by Mike Potter
More precisely, a stretch of less than 12 hours.
But Oct. 6, 2012, may have been the best day for college football in the Triangle since the heyday of black & white TV and 45 rpm records.
People who keep up on a daily basis knew it was going to be an attention-grabbing day up front, with UNC hosting Virginia Tech, Duke entertaining Virginia and N.C. State welcoming No. 3 Florida State. Not to mention that N.C. Central was up in Indianapolis to take on traditional MEAC power South Carolina State in the Circle City Classic at Lucas Oil Stadium.
But what was about to unfold was pretty hard to predict.
In a parallel universe, I could have been sitting here typing about how Virginia Tech dismissed the Tar Heels to make the Hokies 14-0 in the state since the school joined the ACC.
And how the naysayers who said NCCU should never have made the jump to Division I (FCS) in the first place got some fresh ammunition after the Eagles got their heads handed to them by the mighty Bulldogs.
And how Duke’s dreams of somehow coming up with six wins to become eligible for a bowl are all up in smoke. Again.
And how N.C. State fans — like the student who assured me, deadpan, on Friday that “We’re going to shock the world” — were just being silly when they said their team had a chance to derail the Seminoles’ national championship plans.
But that’s not what I’m writing.
Convincingly, I might add, except for the Wolfpack — which killed off the FSU dragon for the second straight time at Carter-Finley with a stifling second-half defense and a do-or-die pass completion from Mike Glennon to Bryan Underwood on fourth down in the closing seconds.
Quick, wake up the pollsters.
Nobody could really have seen all four games. I managed to be at UNC and NCSU — there were a few people in the press box who had stopped off at the Duke game in between but I judged the logistics to be too impractical — and doubtless there were tens of thousands around the Triangle who got to see all three ACC games from their lounge chairs.
But in case you missed it all, basically here’s what happened:
The Tar Heels got some spectacular scoring plays from the usual suspects in the 48-34 win, rolling up 533 yards total offense including a ridiculous 339 on the ground as they blew the Hokies away. Off-the-field issues that have the Tar Heels bowl-ineligible this season aside, new coach Larry Fedora who had nothing to do with the problem has his guys consistently playing like winners.
NCCU, which had lost eight straight to SCSU, won 40-10, piling up 30 points in the second quarter as the Bulldogs sputtered uncharacteristically. Coach Henry Frazier, who has apparently been able to put some off-season legal problems behind him, has the Eagles at 2-0 in the MEAC.
Duke, with Anthony Boone calling signals as the injured Sean Renfree watched, walloped the Wahoos 42-17 after demolishing them 28-0 after halftime. David Cutcliffe’s club is now just one win away from earning the Blue Devils’ first bowl berth in 18 years and erasing “Duke football” as a go-to punch line.
And N.C. State, with the usual raucous Saturday night crowd giving the visitors the business, scored every point in the second half after the Seminoles got all of theirs in the first in a 17-16 Wolfpack victory.
Again, it was just one week. None of the four teams has a guaranteed win left on the schedule, but — particularly after watching the Hokies and Seminoles turn to dust in their second halves — none faces a certain defeat either.
Now, I could get all giddy here and predict that the Blue Devils and Wolfpack will meet in the ACC Championship game Dec. 1 in Charlotte and that NCCU will win the MEAC title.
But of course to say all of that will happen would be ridiculous.