The ACC has announced its 2013 football schedule, including a total of 22 home games at the three schools in the Triangle.
State will host UNC at Carter-Finley Stadium on Nov. 2, while the Tar Heels will entertain Duke at Kenan Stadium in the battle for the Victory Bell in their season finale on Nov. 30.
And East Carolina will visit the Triangle twice, visiting the Tar Heels on Sept. 28 and the Wolfpack on Nov. 23.
The 6-6 Blue Devils are taking on 9-3 Big East co-champion Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl, the first football meeting between the two teams and the Blue Devils’ first bowl appearance since 1994. The Bearcats are in their fifth bowl game in the past six seasons.
Duke’s most recent bowl victory was way back in 1961, when Bill Murray’s club beat Arkansas 7-6 in the Cotton Bowl.
But David Cutcliffe clearly has the Blue Devils’ program headed in the right direction, and tonight on ESPN they’re in the only live televised football game in the country.
Cincinnati is coached tonight by interim mentor Steve Stripling, with Butch Jones having departed to become the new head coach at Tennessee. And the Bearcats come in as seven-point favorites.
Duke puts on a fantastic offensive show but still comes up short, turning the ball over four times to none for the winners as Cincinnati wins 48-34.
Duke’s long-suffering football fans got an early holiday present when the Blue Devils were invited to Charlotte’s Belk Bowl, their first trip to a bowl game in 12 seasons.
On Thursday at 6:30 p.m. they’ll find out whether the gift is sugar plums or a big lump of coal.
The Bearcats, who will play under interim coach Steve Stripling since Butch Jones was hired to be the new coach at Tennessee, are listed as seven-point favorites in the contest to be shown on ESPN.
That was one Shirley “Red” Wilson, whose accomplishments at Winston-Salem’s Reynolds High and Elon College had been enough to earn him a spot in the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. Wilson was fired the night after beating UNC at Wallace Wade Stadium to conclude the 1982 and finishing 6-5 for the second straight year. (Incidentally, Duke has had back-to-back winning football seasons exactly one time since.)
Ol’ Red was quite a quote machine in his day - sort of North Carolina’s answer to Yogi Berra - who once said correctly that “If you live long enough, you’re going to get old.”
And having been born in 1955, I might just already be there. AARP has thought so for quite some time.
Anyway, a half-century of observation of American culture has been interesting. Some things get better and some get worse. Values change — usually for the better over the long run although with some fits and starts — and things just don’t stay the same.
Sadly, one value that seems to be losing importance over time is loyalty. And that fact reared its ugly head a couple of times over the last week in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
UNC will host its season football finale against Maryland on a sunny, cool late afternoon. The Tar Heels knew coming into the season they wouldn’t be heading to a bowl because of NCAA sanctions. And if they can hold off the underdog Terps, Larry Fedora’s first season will be a decent one that with a few different bounces could have been a lot better.
With a win, the Tar Heels can finish 8-4 and with their best victory mark since the 1997 club went 11-1.
As for Maryland with its odd state-flag uniforms, this could be the Terps’ last football visit to Chapel Hill for a very, very long time.
Maryland (4-7), which will finish a losing season, has announced its departure from the ACC for the Big Ten in the near future. I guess anyone who wants tickets for those future home football games against Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana or Northwestern had better get cracking.
UNC wins in a shootout, holding on for a 45-38 victory on a day when conditions just keep getting colder and colder as the game progresses.
At 12:30 p.m., Duke (6-5, 3-4 ACC), with Coach David Cutcliffe just having received a contract extension, will take on Miami (6-5, 4-3), which has given the NCAA a start on upcoming sanctions by saying it won’t go to a bowl this season. The contest will be shown on WRAL.
Both other games will be at 3 p.m.
UNC (7-4, 4-3), with the winning campaign secure in Coach Larry Fedora’s first season at the helm, will host Maryland (4-7, 2-5) in the Terps’ first ACC road game since the university announced it would be leaving for the Big Ten.
N.C. State (6-5, 3-4) will host Boston College (2-9, 1-6) — Coach Tom O’Brien’s old team — and like Duke the Wolfpack has a chance to improve its standing in the bowl pool.
If neither Virginia Tech nor Wake Forest wins today, the ACC will be in the embarrassing situation of having only five teams go to bowl games.
Locally, the mega-happy ending would have the Blue Devils going to the Belk Bowl in Charlotte on Dec. 27 and the Wolfpack to the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 31. But there are plenty of moving parts that could throw monkey wrenches into that scenario.
N.C. Central is taking on archrival North Carolina A&T in the biggest game of the season for either team. There is no love lost between the MEAC rivals, and both teams come in at 6-4.
A&T is coached by Rod Broadway, the most successful NCCU coach in recent history (33-11 from 2003-06) and likely the only man on the planet who has officially worn the colors of both schools as well as UNC and Duke.
It takes overtime, and the Aggies prevail 22-16 on a day when ineptitude rules on both sides of the ball as well as with the officiating crew.
UNC, despite all its off-the-field troubles, guaranteed itself a winning season (7-4, 4-3 ACC) to start the Larry Fedora era on the heels of Thursday night’s resounding 37-13 win at Virginia.
The other two local ACC teams are both bowl-bound, while N.C. Central has guaranteed itself a winning season heading into its probable finale tomorrow.
The Eagles (6-4, 5-2 MEAC) have Saturday’s only home game, and will kick off with historic archrival North Carolina A&T (6-4, 4-3) at 2 p.m.
Both ACC games are at 3:30, with Duke (6-4, 3-3) traveling to Georgia Tech (5-5, 4-3) and N.C. State (6-4, 3-3) going to No. 10 Clemson (9-1, 6-1) in the annual Textile Bowl clash. Duke’s game will be shown on ESPNU, while State-Clemson will be on WTVD.
For the third straight week N.C. State is playing for a bowl spot, and this time the Wolfpack’s oldest rival is, too.
State (5-4, 2-3 ACC) meets Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4) for the 106th time, and the Wolfpack is looking for some revenge after losing 34-27 last season in Winston-Salem.
The Wolfpack has won 12 of the teams’ last 13 meetings at Carter-Finley including two straight.
State gets that bowl eligibility in a rout, scoring the first 17 points and demolishing the Deacons 37-6.
Three more will be played today, and two of them are at home.
UNC (6-3, 3-2 ACC) will host Georgia Tech (4-5, 3-3) and its mind-numbing ground attack at 12:30 at Kenan Stadium, with the Tar Heels having a chance to clinch a winning season with a Homecoming victory. The game will be shown on WRAL.
N.C. Central (6-3, 5-1 MEAC) will continue its now long-shot quests for the MEAC title and an NCAA Division I-FCS playoff berth as the Eagles take on Florida A&M (3-6, 3-3) in a 3 p.m. contest.
And at 3:30 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium, N.C. State (5-4, 2-3) takes on old rival Wake Forest (5-4, 3-4) with bowl eligibility on the line for both teams. The game will be shown on FOX Sports Carolinas.
Duke (6-4, 3-3) is idle until a trip to Georgia Tech next week.