What a merry time of year. You get days off from work, assuming you’re employed, yet still keep your job. You feel relatively free to eat too much and binge on sports viewing, and even have time to share a word or two with loved ones and friends during commercials.
But care is required. Holiday cheer can quickly dissipate if you dwell on the content of year-end wrapups, or predictions for the presidential election year to come. Best to maintain the balanced perspective of the headline writer who offered a few months back: “Conference races could heat up or cool off.”
Tough to argue that one.
In a less equivocal vein, we offer the following about the year in sports, with a heavy accent on recent doings in North Carolina and the ACC:
1. When Duke appeared in the Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday, it became the fifth North Carolina school to play football at Yankee Stadium. Which program has made the most appearances at the New York Yankees’ home since breaking the ice in 1936, when it defied a gentlemen’s agreement among Southern schools by facing an NYU squad with a black player?
a) North Carolina
b) East Carolina
c) N.C. State
d) Wake Forest
2. Confronted by a scandalous situation that reflected poorly on him, who said grandly, “I do not fight these accusations by others, but rather turn the other cheek.”
a) Rick Pitino
b) Jim Christian
c) Greg Hardy
d) Lance Armstrong
3. During the 2015 regular season, which North Carolina public university spent the most per victory ($727,000) on football coaching staff salaries, according to USA Today?
a) North Carolina – 11 wins
b) Charlotte – 2 wins
c) N.C. State – 7 wins
d) East Carolina – 5 wins
4. What incident did not qualify among the most explosive football plays of 2015?
a) Georgia Tech gained its only ACC win by blocking a Florida State punt and returned it for the deciding score as time expired.
b) Miami Dolphin placekicker Garabo “Garo” Yepremian tried to salvage a blocked field goal by passing the ball, only to have it returned for a touchdown by Washington.
c) A violation-plagued, eight-lateral runback of a kickoff by Miami went for a last-gasp touchdown to defeat Duke in Durham.
d) New York Giant Jason Pierre-Paul, a franchise-quality defensive player, blew off part of his thumb and damaged two fingers in a fireworks mishap on Independence Day.
5. Who made this expression of contrition after his ill-advised acts attracted unaccustomed censure: “I own my choices both personally and now publicly. At this point I am cooperating and respecting the process I have to go through.”
a) Jameis Winston of Florida State.
b) Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.
c) Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants.
d) Jahlil Okafor of the Philadelphia 76ers.
6. Displeased with fan turnout at the Illinois game at Kenan Stadium early in the football season, North Carolina wide receiver Johnathan “Bug” Howard suggested doing what on the field at halftime to command attention?
a) Play a pickup basketball game.
b) Burn an effigy of former football assistant coach/agent John Blake.
c) Import an N.C. State emblem and stomp on it.
d) Host a closed session of the UNC Board of Governors.
7. Which statement does not belong among the year’s most embarrassing rushes to judgment by the ever-proliferating legion of experts on all things sports?
a) The Carolina Panthers were not as good a team as their early record indicated.
b) Notre Dame would again dominate ACC women’s basketball in its second conference season.
c) Dabo Sweeney’s powerful Tigers would inevitably fall prey to “Clemsoning,” and drop a game they should have won against a lesser opponent.
d) Alabama’s 6-point home loss to Mississippi in September marked the end of the Crimson Tide’s modern reign as the most consistently dominant program in college football.
8. Which was not among the most regrettable acts of the past year in sports?
a) England’s Laura Bassett scored an own goal that proved the difference in a 2-1 semifinal World Cup loss to Japan, which then dropped the final against the U.S women.
b) Unknown even to their own athletic director, Virginia Tech football coaches briefly withheld cost of attendance money from players as fines for internal disciplinary violations.
c) Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski insisted on starting three freshmen throughout the 2014-15 basketball season.
d) New British heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, asked about female boxers, said “a woman’s best place is in the kitchen and on her back.”
9. What dastardly deed did Panthers quarterback Cam Newton not commit in 2015?
a) Danced after he scored a touchdown.
b) Bragged he is “the straw that stirs the drink” for Carolina.
c) Pulled down a Green Bay Packers banner at Bank of America Stadium.
d) Handed out game balls to young Panthers fans following offensive touchdowns.
10. With 40 bowl games, the football world is scrambling for participants with decent records, as well as for sponsoring products (Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas), places (Music City), purposes (Liberty) and produce (Famous Idaho Potato). Which of the following is the real name of a bowl game involving a North Carolina team?
11. What was the emotional highlight of the year for N.C. State fans convinced the cosmic deck is stacked against them?
a) Nick Gwiazdowski won his second NCAA heavyweight wrestling title.
b) The football squad made its second straight bowl appearance under coach Dave Doeren.
c) The men’s basketball team, en route to its fourth NCAA bid in coach Mark Gottfried’s four seasons, defeated Duke and North Carolina.
d) Veteran referee and Wolfpack bête noire Karl Hess was fired by the ACC after making an ethnic comment to a well-heeled booster seated courtside at a Wake Forest game in Winston-Salem.
12. Former Florida State quarterback Danny Kanell accused “concussion alarmists” and the “liberal media” of initiating which hostilities?
a) War on drugs.
b) War on football.
c) War on Christmas.
d) Receiver Odell Beckham Jr.’s personal war on Carolina cornerback Josh Norman.
13. The figure 10,000,000 has been much in the news, and not just because that’s now the estimated North Carolina population. Of the following sports-related items, which was not valued around $10,000,000 this past year?
a) Naming rights for ACC Coach of the Year awards in basketball and football.
b) Amount attorney claimed Hornets owner Michael Jordan’s name was worth for marketing purposes. (A jury settled on $8.9 million.)
c) Legal and public relations costs incurred by UNC-Chapel Hill for handling of the neverending academic/athletic scandal centered on phantom classes.
d) ACC-leading approximate combined annual salaries of Florida State football coaching staff.
14. Which is not among 2015’s most daring personnel moves in the North Carolina collegiate ranks?
a) Wake Forest hired corruption-tainted former Michigan player Chris Webber to start next fall as a masters-level professor teaching on sports, race and society.
b) North Carolina hired Gene Chizik, shadowed by rumors of NCAA missteps, as its defensive coordinator even as the athletic program underwent an extensive NCAA investigation and recovered from a previous probation.
c) East Carolina jettisoned head football coach Ruffin McNeill, an alum and former player, despite an overall winning record (42-34) and four bowl appearances in six seasons.
d) N.C. State added retired basketball coach Gary Williams – who famously feuded with AD Debbie Yow at Maryland – as its new senior associate athletic director.
1 (a); 2 (a); 3 (c); 4 (b); 5 (d); 6 (a); 7 (b); 8 (c); 9 (b); 10 (c); 11 (d); 12 (b); 13 (a); 14 (d)