More precisely, a stretch of less than 12 hours.
But Oct. 6, 2012, may have been the best day for college football in the Triangle since the heyday of black & white TV and 45 rpm records.
People who keep up on a daily basis knew it was going to be an attention-grabbing day up front, with UNC hosting Virginia Tech, Duke entertaining Virginia and N.C. State welcoming No. 3 Florida State. Not to mention that N.C. Central was up in Indianapolis to take on traditional MEAC power South Carolina State in the Circle City Classic at Lucas Oil Stadium.
But what was about to unfold was pretty hard to predict.
In a parallel universe, I could have been sitting here typing about how Virginia Tech dismissed the Tar Heels to make the Hokies 14-0 in the state since the school joined the ACC.
And how the naysayers who said NCCU should never have made the jump to Division I (FCS) in the first place got some fresh ammunition after the Eagles got their heads handed to them by the mighty Bulldogs.
And how Duke’s dreams of somehow coming up with six wins to become eligible for a bowl are all up in smoke. Again.
And how N.C. State fans — like the student who assured me, deadpan, on Friday that “We’re going to shock the world” — were just being silly when they said their team had a chance to derail the Seminoles’ national championship plans.
But that’s not what I’m writing.
All three local ACC teams are at pivotal points in their seasons, and all three have plenty to gain as they host conference opponents.
It’s also a very important day for N.C. Central, which will look to boost its MEAC credibility when the Eagles take on South Carolina State in the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis.
But back to that ACC schedule which is has the potential for clogging up a lot of local highways today.
UNC (3-2, 0-1 ACC) will open the card at 12:30, taking on Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-0) in a Kenan Stadium contest that will be shown on WRAL.
Then at 3 Duke (4-1, 1-0) will host one of its biggest games in a generation as Virginia (2-3, 0-1) comes to Wallace Wade Stadium in a game shown on Fox Sports Carolinas.
And at 8 N.C. State (3-2, 0-1) will look for an upset against No. 3 Florida State (5-0, 2-0) as the Seminoles look to keep their national title hopes alive in an ESPN2 game at Carter-Finley Stadium.
In a rarity in recent years, none of the local ACC teams has lost a home game yet. And it is already October.
NCCU (2-2, 1-0 MEAC) will face the Bulldogs (2-3, 1-1) at 2:30, with the Eagles the designated home team.
It’s Week 5 of the college season, and although a lot of football has been played it’s still very unclear how Triangle campaigns are going to pan out.
Today’s road games for Duke and N.C. State may begin to give a clearer indication.
Duke (3-1), meanwhile, faces the game that could determine how its season goes when it travels to Wake Forest (3-1, 1-0 ACC) for its ACC opener at 12:30 p.m. in a game to be shown on WRAL. The Blue Devils walloped Memphis 38-14 last week while the Deacons were topping Army 49-37.
N.C. Central (2-2, 1-0 MEAC), which will take on conference foe South Carolina State in the Circle City Classic next week in Indianapolis, is idle.
UNC (1-2) will try to bounce back from two straight losses as the Tar Heels host East Carolina (2-1) at Kenan Stadium in a 3:30 p.m. contest to be shown on ESPNU.
Both of the other Triangle teams will be solid favorites at home as they attempt to stay headed in the right direction. Duke (2-1) will take on Memphis (0-3) in the Blue Devils’ 6 p.m. homecoming game at Wallace Wade Stadium, while N.C. State (2-1) will take on resurgent FCS power The Citadel (3-0) at the same time at Carter-Finley Stadium.
N.C. Central (1-2) will be on the road, taking on Savannah State (0-2) at 7 p.m. in the MEAC opener for both at Wright Stadium.
WALLACE WADE STADIUM/DURHAM It’s the second edition of the Bull City Gridiron Classic, with new crosstown rivals
The Blue Devils won the first meeting 49-14 in 2009, and the teams are set to play in four of the next five years with the exception being 2014.
Both teams are 1-1, and each is coming off a rough loss last week — Duke falling 50-13 at No. 25 Stanford and NCCU bowing 34-14 at Elon. The Dunkel Index has Duke as a 50-point favorite.
Duke will get an emotional list from the return to the sidelines of Blair Holliday, the wide receiver who suffered a brain injury in a jet ski accident on July 4 weekend.
Before the game both schools’ cross-country teams — men and then women — start their dual meet on the stadium track before heading out into the woods. Duke wins the men’s event 15-50 and the women’s 15-44.
Duke leads by 17 at halftime, then uses a couple of turnovers to blow out the final score in a 54-17 win.
And because they signed a contract to extend the series earlier this week, it’s the first of many more to come. NCCU will visit Wallace Wade Stadium for both teams’ season opener next year, and future meetings are scheduled for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
It’s one of three games involving Triangle Division I teams tonight. And typically, all four Triangle teams are 1-1 through their first two games of the season.
N.C. State will return home to Carter-Finley Stadium for the first time this season, taking on South Alabama (1-1) — which is in its final season as an FCS opponent - at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile UNC will try to bounce back from its road loss to Wake Forest, traveling to No. 19 Louisville (2-0) for a 3:30 contest to be shown on ABC and ESPN2.
Both the MEAC member Eagles (1-0) and the Southern Conference member Phoenix (0-1) are playing their only Division I-FCS non-conference game of the season.
NCCU, which snapped a two-game losing streak with a 54-31 romp over former CIAA rival Fayetteville State in its opener, is looking to get some momentum going.
Elon, meanwhile, is licking its wounds after getting a big check and a 62-0 whipping in its historic first meeting with UNC.
The Phoenix won last season’s meeting 23-22 in Durham, but the renowned Dunkel Index has Elon as a 26-point favorite.
Elon gets a huge first half and holds the lead, comfortably prevailing 34-14.
It’s Week 2 of the college football season, and unfortunately for Triangle-area fans all the local Division I teams are on the road today.
Fortunately for road-trippers, a couple of them are not too far away.
UNC (1-0), fresh off a 62-0 season-opening win over Elon, will visit Wake Forest (1-0) at 3 p.m. in the ACC opener for both. That game will be shown on Fox Sports Carolinas.
Then at 7 p.m. N.C. Central (1-0), which drubbed former CIAA foe Fayetteville State 54-31 in its opener, will be at Elon in the only non-conference FCS game for both teams.
The other games are on the road.
N.C. State (0-1) will try to bounce back from its 35-21 season-opening loss to Tennessee when the Wolfpack visits Connecticut (1-0) at noon.
And Duke (1-0), which got a surprisingly easy 44-14 win over Florida International in the Blue Devils’ opener, will travel to No. 25 Stanford (1-0) for a 10:30 p.m. contest.
The Triangle’s college football season will start with a bang this weekend, with one game tonight followed by a trio of home contests on Saturday.
Tennessee is listed as a three-point favorite. The Vols lead the series 2-1, but it was last contested in 1938. The game will be shown on ESPNU.
And then there will be football traffic all around the Triangle all day Saturday.
UNC (7-6 last season), which won’t be going bowling this season because of NCAA sanctions, will kick off the Larry Fedora era in a 12:30 game against neighborhood rival and Southern Conference member Elon (5-6) at Kenan Stadium. The game will be shown on WRAZ-50.
N.C. Central (2-9) will kick off against former CIAA rival Fayetteville State (4-6) at 6 p.m. at O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
And in the nightcap, Duke (3-9) will square off with Florida International (8-5) at 7 p.m. at Wallace Wade Stadium.
EMBASSY SUITES/CARY It’s the largest event of its kind in the nation, this Tenth Annual Pigskin Preview of the Bill Dooley Triangle/East Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
And of course it helps that there are five Division I football programs between Orange and Pitt counties.
And unfortunately the event’s 78-year-old namesake was ill and unable to attend.
But the coaches entertained a wide array of questions from emcee Don Shea at a packed Thursday luncheon event as they all get ready for their season openers.
As usual, everybody is looking to get better.