It’s a cold fall evening in November and the game is on national TV.
The Blue Devils (6-3, 2-2 ACC) are guaranteed their best season since at least 1994, and are right in the thick of the race in the Coastal Division. And the opponent is No. 10 Clemson (7-1, 4-1), the traditional power of the ACC from back when it had seven teams.
It’s not a complete sellout, but there’s certainly a respectable, noisy crowd on hand as the Blue Devils take on a team they haven’t beaten since 2004.
Clemson is a big favorite, but the Blue Devils haven’t lost at home this season.
They do tonight, as Clemson rolls up 718 yards total offense in a 56-20 romp.
CARTER-FINLEY STADIUM/RALEIGH N.C. State had to wait until the final 15 minutes last season to secure bowl eligibility, but this time the Wolfpack could lock it up with three games remaining.
It’s a very cool autumn afternoon as the Wolfpack (5-3, 2-2 ACC) hosts Virginia (2-6, 0-4) on Homecoming day with a chance to get its sixth win.
The Wolfpack is licking its wounds after a heartbreaking 43-35 loss at UNC last week, while the Cavaliers are reeling with six losses in a row.
Scouts from the Chick-Fil-A and Russell Athletic Bowls are on hand; Virginia would have to run the table to be bowl-eligible.
What happens is a disastrous day for the Wolfpack, as State doesn’t score until the fourth quarter of what turns into a 33-6 loss.
The best collective college football season in the Triangle in quite a few years continues today, and all three teams who will play are at home.
N.C. State (5-3, 2-2 ACC) will host Virginia (2-6, 0-4) at 12:30 p.m., as the Wolfpack looks to gain bowl eligibility for the third straight season. The game will be shown on WRAL.
UNC (6-3, 3-2) is idle.
It has been a great year for Triangle fans to attend area games, as the local Division I teams are a combined 15-0 at home.
Today on a cool fall afternoon UNC (5-3, 2-2 ACC) will host archrival N.C. State (5-2, 2-1) for the 102nd time. And while the Wolfpack can gain bowl eligibility with a victory, the Tar Heels are playing their entire season for pride since the NCAA says UNC can’t go to a bowl.
The series has been the crown jewel of Tom O’Brien’s coaching tenure at State since he’s 5-0 against the Tar Heels, while first-year UNC coach Larry Fedora is new at this particular madness. And the Tar Heels are desperate for victory for another reason, as they’re coming off a 33-30 last-second loss at Duke last week that earned the Blue Devils a bowl spot.
UNC gets its mojo back with a thrilling comeback and a wild finish, as Gio Bernard returns a punt 74 yards for a touchdown with just 13 seconds to go to set up a 43-35 win.
It’s the highest profile football game played in the Triangle each season, and it means plenty to everyone involved.
The Triangle’s other two Division I teams are both headed to Florida for possible season-making games as well. Duke (6-2, 3-1) will visit No. 11 Florida State (7-1, 4-1) at Doak Campbell Stadium in a 3:30 game to be shown on ESPNU, while N.C. Central (5-2, 4-0 MEAC) will visit Bethune-Cookman (5-2, 4-0) at 4 in a contest that will determine first place in the MEAC.
WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM Duke will host archrival UNC for the 99th time in their annual battle for the Victory Bell, and this one means even more to the Blue Devils than it has in a very long time.
With just one more win Duke (5-2, 2-1 ACC) will earn its first bowl berth since 1994. But to get it this quickly David Cutcliffe’s club would have to get an upset against a solid UNC team (5-2, 2-1) that cannot play in a bowl this time and thus has everything riding on the regular season.
It’s new Tar Heel coach Larry Fedora’s first shot at the Blue Devils, and their earliest meeting since 1943. UNC has won eight straight in the series.
There’s a sellout crowd in the house as the old rivals square off on a cool fall evening. As the ACC is holding a sportsmanship promotion, the teams meet at midfield for a pregame handshake.
Duke finally gets the Victory Bell back, holding on despite three fourth-quarter TDs from the Tar Heels and surviving 33-30. Notify the bowl people.
And Henry Frazier’s club gets a showcase on national TV — read ESPNU, where every Division I team in the Triangle will appear this week — tonight.
NCCU (4-2, 3-0), which is tied atop the MEAC and ranked as high as No. 8 in Black College polls, will take on a traditionally powerful Hampton team that is struggling this season at 1-4 (1-2, MEAC).
It’s the first game at O’Kelly-Riddick for the Eagles since their season-opening 54-31 win over Fayetteville State.
Hampton has won eight straight in the series, with the last NCCU win in 1983 when both teams were in the CIAA.
The Eagles get a huge night from their defense, especially in a three-touchdown third quarter as they blast the Pirates 37-20.
The Triangle’s most interesting college football season in years seems to get better as the wins pile up.
And this weekend, which gets jump-started a little early tonight, is no exception. All three games involving area teams will be shown live on ESPNU.
Then on Saturday one of the area’s biggest games of the year comes a little early. After N.C. State (4-2, 1-1 ACC) visits Maryland (4-2, 2-0) for a 3:30 matchup, Duke (5-2, 2-1) takes on UNC (5-2, 2-1) at 7 p.m. in the annual battle for the Victory Bell.
Today, we get to see what three of them can do for an encore. And they’ll have to do it on the road.
Duke (5-1, 2-0 ACC), which demolished Virginia 42-17 with a big second half, will go to one of the tougher arenas in the ACC when the Blue Devils visit Virginia Tech at 12:30 in a game to be shown on WRAL.
N.C. Central (3-2, 2-0 MEAC), which crushed South Carolina State 40-10 in the Circle City Classic, will get its credentials tested as it travels to Morgan State (3-2, 2-0) for a 1 p.m. showdown.
And UNC (4-2, 1-1 ACC), which drubbed Virginia Tech 48-34, visits resurgent ACC Coastal Division leader Miami (4-2, 3-0) at 2:30 in a game to be shown on ESPNU.
N.C. State (4-2, 1-1), coming off its shocking 17-16 win at then-No. 3 Florida State, is idle.
Friday's passing will be carefully, respectfully and lovingly noted by generations of UNC faculty, administrators, students and alumni, as well as statewide political figures and educational leaders from around the country. Earlier today, former Gov. Jim Hunt declared that Friday “was the greatest man of our generation,” while UNC Chancellor Holden Thorp said, “North Carolina has lost one of its most remarkable citizens in Bill Friday. His influence on public higher education in our state and across the nation is legendary.”
Friday's death, which comes one day before a planned celebration in honor of him, his wife and others at The ArtsCenter of Carrboro, brings a remarkable, and remarkably robust, career to a close. Born in Virginia and educated at N.C. State and UNC, his tenure as UNC president began in 1956 and continued for 30 years. But his most lasting legacy may be his work of his long, not-so-retiring retirement, when he became a leading critic of the increasing domination of big-time sports on college campuses.
His three decades at the helm of UNC coincided with an extraordinary period of social upheaval, during which time he presided over pitched confrontations. While not often at the battlements himself, his political instincts and moderation allowed him to shepherd the university to adopt evolving standards of justice and opportunity for all, throughout the tumultuous 1960s while retaining the support of students, faculty and trustees.
The process of integrating African-Americans into the UNC system began shortly before his tenure: UNC's first African-Americans undergraduates matriculated in 1955. Black enrollment remained low for many years, with only 18 freshmen enrolled by 1963. The first black to play a varsity sport was a Nigerian, Edwin Okoroma, who played soccer for the Tar Heels beginning in 1963 and later became a physician. UNC's basketball team was not integrated until 1966, with the arrival of Charlie Scott.
Friday faced a different challenge, beginning in 1963, when the N.C. General Assembly passed the Speaker Ban Law, which forbade universities from inviting, among others, members of the Communist Party, from speaking on campus. (Text of the bill here.)
This measure was immediately and enthusiastically supported by Jesse Helms, already a well-known, vociferously racist and anti-Communist commentator for WRAL Television. Rightly seeing a threat to political and academic freedom, as well as the autonomy of the university, Friday supported the UNC faculty in its resistance to the ban, which earned him the lasting ire of Helms and his supporters.