Sundays aren’t the only interesting day to watch football in our great state; with ten FBS Division I programs, there is never a shortness of events and storylines to follow. Whether you’re watching an ACC battle or a mid-major faceoff, you can almost always expect quality entertainment.
Let’s start by looking in the ACC, where- unfortunately- our beloved teams took a rain check on week eight. In the four ACC games that took place this Saturday, in-state teams went a staggering 0-4. The state’s best contender, the NC State Wolfpack, fell to the Clemson Tigers in Death Valley by a score of 41-7.
NC State entered the contest with an unblemished 5-0 record, and were ranked as the number 16 team in the nation. The loss makes it quite unlikely that NC State will be able to sneak into the College Football Playoff, as they now sit at what is essentially a two-game disadvantage behind Clemson in the ACC Atlantic division.
However, the Wolfpack is favored by Football Power Index (FPI) to win in the remainder of their games and could very well earn a bid to the Orange Bowl. While the CFP seems out of reach, an 11-1 finish to the regular season and appearance in a New Year’s Day bowl will certainly be seen as a success in Raleigh.
Continuing westbound down I-40, the Duke Blue Devils fell to 5-2 on the season and 1-2 in ACC play after falling to the Virginia Cavaliers by a score of 28-14 in Durham on Saturday. The disappointing slide continues for the Blue Devils following a surprising 4-0 start to the season which saw them rise to as high as number 22 in the polls. Now, the Blue Devils sit at 5-2 with a 1-2 record in conference play. With back-to-back road trips, as well as a road trip to Death Valley upcoming, Duke must tread carefully to avoid losing track on a season once full of promise.
Moving down to the third dot in the triangle, the North Carolina Tar Heels fell in a double overtime thriller to the Syracuse Orange in New York on Saturday by a score of 40-37. In one of the most entertaining games of the year, the Tar Heels nearly pulled off the upset, but fell due to some late game heroics on the part of the dazzling dual threat Quarterback Eric Dungey.
With the loss, the Tar Heels fall to 1-5 on the season and 1-3 in conference play. Tumultuous times continue for Larry Fedora and his program as the losing spell continues for the program. UNC has not beaten an FBS program other than Pittsburgh in nearly two years (11/5/16 vs. Georgia Tech). With no updates available on the Kelly Bryant situation, the near-defeat to a very respectable Syracuse opponent cannot be taken lightly in Chapel Hill as it is a step in the right direction.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons were also in action on Saturday, squaring off against the Florida State Seminoles. The Demon Deacons fell by a score of 38-17 in Tallahassee. It was an improvement for Wake Forest following the 60-point shellacking they received at the hands of the Clemson Tigers last week. Predicted by the voters to finish last place in the Atlantic division, Wake Forest is very much living up to those expectations as they remain a winless 0-3 so far on the season and have fallen to below .500 at 3-4.
The crown for king of the state this week belongs to the Appalachian State Mountaineers, who sit at 5-1 following their 27-17 victory over Louisiana. App State sits comfortably on top of their conference with their sole defeat being in overtime to the Penn State Nittany Lions. Many believe that the Mountaineers may be ranked upon the release of the next AP Poll.