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.
CARMICHAEL ARENA/CHAPEL HILL UNC takes the court against an MEAC opponent for the second straight day, this time with local rival N.C. Central coming to visit.
Broomfield had missed four games including the rout loss to South Carolina with a foot injury, while Rolle was in the lineup for the first time since the birth of her child on Nov. 8.
NCCU (2-11), under long-time coach Joli Robinson, is at Carmichael for the fifth straight season, falling 97-40 last time. The Eagles, 0-4 in the series, are in their first season as full members of NCAA Division I.
It’s never really much of a challenge for the Tar Heels, but the Eagles keep it more respectable this time as UNC wins 79-42.
(Disclaimer: while I am not a full-time employee of N.C. Central University, I have been paid by the university to write feature stories for the athletics website — nccueaglepride.com — on a regular basis for the past year.)
WASHINGTON DUKE INN/DURHAM Bill Dooley says this event is the biggest of its kind in the South.
And there’s no reason to doubt the Ol’ Trench Fighter, the legendary former coach at UNC, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech on that one.
Over 300 college football fans were on hand for a fancy lunch, a few jokes and plenty of information about the upcoming season on Thursday, at the Ninth Annual Pigskin Preview by the Bill Dooley Triangle/East Chapter of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame.
Five Division I coaches — UNC’s Butch Davis, Duke’s David Cutcliffe, N.C. State’s Tom O’Brien, East Carolina’s Ruffin McNeill and N.C. Central’s Henry Frazier III — were on hand to swap stories and answers to sometimes off-the-wall questions and generally be loose for one of the last times until fall practice starts in earnest.