Alternate title: Holy Crap the Mayans were Right!
On Saturday UNC, Duke and NC State all won home games in ACC play. According to the N&O's Joe Giglio this is only the second time in history all three Triangle schools have won ACC home games in football on the same day. The most recent was October 15th, 1994 and before that it was 1962. The 1994 season also constitutes the last time all three Triangle schools won at least eight games. During the 1994 season NC State went 9-3 while UNC and Duke ended up 8-4. This season is beginning to take the same shape as it did in 1994 or at the very least it will makes October 20th and 27th some very interesting games. Here are where the three teams sit and what stands between a potential two weeks of spotlight on football the Triangle.
UNC 4-2 overall, 1-1 in ACC play: UNC is 4-0 at home and has posted 201 points in games at Kenan Stadium for 50 ppg average. It should be noted, especially in light of the unholy things Giovani Bernard did to Virginia Tech this weekend, that the Heels' two losses came without the sophomore running back in the lineup. Speculation can only take you so far but it stands to reason a healthy Bernard could have flipped one of those games, likely the one against Wake Forest. UNC faces Miami before traveling down 15-501 to Duke on October 20th and then hosting NC State on the 27th. All of UNC's games are winnable and because of the bowl ban Duke and NC State will be treated like a pair of Super Bowls.
Duke 5-1 overall, 2-0 in ACC play: Duke rolled a very weak FIU team then got rolled themselves at Stanford. That sequence of events made it easy to believe the Blue Devils were about to go down the same path as they had in seasons past. Then something strange happened, Duke started winning even breaking a 12 game losing streak against Wake Forest. Now Duke is on the verge of being bowl eligible but facing the real meat of the schedule. Duke travels to Blacksburg to face a Hokie team that will be highly motivated to not end up 3-4. Should Duke win and UNC take care of Miami, a 6-1 Blue Devil team would host the 5-2 Tar Heels the following week..
NC State 4-2 overall, 1-1 in ACC play: In all honesty NC State was actually not that impressive through the first five games of the season. The Wolfpack lost to Tennessee in the opener, struggled to win at UConn, handled their two FCS opponents then lost at Miami while giving up 44 points. So the notion that the Wolfpack would be able to take down FSU was a long shot at best. Enter the Seminoles and their penchant to play poorly as heavy favorites under Jimbo Fisher. FSU opened up a 16-0 lead and then neglected to score again. NCSU ran off 17 unanswered and converted three fourth downs with the game on the line. The question facing NC State is one of identity. Yes the Pack beat FSU but the 3-2 prior to that was not much to write home about. NCSU gets a bye then faces Maryland before the showdown with UNC on October 27th.
Generally speaking, when we reach this point on the calendar, the focus turns towards basketball, especially for Duke fans. NCSU and UNC fans have been relevant well into November or at the very least on the way to winning 8 or 9 games. That has not been the case for Duke in 18 years so to have all three Triangle schools to have fully functional seasons at this stage is a little weird. It also means that UNC's trip to Duke and then subsequent game versus NC State in Chapel Hill will both have serious divisional standing repercussions.
I don't know about the rest of you but I am stocking up on canned goods.