Research Triangle Football: Duke, North Carolina, NC State Looking For Best Collective Season Ever

NC State’s Huge Upset Over Florida State Was Just Part of a Huge Weekend for Research Triangle Football

It’s no secret that the ACC – and more specifically, its Research Triangle schools (North Carolina, Duke and NC State) – has always been a bit more focused on basketball than football. Yet on Saturday, as Tar Heel Blog alludes to, all eyes appeared to be on the Triangle’s gridiron squads. Duke beat Virginia, 42-17, to get to 5-1 on the year. North Carolina trounced Coastal Division-favorite Virginia Tech, 48-34, saddling the Hokies’ defense with one of its worst performances in decades. And of course, there was NC State. Two-touchdown underdogs versus Florida State, the Wolfpack pulled off the seemingly impossible on Saturday night, and beat the ‘Noles 17-16. It was the first time since 1994 that all three teams won ACC home games on the same day. A historical day, for sure. But is it part of a historical season for the three Triangle schools?

At a combined 13-5 right now, that may seem like a weighty statement. But taking a look at past seasons, the combined .722 winning percentage so far would translate to the best combined mark for the three schools since the ACC began play in 1953:

Top Five Seasons, Combined Winning Percentage

2012: .722

1963: .710

1972: .706

1957: .704

1994: .694

Out of a possible 60 seasons (including this one), the Triangle schools have only finished with a winning percentage of .500 or better 28 times, and .600 or better just eight. Obviously we’re only about halfway through 2012, though, so the numbers won’t necessarily hold. But what’s the most realistic, best-case scenario look like?

Duke’s remaining games:

at Virginia Tech (W)

vs. North Carolina (L)

at Florida State (L)

vs. Clemson (L)

at Georgia Tech (W)

vs. Miami (L)

Final record: 7-5

NC State’s remaining games:

at Maryland (W)

at North Carolina (W)

vs. Virginia (W)

vs. Wake Forest (W)

at Clemson (L)

vs. Boston College (W)

Final record: 9-3

North Carolina’s remaining games:

at Miami (W)

at Duke (W)

vs. NC State (L)

vs. Georgia Tech (W)

at Virginia (W)

vs. Maryland (W)

Final record: 9-3

Should these predictions actually follow through, that would give the schools a combined 25-11 mark prior to bowl games (for which, North Carolina is also ineligible for) – a .694 winning percentage that would tie for fifth all-time (1994). But if both Duke and State won their respective bowl games, that takes us up to 27-11 (.711), setting the new record by .001.

Will this be a record-setting season for the Triangle football schools? Based on current returns, it’s possible, though nothing’s guaranteed. Parity is alive and well in the conference – as always. And while it may not do much for the league’s reputation outside of its walls, it’s hard not to enjoy it as a fan of the conference. And if you’re a fan of one of the Research Triangle institutions, perhaps you’re a little less anxious to rush toward basketball season this time around.

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2 thoughts on “Research Triangle Football: Duke, North Carolina, NC State Looking For Best Collective Season Ever

  1. Parity is a double-edged sword. It’s nice to see the teams competitive, but it’s also nice to have a national title contender (or two) within the group.

    I’m not sure NC State will be able to beat North Carolina in Chapel Hill, but obviously we won’t know until they play the game.

    Maryland has a small shot at upsetting UNC & NCSU IF (and only if) the offense gets better (Maryland’s defense is quite good).

    The fact that you’ve picked Duke over Virginia Tech is hilarious … but I’m really not sure I can disagree with the pick. Duke’s pretty decent, and Virginia Tech is so far mediocre.

    • I’ll admit, the Duke over Virginia Tech pick is not the most orthodox move by any means. But the way the Blue Devils are playing right now — compared to how the Hokies are reeling — it’s not the most farfetched outcome.

      And definitely love how Maryland’s been playing on defense. The offense is young, so it may take an extended amount of time to catch up, but if it does, the Terps are suddenly very dangerous.

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