Late Saturday night, a couple hours after North Carolina’s victory against Virginia completed a rare day of winning for the state’s college football teams, Chip Alexander, my venerable colleague, texted me with a question:
When’s the last time, he wondered, that UNC, Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest and ECU all won a football game on the same day? Well, now the answer to that question is Saturday. Two days ago, as of the publishing of these words.
But the last time before that? I had to find out. And now I can report that it’s been a good while, folks. A clue, before the reveal: Mack Brown was a part of both of the most recent days that those five North Carolina schools all won.
Part of the challenge for everything to align for a victory on the same day for all of these schools is that, nowadays — and for a while now — college football schedules aren’t as predictable as they once were. Teams regularly play on Thursdays and Fridays now, and sometimes other non-Saturday days of the week, too. So while sometimes these schools have won in the same week in more recent times, it has been a while since they all won on the same day.
But it has happened. Which, I was starting to wonder as the search went back through the past decade, and then the 2000s and then into the 90s. And then, there it was: A fall weekend in the mid-1990s when Duke beat Navy, Wake Forest beat Army, ECU beat Southern Miss, N.C. State beat Georgia Tech and UNC went on the road to beat SMU.
The Tar Heels’ coach then, and now: Brown.
The date: Oct. 1, 1994.
And so it was a rare kind of Saturday, indeed, this past weekend. If it takes as long for another like it to come around, it will happen again in 2048. Let’s not think about that. Onto Week 4 of the All-Carolina poll:
1. Clemson (2-1, 1-0 ACC)
Previous ranking: 1
Last week: W 14-8 vs. Georgia Tech
Up next: at N.C. State, Saturday
Clemson has scored just 17 points in two games against schools from Georgia. The good news for the Tigers: No more games this season against Georgia-based opponents. The not-so good news: This seems to be a sign that the Tigers’ offense isn’t quite as good as it has been in recent years.
2. North Carolina (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
Previous ranking: 2
Last week: W 59-39 vs. Virginia
Up next: at Georgia Tech, Saturday
The jokes have been made but it really is striking, the contrast between UNC-Virginia football games and the recent basketball games between these two. But can Sam Howell play point guard, is the question now.
3. Coastal Carolina (3-0)
Previous ranking: 3
Last week: W 28-25 at Buffalo
Up next: vs. Massachusetts, Saturday
Close call for the Chanticleers in upstate New York over the weekend, but UMass will offer a confidence booster and, quite likely, a chance to rest the starters in the second half before Sun Belt play begins the following week.
4. Appalachian State (2-1)
Previous ranking: 4
Last week: W 44-10 vs. Elon
Up next: vs. Marshall, Thursday
Is it too early to start hyping the Land vs. Sea/Beach vs. Mountains extravaganza set for Oct. 20 in Boone? It isn’t for an All-Carolina poll reader. Or writer, for that matter. About exactly a month until App hosts Coastal. Mark your calendars.
5. Wake Forest (3-0, 1-0)
Previous ranking: 6
Last week: W 35-14 vs. Florida State
Up next: at Virginia, Friday
Don’t look now but the Demon Deacons appear to be sneaky good. Maybe even more than sneaky. Maybe just good, good. Florida State appears to be in a freefall, yes, but an impressive dismantling, nonetheless, by Wake.
6. N.C. State (2-1)
Previous ranking: 5
Last week: W 45-7 vs. Furman
Up next: vs. Clemson, Saturday
What’s this, you say? An opportunity for N.C. State to take a step forward and earn an elusive marquee victory that could serve as proof that the program is progressing in a meaningful way? What could possibly go wrong for the Wolfpack?
7. South Carolina (2-1, 0-1 SEC)
Previous ranking: 7
Last week: L 40-13 at Georgia
Up next: vs. Kentucky, Saturday
Things went #asexpected against Georgia. Can’t be mad at it. Now, can the Gamecocks at least compete against Kentucky? They lost by 23 a season ago, and have lost six of the past seven against Kentucky — which is the sort of thing that’ll get you fired. And did! (Among other things.)
8. Duke (2-1)
Previous ranking: 10
Last week: W 30-23 vs. Northwestern
Up next: vs. Kansas, Saturday
Must ... resist ... urge ... to ... make ... dumb ... basketball ... joke — ah, I can’t do it: Any time two of the most illustrious programs in history get together, as will happen in Durham this weekend, we, this nation of sporting voyeurs, are luckier for it. Wait, being told this is football. Carry on.
9. ECU (1-2)
Previous ranking: 9
Last week: W 42-38 at Marshall
Up next: vs. Charleston Southern, Saturday
We defer to the write-up on the official ECU site following the victory against Marshall: “This is the type of win that can save a season.” Especially given how it came about, with 21 fourth-quarter points. But will it save the season? Pirates at least should be back to .500 Saturday.
10. Charlotte (2-1)
Previous ranking: 8
Last week: L 20-9 at Georgia State
Up next: vs. Middle Tennessee State, Friday
The good news for the 49ers on Saturday: They scored first! The bad news: Pretty much most of what happened after, especially on offense. But more good news: Charlotte’s third home game is coming up, after only two of those all of last season.