Florida State travels to Chapel Hill for the first Thursday night football game in Chapel Hill history — part of coach Butch Davis’ plan to raise a giant of a program.

The drama surrounding the game ranges from where the heck people are going to park to whether enough students will show up. Oh yeah, and then there is the whole not having an offense issue, which should work out since Florida State has the whole not having a defense thing.

Not many students I’ve spoken to seem keen on staying in town for the game with the freedom of fall break interfering. That and a less than thrilling game-day experience this season (where are the flyovers?) combined to lower fan enthusiasm from last season, in my opinion.

But here comes Bobby … Bowden that is. The media and Florida State big shots have all taken shots at Bowden so far this season, but don’t let that fool you. Bowden’s crew will be ready to rain on the Thursday night propaganda, er … I mean opportunity, for Davis to show the merits of his program on national television.

Tuesday’s links follow the jump:

  • The Heels lost depth at the running back position as A.J. Blue and Jamal Womble both suffered season-ending injuries against Georgia Southern. Neither Blue nor Womble were high on the depth chart but should either Shaun Draughn or Ryan Houston get hurt, UNC’s struggling rushing attack will take giant steps backward.
  • ESPN’s ACC Blogger named UNC defensive end Robert Quinn the defensive MVP of the league so far. Quinn recorded seven sacks through the first six games and led the No. 1-rated defense in the ACC. Quinn and the whole defensive line are a big reason why UNC has allowed the third fewest yards per game in the entire nation just behind big shots Alabama and Florida.
  • The offensive line desperately needed this bye week to regain its health and get ready for the second half of the season after disappointing games against Georgia Tech and Virginia. Guard Jonathan Cooper, who returned to the lineup against Georgia Southern, spoke to www.TarHeelBlue.com about how important the bye week was mentally and physically.
  • If you respect Bowden as I do, then this statement from him that Davis will compete for championships is an eye opener. I agree that if recruiting continues to head in the current direction, the Heels can compete for the ACC championship — as long as some of the offensive players start to develop. Davis can put stellar defenses on the field consistently, but there hasn’t been a UNC skill player recruited by Davis who developed into a star yet.
  • ACCSports.com still thinks highly of UNC despite the 0-2 conference start. Fifth is way too high for a team winless in the conference, especially when ranked ahead of a team that beat them on the road (Virginia) and three teams that beat N.C. State. Fortunately, UNC’s six conferences games remaining give it ample opportunity to prove its place in the conference. A win Thursday night would go a long way.
  • In basketball news, former coach Bill Guthridge told the N&O he regrets giving Roy Williams the silent treatment after he decided to remain in Kansas following Guthridge’s retirement. From all I’ve read about Williams’ decision to stay at Kansas, the more and more I blame the UNC athletic department for feeling it was a done deal. Current Bobcats coach Larry Brown was also given a raw deal simply because the administration expected Williams to return. Some food for thought: Brown could be coaching for the Heels if the situation played out differently. Of course, this is from Williams’ perspective in “Going home again: Roy Williams, the North Carolina Tar Heels, and a season to remember” by Adam Lucas.