The Pigskin Preview luncheon took place on Thursday, and it was another chance for the media to talk to the Big 4 football coaches soon after ACC Media Days. The story that came out of the luncheon was reported on by Steve Wiseman of Durham Herald Sun. Wiseman talked to several Duke officials who admitted that Duke had had discussions with NC State in trying to schedule a non-conference game between the two schools outside of the ACC rotation. Both schools had rather heavy scheduling commitments in the next few years, but the idea is intriguing and worth looking at beyond just State and Duke.
Two Birds, One Game
The problem with the enlarged ACC conference is the inability to keep rivalry games beyond a certain number. North Carolina was successful in maintaining its rivalries with Virginia, Duke, and NC State, but lost its rivalry game with Wake Forest. UNC will play Wake just as often as it plays Louisville or Syracuse and much less than it plays Miami and Pittsburgh. Duke and State have a similar problem of hardly ever meeting.
The other problem that’s emerged in scheduling is the requirement that ACC teams find a big conference game as one of their out-of-conference games. Some years that will be Notre Dame. Any team that Duke or State could schedule would involve increased travel rather playing each other. Schedules are made years in advance, although sometimes an outside force (ESPN) can make quick changes.
So a State-Duke game makes sense for both reasons. It offers a chance to play an in state rival AND would include a team from a Big 5 Conference. I also think North Carolina and Wake Forest should look at this kind of arrangement as well. State is about to start a series with Army, and Duke is about to start a series with North Carolina Central. Can’t they just play each other instead?