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The Daily Tar Heel

Tradition Forming at Old BW3's

North Carolina football coach John Bunting talks almost weekly about "building a tradition." Much has been made of the UNC basketball team's efforts to "rebuild a tradition."

The Tar Heel women's soccer team has one of the winningest traditions in college athletics.

My roommate has a much-ballyhooed traditional Saturday morning breakfast at Ye Ole Waffle House prior to home football games.

But there is no tradition quite like Sunday afternoons at the restaurant formerly known as BW3's.

The atmosphere, the spectacle, the laughs -- it's an experience unmatched by anything the North Carolina athletic department can muster.

They call it Buffalo Wild Wings now, but to me it will always be B-Dub's.

The Franklin Street staple got a makeover this summer to accompany its name change, replacing the charmingly cramped and dirty dining and bar rooms with spacious, clean facilities. The restaurant also added more televisions to increase football-viewing pleasure.

Your senses are almost overwhelmed when you step into B-Dubs now. You feel like those guys in the Circuit City commercials, freezing in the entry way with their eyes aglow and jaws dropped.

Everywhere you look, there's football. It's a sports fan's utopia.

And if your team of choice happens to reside outside the Carolinas, Buffalo Wild Wings is a must. I just don't know if I'd make it through life if I had to watch agonizing Panthers' quarterback Rodney Peete every Sunday instead of my New England Patriots.

Then there's the unique cast of characters. You've got to love the folks who show up week after week decked out in their replica NFL jerseys, cheering fanatically with every first down.

There's the Jason Sehorn Lady, the chain-smoking mid-40s Giants fan who lets out screams of delight and anguish depending on the state of her game.

There's the bizarre Cleveland Browns contingent, which gathers around one of the big-screen TVs and goes berserk with every Dennis Northcutt reception.

Then there's my group.

For the last couple years, it was just myself and Rob, a Giants fan. But this year we've expanded, adding my roommate Mike, our friend Sherrell and occasionally a few others.

Last Sunday everything came together to create one of the best B-Dubs experiences of my life.

We were joined that day by a couple Falcons fans, and we sat near a boisterous group of Steelers fans.

The two teams battled back and forth in what would eventually end in a 34-34 tie. Gradually, as the game's drama grew, so did the tension between the fans in Buffalo Wild Wings.

It started out with the classic overclapping and discreet looks over the shoulder at the opposing fans. By overtime, it had become outright jumping up and down, pointing and taunting. And we all got into it, even though most of us didn't care in the slightest about the game. There is a point at which you find yourself rooting for one team just to spite the obnoxious fans of the other.

The crowning moment of the day, however, came in the second half of Green Bay's blowout win against Detroit. I had made a friendly bet on the game with Rob, who had talked up how competitive the contest would be ("It's a rivalry game, you can throw the records out the window!"). I gave him Detroit and 25 points -- 25!

And Green Bay won by 26.

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But not before we got some first-rate entertainment.

Only in the wonderful world of B-Dubs would you see six guys jumping and yelling at the television in the second half of a 26-point thrashing.

If only building UNC's football tradition could be this much fun.

Aaron Fitt can be reached at fitt@email.unc.edu.