There was certainly a little more enthusiasm surrounding the football programs from the state of North Carolina a few weeks ago, but as we enter Week Seven, there are just a few teams with something left to play for.
N.C. State began the season as the team with the most promise from our state, and have lived up to the billing. After a “too close for comfort” Week One matchup against James Madison, the Wolfpack has been impressive. Standing at 5-0 on the season, Quarterback Ryan Finley has already tallied 1,621 yards through the air and holds a 156.8 passer rating, leading the ACC in both of those statistical categories.
If not for a cancellation caused by Hurricane Florence, N.C. State would have already had a matchup with one of the nation’s best teams in West Virginia. It would have been a madhouse in Carter-Finley, but unfortunately the game will not be rescheduled. Instead, the biggest challenge to date will come on the road for the Wolfpack on Saturday in Death Valley against the Clemson Tigers.
Duke had a great start to its season, going 4-0 under Head Coach David Cutcliffe, but lost it’s last game to an angry Virginia Tech team. The Blue Devils were a bit unlucky in the timing; the previous week the Hokies suffered one of the biggest upsets in college football history when they fell to Old Dominion as a 29-point favorite. Duke was back in action this weekend against Georgia Tech and took care of business, 28-14.
Appalachian State played in what has to be the most exciting game of the year for any team in this article. On opening weekend the Mountaineers took Penn State to overtime in Happy Valley, but fell short by a score of 45-38. Since then, App has rolled everyone on their schedule and hopes that trend continues on Oct. 20, when they face Louisiana.
Wake Forest always seem to fool everyone by starting hot and then getting exposed. Different year, same story, as the Demon Deacons began 2-0 and have since lost three of their last four games. In their defense, those three losses have come at the hands of some pretty good teams, but there just aren’t that many excuses for losing by 60 at home even if it is against Clemson. The next test for the Deacs will be against Florida State down in Tallahassee.
If your favorite team hasn’t already been mentioned in this article, that is not good news. The North Carolina Tar Heels have won only one game this season and there is no certainty when another win will come. It doesn’t seem long ago that Larry Fedora came to Chapel Hill, putting the fear of his high-powered offense into the ACC Coastal, but things haven’t quite worked out, as some fans have started to call for a change at the position.
One last gleaming ray of light left for the Tar Heels may come in the form of a former rival. Recently-demoted Clemson Quarterback Kelly Bryant has decided to transfer and UNC is on his list of schools to visit. He would be a welcome addition to an offense that has been held under 20 points in three of its four contests. It’s too bad he couldn’t suit up on Saturday evening against Virginia Tech, as the Tar Heels fell to the Hokies 22-19.
East Carolina is not good at football. However, they did somehow manage to beat UNC and an Old Dominion team that, as previously stated, beat Virginia Tech. So if you want to do the crazy “who beat who” logic, then technically the Pirates are better than the Hokies. But in the real world, that is not the case.
It will be interesting to see if N.C. State can continue to win. Their next matchup against Clemson will in all likelihood determine the ACC Atlantic, but if somehow they can pull the upset, the rest of their games are more than manageable. Duke, App and Wake can all still find ways into a bowl game, but for the rest of our states teams, it may be next year before any real hope returns. As always, all of the teams mentioned in this article are forever looking up to undefeated Spartans of UNCG.