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UNC football has most fan support in state, according to updated New York Times map

UNC sold out its second game of the season, a “stripe out” against San Diego State, and the game this weekend at Kenan Stadium, against Virginia Tech, is a sell out, too.
UNC sold out its second game of the season, a “stripe out” against San Diego State, and the game this weekend at Kenan Stadium, against Virginia Tech, is a sell out, too. Andrew Carter - acarter@newsobserver.com

So this is an updated, refreshed version of something I wrote earlier: North Carolina has the most fan support of any college football team in the state, according to an updated map that the New York Times posted on its website on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, the Times posted a version of the map that didn’t include UNC.

So you can disregard just about everything below, though I’ll leave it up for the sake of posterity:

Those maps using Facebook “likes” to convey a region's affinity for something sports-related – favorite NFL teams , most popular Major League Baseball teams – are all the rage these days.

The New York Times published one on its website on Friday that aims to show “how the country roots for college football.” It says, “With data based on Facebook ‘likes,' we estimated the boundaries of fandom for 82 teams.”

One North Carolina school, though, is completely absent from North Carolina's portion of the map. That school: North Carolina, which, according to the New York Times, doesn't register among the top three favorite college football teams in any zip code in the state.

(UPDATE: The Times says the data it had for North Carolina was incorrect due to a Facebook coding error, and that an updated map will be released soon.)

It's very odd. Granted, UNC fans aren't known for their rabid football support but the support isn't so poor that UNC would rank behind the likes of N.C. State, Duke, East Carolina and Wake Forest in every single zip code in the state. It makes no sense.

Then again, UNC is mentioned in the text that goes along with the graphic (now removed):

“North Carolina and Virginia are notable for faring poorly. In the map above, Virginia has a relatively small patch compared with the more successful Virginia Tech. And North Carolina doesn't control even a single ZIP code. They instead yield to Duke, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and East Carolina, even though none are a football powerhouse.”

I don't know about that. Even in the zip code that's home to UNC's campus, UNC is nowhere to be found. Strange, indeed.

All fun and games, too, until Dave Doeren approaches a recruit with this data and says, “See, son – says right here, just like I was telling you: not one zip code in the state roots on the Tar Heels.”

I've emailed the editor of the package to see if there’s an explanation. (And there is. Incorrect Facebook data.)

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Andrew Carter is the UNC athletics beat reporter for The News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer. Follow him on Twitter at @_andrewcarter .

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