Welcome back to Three Downs and Punt, the "Please put down your brackets for five minutes and read this" edition.
In the state of my birth and current residence, North Carolina, opening weekend of the NCAA tournament is always an exciting time, especially when three of the four Tobacco Road schools are in action. But the state's self-declared flagship university is still reeling from Monday's NCAA bombshell, and the results could give us a hint about what's to come for other schools facing potential sanctions.
First down: The UNC effect
Here in Charlotte, known by some as Chapel Hill South, there is still much outward bitterness and anger after the NCAA tossed a stack of penalties atop the North Carolina Tar Heels' football program. The hammer -- three years probation, 2012 postseason ban and loss of 15 scholarships over three years -- was about what some, including me, expected but clearly much worse than those around the program had anticipated.
But mixed in with the disappointment has also been a chorus of sighs of relief that nearly two years of living in the cold, dark shadow cast down from Indianapolis has finally transformed into actual sanctions instead of speculation.