Beware of the Dex.
That didn't take long.
North Carolina will square off with NC State on Jan. 26, 2013 in what is likely one of the best rivalry games between these two programs in two decades. But Dexter Strickland didn't want to wait that long to turn up the heat on the Wolfpack.
This little bit of "bulletin board material" was released by CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman:
They talk those guys up every single year and we beat them every single year. They are the least of our worries. Beat us one year and then they can talk smack. Until then, you can't put them in the mix.
Some will like that, and most will probably hate it. Personally, I love it.
This is a rivalry, folks. And for once, it has finally been renewed into something every bit as legitimate as the rivalry between Duke and North Carolina. Rivals are supposed to trash talk.
Heck, even Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski get into it from time to time.
This is what rivalries are supposed to be about. That is what makes them legendary. That's why Duke versus North Carolina is one of the most watched games every season.
Embrace this, people.
On top of that, Dex didn't say anything that wasn't based on reality—except maybe NC State getting talked up every year. The Tar Heels are 7-0 against the Wolfpack since Strickland enrolled at Chapel Hill.
Strickland's Smack Talk: Love It or Hate It??
Inside Carolina took it a step further on their Twitter feed:
#UNC is 37-11 vs. N.C. State during Dexter Strickland's lifetime. The Tar Heels are 19-1 vs. NCSU since Dex turned 13.— InsideCarolina (@InsideCarolina) October 19, 2012
I am well-aware of how good NC State potentially will be this year. I actually have UNC and NC State sharing the ACC title in my predictions.
It isn't that they aren't worthy of the talk, but what Strickland said is what teams like UNC are supposed to say about the rival team that hasn't done anything in years.
North Carolina has won nine regular season titles since NC State last won it in 1989. It is what it is, until it ain't. I believe that's where Dex was going with this.
I love this time of year. The leaves are turning, the weather is cooling down and basketball players are laying down some smack talk.
This season is already primed to be a great one.