment of African-Americans by police, which league insider demurred on judging the quarterback’s qualifications, proclaiming, “I’m not a football expert”?
a. Forgotten comedian and former Monday Night Football commentator Dennis Miller.
b. Any general manager, past or present, of the Cleveland Browns.
c. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
d. Retired quarterback Terry Bradshaw.
10) Which former N.C. State head coach is currently directing the program at Santa Clara University?
a. Sidney Lowe.
b. Mark Gottfried.
c. Les Robinson.
d, Herb Sendek.
11) Now that the Carolina Panthers are for sale, and the team is potentially a free agent, where is the most fitting place for the franchise to be located?
b. Spartanburg, S.C.
d. Hartford, Conn.
12) John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza, blamed a decline in company sales on the NFL’s tolerance of players kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. The company later apologized for divisiveness when informed Pizza Hut and similar firms sponsoring NFL games had seen upticks in sales. On what school’s board of trustees does Schnatter, a Ball State grad removed last week as Papa John’s CEO, currently serve as vice chair?
a. Bob Jones.
c. Ball State.
d. Florida State.
13) Clemson men’s basketball teams have defeated North Carolina 20 times in 151 meetings since January 15, 1926, but never in Chapel Hill. On Jan. 16, 2018 the Tigers visit the Smith Center for the first time in two years. How many consecutive losses does Clemson have on UNC’s home courts?
14. The University of North Carolina will forever be regarded as a favored athletic program that finessed the NCAA system to get away with cheating via bogus classes. Coming on the heels of a probation earlier in the decade for football shenanigans with agents, this “abysmal” situation led University of Maryland president Wallace Loh to suggest consideration of the so-called “death penalty” for UNC. Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams diplomatically demurred, calling Loh:
a. Sadly mistaken.
b. Well-meaning but misguided.
c. A “double idiot”.
d. An ACC traitor.
15) Displaying typical modesty, this sexual exploiter of at least one woman (acknowledged, not convicted) was rewarded earlier this month by having not one, but two jersey numerals retired in his honor. He is:
a. Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
a. Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens.
c. Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys.
d. Kobe Bryant of the L.A. Lakers.
16) Last summer, after a violent attack by white supremacists in the streets of Charlottesville, Va., ESPN took what courageous step to embrace diversity and sound journalistic principles?
a. Played an instrumental version of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” for a month at the start of its football broadcasts.
b. Took an announcer named Robert Lee off a telecast of the University of Virginia’s home football opener.
c. Hosted halftime discussions of growing racial segregation in America’s primary and secondary schools.
d. Had former N.C. A&T State quarterback Jesse Jackson as a guest commentator on three consecutive weekends of college football TV games.
ANSWERS: 1 (a); 2 (d); 3 (d); 4 (a); 5 (b ); 6 (c); 7 (b); 8 (d); 9 (c); 10 (d); 11 (a); 12 (b); 13 (c); 14 (c); 15 (d); 16 (b)