FanPost

Why You Should Watch NC State-Wake Forest This Weekend (An Appeal to Non-Interested Parties)

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports




This is an NC State sports blog, so I'm sure this goes without saying to the direct audience. Maybe send it along to some of your non-believing friends. Either way, I hope it serves as an interesting history of what is, in my opinion, one of CFB's most under-appreciated rivalries.


I get it, I get it: the ACC is terrible this year and has virtually no hopes of making the College Football Playoff. The game is being played on the ACC Network for lord knows what reason. But believe me: this is a game you'll want to catch.


First, the history.


THE HISTORY


NC State and Wake Forest have met in football every year since 1910, and 113 times in the last 113 years; that makes this game tied for the second longest-running active matchup in college football history, sharing its 111 year running with Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, and trailing only Minnesota-Wisconsin, who began their current series in 1907*. Despite this, the game has no official name or trophy; this makes the game the only game among the top 10 longest-running rivalries in the sport with neither a title nor a trophy.


Perhaps part of the reason for this lack of attention is that it's one of the more lopsided of college's oldest series: NC State leads the series 67-41-6, with the 26-win buffer netting the Wolfpack a 0.6140 all-time win percentage. The only continual football series with a more lopsided score is Bedlam, with Oklahoma holding a staggering 90-18-7 lead for a 0.8130 win-percentage. Though UNC's 61-38-4 lead over Duke for the Victory Bell also comes close, none of the other top-ten oldest rivalries are north of the 50s in terms of winning percentage. [1]


Part of the reason for this domination is NC State's early lead in the series. Wake Forest started playing football first, entering intercollegiate play in the Fall of 1888 and the Spring of 1889 against two of the other three Tobacco Road schools. By the time NC State (then North Carolina A&M) first competed in a single-game season in the Spring of 1892, Wake Forest had been sponsoring football for nearly five years.


The school’s support, however, was less than tremendous. First, interest among the students waned in 1890, when the Deacons failed to field a team, apparently due to lack of interest; it is worth noting, however, that UNC had a faculty ban on campus in 1890, making Duke the only local team of any note. Wake Forest also did not field a team in 1894 at the behest of school faculty.


Initially, it looked like the 1895 Gold and Black football team would face the same fate, with faculty dissuading students from organizing a team as late as September, with Wake Forest president, Charles Elisha Taylor, going as far as requiring written permission from the parents of all students who intended to play. However, eventually, permission was granted and a team was organized. The Baptists played their first and only game of the season against NC State on October 19th, resulting in a 4-4 tie; both touchdowns were scored in the first half, and both teams missed the 2-point goal kicks.


Just days after the game, the faculty reversed course, banning all off-campus and intercollegiate football matches on October 24th, annulling a schedule with at least four more games scheduled, as well as an indeterminate date to play off the tie against NC State.


Football remained prohibited at Wake Forest until 1908. In the intervening years, NC State went from a nascent program and the youngest college team in the state to a powerhouse along the South Atlantic, claiming ownership of the South Atlantic region in 1907 after new coach Mickey Whitehurst led the Farmers to a 6-0-1 record, with their sole loss coming against the All-Stars of North Carolina, a team organized solely for the purpose of preparing NC State for their game against perennial-powerhouse Virginia; the North Carolinians won the game 10-4.


Though Whitehurst and his speedy style of play remained in Raleigh for only two more years, he built the foundation of a strong team; the Red and White went 6-1 in both 1908 and 1909, and would not field a team with a losing record until 1914, when the team went 3-3-1.


But I’m getting ahead of myself. In the meantime, Wake Forest was allowed to play only inter-class football. While the matchups were of immense interest to the student body, they lacked the same luster as claiming a victory over a rival school.


Finally, in 1908, the Wake Forest faculty relented. While major reforms to the sport during the early half of the first decade of the new century, another major concession between the students and faculty in reviving the sport was the agreement that all hazing be banned from campus.


Understandably, the Baptists struggled their first season back: their team captain, L. B. Simmons, was the only Deacon who had ever played football before, and he only at the prep school (high school) level. Due to difficulties in acquiring practice gear, the Wake Forest team held only mock scrimmages until September 24th, just two days before their season opener against then-powerhouse North Carolina. Wake Forest managed just one first down throughout the game, but through stiff defensive work managed to hold the score to a respectable 0-17 loss.


A week later, Wake Forest faced NC State. The first game played on Wake Forest grounds since 1893, it was also the first game of the season played by NC State. Approximately 800 fans, as well as "nearly every automobile in the city" crowded around the Wake Forest athletic field to watch the Deacons lose 25-0. The game was entirely uninteresting: NC State jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first half, and was described as "replete with fumbles" and lacking any spectacular plays.


The game more than made up for its lack of excitement on the field by furnishing plenty at the end. Though no one can agree who started it, one player punched another; this escalated into an all-out full-team brawl, with players brandishing "nose guards, head gear, fists, and any sort of weapon that happened to be at hand." Not wanting to be left out, the crowd descended upon the field, and in the madness a Wake Forest policeman had his pistol stolen. The fight lasted nearly five minutes, resulted in the ejection of four players (3 from NC State and 1 from Wake Forest), and left a black cloud hovering over Wake Forest’s first home in nearly two decades.


Despite the messy start, the Baptists plodded ahead, picking up their first win after a 21-0 against Warrenton Prep School -- a school NC State’s scrub team defeated 40-0. After losing one more game to Davidson, Wake Forest closed their season with a second game against NC State on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.


The November 21st, 1908 game was possibly less interesting than the first game of the season, and is only notable because it remains the largest margin of victory ever recorded in the series (NC State won 76-0), and remained the highest-scoring match between the two teams until 1986, when NC State took down Wake Forest 42-38. After 2020’s 45-42 barnburner which NC State won to snap a 3-year losing streak, the game remains the 3rd-highest scoring game in series history.


1909 was a brighter season for Wake Forest; aided by the fact that they fielded more than just one player who had so much as held a football before, as well as a newly-founded athletic association, Wake Forest defeated two colleges, taking down Maryville 3-0, as well as a historically-bad South Carolina eleven 8-0. Originally, the Deacons were set to meet NC State on the Saturday before Thanksgiving for the second consecutive year. Unfortunately, however, the game was canceled.


The reasons for the cancelation, however, remain unclear. Some sources claimed that a group of Wake Forest sophomores were caught hazing; as this was a direct breach of the previous year’s agreement, the faculty prematurely disbanded the team and canceled all remaining contests. Later statements, however, claim that Wake Forest canceled the games "owing to the crippled condition of the players" and because "they did not consider themselves in the same class as A. & M. [NC State]."


Whatever the reason, 1909 remains the most recent year the two teams failed to meet. The rivalry has survived two World Wars, the Great Depression, and two global pandemics. Through thick and thin, the two teams have found a way to schedule each other.


And yet, the two teams have never been primary rivals. While early-rival UNC shunned NC State and refused to play them from 1906-1919 for various reasons, NC State’s primary rival became Virginia Tech. Part of that could be NC State’s aforementioned dominance in the series: Wake Forest didn’t get their first win until 1918, and that over an NC State team that lost 25 members of its regular team as well as 5 starters to military service.


The 1918 season was a tough one for NC State. In addition to the number of players taken for military service (NC State was, after all, a land grant school which required military participation for all male students until the 1960s), the entire country was ravaged by the Spanish Flu. The pandemic eventually resulted in the death of at least 13 students and 2 nurses. NC State finished the season with only 1 win since 1901.


One of those losses remains a particularly bad loss: in fact, the worst loss in school history. NC State traveled down to Atlanta, Georgia on November 10th to meet Georgia Tech. Though the Farmers were still hamstrung, they were able to gain the assistance of several of the players who had enlisted in the Army, as several former players happened to be stationed at nearby Camp Gordon and were granted leave for the weekend.


However, the Farmers still lost the game 128-0, with the tone being set early: four players were injured on the opening kickoff alone. The Farmers were down 75-0 at the half, and only 5 minutes of the 4th quarter was played before both teams agreed to call the game off.


While NC State came into their November 23rd, 1918 game with low expectations (having lost 0-25 to Virginia Tech and only one win on the season), they were shocked by their 0-21 loss to Wake Forest. As explained in the 1919 Agromeck, "They brought the best team to Raleigh that ever represented that institution. [Wake Forest] Coach Rabehnhorst had seven veterans of the 1917 team and, frankly, we underestimated their strength. We had won from Wake Forest in football so regularly that we had come to believe we could lick them by merely going on the field and 'going through the motions.' Apparently our bunch went on the field with that idea, for in just five minutes Wake Forest scored a touchdown and kicked a goal, and from that time on they were never headed."


While that may sound entitled, the yearbook writers were not exactly wrong. Going into the 1918 meeting, NC State led the series 10-0-1, had outscored Wake Forest 276-18 and pitched 7 shutouts. In fact, that loss was the first time ever the Deacons made more than one touchdown against the Aggies, as well as the first time they had ever scored more than 6 points. Two of those games, however (1916 and 1917) were features of the North Carolina State Fair, symbolizing that the matchup was starting to draw more competitive interest


The series became more competitive after that, though NC State continued to hold an edge. NC State won again every year from 1919-1922 by at least two scores. Wake Forest had back-to-back wins for the first time in 1923 and 1924, winning 14-0 the first year and 12-0 in the second. NC State rebounded, winning the next two games by narrow margins before scoring 30 or more points in the next two matches.


Beginning in 1928 and running through 1932, the game returned as a feature event of the State Fair, though by this time games were less of a feature of the Fair and more of a simultaneous event. Those games were an even 2-2-1 split.


In 1933, the series returned to Wake Forest for the first time since 1922. The home momentum, though, wasn’t enough to propel a putrid 0-5-1 Deacon team to a win. It did, however, help the Old Gold and Black notch their only non-loss of the season against an equally-anemic 1-5-3 Wolfpack team by playing to a 0-0 tie--the second consecutive such game in the series.


When the game returned to Raleigh the next year the Baptists narrowly edged out NC State in a 13-12 slugfest, using a gutsy aerial attack to overcome a 6-12 deficit in the closing minutes to pull off the victory which was widely regarded as an upset at the time. It was later less shocking, as the Red and White finished the season with a 2-6-1 record, though Wake Forest still only eked out 3 wins of their own.


1934 was the beginning of a period of Wake Forest dominance. While the series stood at 19-6-3 in favor of the Aggies heading into 1935, a quarter-decade later the series was nearly tied, the Baptists went on to win 15 of the next 25 games. Wake Forest went on their longest win streak in the history of the program from 1951-54, and went 7 games without losing from 1939-1945. This period also saw Wake Forest’s biggest margin of victory in the series, with the Deacons taking down NC State 54-6 in 1943.


All this success was found under the tutelage of new coach Douglas "Peahead" Walker. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Walker was a long-time staple in semi-pro baseball leagues in North Carolina and Virginia, where he had been playing since 1921. He got his first job as a football head coach at Atlantic Christian (now Barton College) in 1926 before spending the next 12 years as a tri-team coach over Elon’s football, basketball, and baseball teams. He landed at an ailing Wake Forest program, which had not won more than 5 games in over a decade, as their football coach in 1937. Walker remained Wake Forest’s football coach until a salary dispute with Wake Forest’s president embittered his feelings towards the college.


Though Walker left following the 1950 season, Wake Forest continued to dominate the series for the remainder of the decade (7-1-2) despite her football team returning to below-average form, with Tom Rogers and Paul Amen winning an average of 3.4 games per year; Amen in particular is the owner of a 0-10 season in 1957, arguably the worst in team history and the first winless season since 1933. Nonetheless, the 26-21-6 all-time record Wake Forest had managed remains the closest Wake Forest has ever gotten to leading the series since the initial tie in 1895.


While Wake Forest was dropping ten consecutive games (twelve if you include the close of the 1956 season), NC State was trending the complete opposite direction. After hiring Earle Edwards in 1954, early returns seemed poor: the Greensburg, Pennsylvania native posted three consecutive seasons with 4-or-fewer wins and two seasons with 7-or-more losses. In 1955, Edwards showed the Wolfpack had at least some signs of a pulse, tying Wake Forest 13-13, resulting in NC State’s first non-loss against a Tobacco Road team since 1950; incidentally, this was also the final tie in series history. Two years later, NC State earned its first win over such a team with a 19-0 win over the Deacons.


While NC State was changing football coaches, Wake Forest was changing campuses. Wake Forest moved from its original campus in Wake Forest, NC to the town of Winston-Salem, over 100 miles away, in 1956. Bowman-Gray Stadium, a venue primarily noted for its NASCAR usage (but which remains to this day the playing field of HBCU Winston-Salem State), became the new home of the Deacons. The Gold and Black went 0-2 in their first two home games, but finally managed to get things right against NC State, winning 13-0.


The 1957 season was important for more reasons than just earning a win against Wake Forest. Earle Edwards, who would remain in Raleigh for 17 years and remains their longest-tenured coach to this day, established what he called his Pennsylvania Connection. This was headlined by Philadelphia-born Dick Christy. Perhaps Christy’s greatest moment came that season with a 29-26 win against South Carolina in which he scored every point for the Red and White. The game was tied 26-all in the final seconds when Alex Hawkins intercepted a Gamecock pass. Hawkins looked to run the ball back but was stopped just 15-yards short of the USC endzone with no time left, causing South Carolina fans to rush the field in excitement. Their excitement, however, was short-lived, as a holding call allowed NC State to run a final untimed play from scrimmage. Christy convinced Coach Edwards to let him kick the game-deciding point despite the fact he had never so much as attempted a field goal in college play before.


1957 was also the first time NC State was ranked heading into the Wake Forest game. The Farmers were ranked 10th heading into the game. Wake Forest themselves had been ranked twice going into the game (ranked 18th and 16th in 1949 and 1950, respectively) but had lost the former game and tied the latter. As such, NC State’s 19-0 win in 1957 symbolized the first time a ranked team had won the game.


While NC State flip-flopped between successful and mediocre seasons during the course of the next decade, they pulled away once again from Wake Forest, boosting the all-time series to a 33-22-6 record, winning 9 of the next 12 games. The Deacons won two close games in 1958 and ‘59, and played the Wolfpack to narrow, one-score losses in both 1960 and ‘61, but were smashed 42-0 in 1963 by the first of three straight Wolfpack teams to own at least a portion of the claim to ACC Champion.


Despite that statistic, NC State lost to Wake Forest in 1964 -- the only of those three seasons the team held the ACC title outright. This was because even with a conference record of 5-2, NC State was still one-and-a-half wins ahead of the next closest team, Duke, who finished the season with 3-2-1 record. This remains the only time one of the two teams lost the game but won the conference.


1967 was just the second time the Red and White entered the game ranked, though the game was also notable for a second reason: it was the first-ever night game in the recently-opened Carter Stadium (now Carter-Finley Stadium). The Farmers increased their record in ranked games to 2-0 with a 24-7 victory over Wake Forest, and won the next game 10-6.


1969 was the beginning of a big bounceback for Wake Forest which culminated in a conference championship in 1970, the program’s first title regardless of conference, and their only until 2006. Led by first-year head coach Cal Stoll, the Deacons opened their season with a 22-21 win over the Red and White. Wake Forest quarterback Larry Russell put the whole game on the line with five seconds remaining, successfully converting a 2-point conversion to get the Gold and Black their first win over NC State in 5 years. Compared in papers to David beating Goliath, as NC State was on the heels of their 1968 co-ACC Champion season, their fourth share of the league title in six years and their sixth in twelve years. Coach Stoll was quoted as saying the team earned the upset victory "on heart and sheer emotion."


It proved to be something of a high-point that season, as Wake went 2-7 the remainder of the season. The next year, however, the Deacons proved the win was no fluke. Though they edged out another close victory, winning 16-13, they won the ACC Championship despite losing 7-43 to South Carolina early in the season, ending the season with a paltry 6-5 overall record but a 5-1 record against ACC teams.


While Wake Forest was celebrating their first ACC Championship, NC State was in the process of making a hectic head coaching change. Earle Edwards retired unexpectedly in June, leaving the Farmers flummoxed. They found their ideal head coach in up-and-coming William & Mary coach pioneer Lou Holtz, but he refused to leave so close to the start of the season. Instead, long-time assistant Al Michaels was plugged in temporarily. Entering the game with a 0-4 record, Michaels won his first and only game against Wake Forest 21-14.


Larry Russell made a name for himself for the second time in three years during the rivalry, though this time for the wrong reason. Trailing 15-14 with time running out, Wake Forest sent out kicker Chuck Ramsey to attempt a 51-yard field goal in a driving rain. The kick fell short, allowing Bill Miller to catch the ball and begin sprinting down the field for what was believed to be a sure touchdown. Suddenly, Wake Forest’s quarterback, Larry Russell, tackled Miller from out of nowhere. The play would have saved the game, except for one problem: Russell had started the play on the bench and tackled illegally. Eventually, Miller was awarded a 69-yard touchdown despite the tackle using the "palpably unfair" rule.


The next season, Lou Holtz made the jump to Raleigh, where his innovative Twin Veer offensive scheme catapulted NC State to the forefront of the ACC. The Wolfpack never finished a season below 3rdd in the ACC under his leadership from 1972-75, and won a share of the title his second year. While NC State won 7-or-more games each year of his tenure, Wake Forest was in the middle of a serious rebuilding phase, losing 3-or-more games each year under the guidance of Tom Harper and Chuck Mills. NC State won the matchup the first of Holtz’s 3 years, but lost in his final season in Raleigh 30-22. Holtz remembered it as the "one of the few times we lost a game when we had been a pretty good-sized favorite."


The loss was dually embarrassing for NC State as it snapped a 16-game home winning streak for NC State dating back 3 years, as well as giving Wake Forest their first ACC win since 1972. Additionally, it was the first time a ranked NC State team had lost against the Deacons, causing a 15th-ranked Wolfpack to drop entirely from the rankings; they would not be ranked again until 1978. Nonetheless, the Farmers were 4-1 when ranked while Wake Forest remained 0-1-1, and had not been ranked heading into the game since 1950.


Wake Forest won again in 1976 but failed to win more than two games in a five year stretch until the 2000s. From 1977 to 2002, the Wolfpack outpaced Wake Forest 21-5, stretching the all-time lead to 59-31-6. In that period, there were a few close games here and there, however, most were not. NC State won by two touchdowns or more 13 times, and had an average margin of victory of just under 17 points.


Weirdly, this period of blowouts hosted what was, until this year, the only game in which both teams were ranked. In their final game of the regular season, an 8-2-1 who were ranked number 13 nationally hosted the 7-3 Deacons, who edged their way into the rankings at number 25. NC State knocked the socks off of Wake Forest, winning the match 42-12.


The early 2000s was a time of transitions for both programs. NC State was the first to entire the hiring process, hiring Chuck Amato before the 2000 season after firing Mike O’Cain at the close of the 1999 season after having failed to win a bowl game for the fifth consecutive year, citing a lack of consistent success as their primary factor. Wake Forest, meanwhile, moved on from Jim Caldwell after the 2000 season which opened with a 7-game losing streak and ended with a 32-14 loss to NC State. Jim Grobe was hired as his replacement.


Since Grobe’s hiring, the series has been as competitive as it ever has been: both teams have gone through one coaching change (in 2013 and 2014, respectively), and both teams have gone an even 10-10 head-to-head. Grobe arguably had the most tangible success, winning the most recent of each team’s conference titles in 2006, however both programs have been roughly equal in terms of wins, with NC State winning an average of 7 games a season since 2002, and Wake Forest winning an average of 6.


In particular, both teams have had a hard time on the road, with NC State going 1-8 in Winston-Salem since 2002, and Wake Forest going 2-8 in Raleigh. Notably, however, the past 4 years have been exceptionally competitive games. In 2017, the Wolfpack stood the chance to win a 30-24 ball game on the final drive when a goal-line fumble by Emeka Emezie sealed the game. The next year, the Wolfpack led for all but one minute of the game, but squandered their lead after Wake capped three of their four final drives with touchdowns while the Wolfpack got two straight turnovers on downs and closed the door with an interception. In 2020, NC State opened their season against Wake Forest in a 45-42 barnburner after a Covid issue prevented the team from traveling to Blacksburg for their original opening game. This game set a new record for total points scored, breaking the record of 80 set in 1986, and was the first time either of the teams were the other’s opening game since 1974. In Raleigh, we don’t talk about 2019.


Now, for why this year’s game is so important:



THE IMPORTANCE


While of course the rivalry and the previous two decades of close play are a major factor coming into this game, there are other obvious reasons this game is hugely important. First off, as mentioned in the intro, the game is in all likelihood the game that determines who wins the ACC Atlantic; NC State has never won the Atlantic division since it was created in 2005, and has not won the ACC since 1979. Wake Forest, on the other hand, has not won either since 2006, when Jim Grobe captured both with a 9-6 win over Georgia Tech. In 2021, both teams are the frontrunners to reach the title game, with Clemson the lone dark horse.


Historically, NC State has won both the NC State-Wake Forest game and their conference any given year 8 times, and Wake Forest just twice, though this is a bit unfair since two of NC State’s championship games before Wake Forest joined their first conference in 1936. The only time one of these two teams won the league championship without winning this game was in 1964, when NC State lost 27-13 to Wake Forest but won the ACC.


Additionally, it’s only the second time both teams have been ranked. Thirteen is the highest AP Poll ranking WFU has ever had coming into this game, narrowly edging out their 18th- and 16th-ranked appearances in 1949 and 1950, respectively, while NC State is ranked 21st in the poll. In that regard, the rankings are a near reversal of their only other ranked meeting, back in 1992, when NC State was ranked 13th and Wake Forest was 25th.


Historically, Wake Forest has gone 1-3-1 while ranked, however this is a bit unfair since two of their three losses came when they were ranked 24th or lower. NC State, on the other hand, is 9-5 while ranked, however 4 of those losses have come in the last five ranked meetings, with 2002 being the last time a ranked Wolfpack took down a Wake Forest team. None of that bodes well for an NC State team that’s already got a poor record in Truist (slash BB&T) Field.


SO WHO WILL WIN?


To be honest, it’s anybody’s guess. I’ll try and make a few prognostications, though, and we can all laugh about how bad they are.


Based on win-loss alone, Wake Forest is the frontrunner. They’ve lost just one game this season, and at an 8-1 record are one win ahead of the 7-2 Wolfpack. Betting options indicate a close game but favor Wake Forest by half a field goal, while a Reddit survey of CFB fans shows a near-even split as well.


On the season, NC State’s offense, which ranks 57th among FBS schools, averaging 6.0 yards per play and 414.7 yards per game, will be meeting up against a porous 105th-ranked Wake Forest defense which has allowed just as many yards per play and slightly more yards per game.


That comparison slightly favors NC State, however, as NC State has faced some weak defenses, playing on average the number 73rd ranked defense, while Wake Forest has faced an average offense that would rank 48th. The best defensive team the Pack have faced, no. 20-ranked Mississippi State, won a 24-10 match where NC State won most of the numbers battles except the one that counted. Clemson and Boston College were the two next-best defenses the Pack faced, ranking 28th and 29th, respectively. The Wolfpack won both games, though Clemson’s game in particular was a close one. Down several key defensive players due to injury, this NC State defense has impressed all year since their week 2 game.


Wake Forest’s offense, on the other hand, has been electric. The number 6-ranked offense among FBS teams, the Deacons have been accumulating just under 7 yards per play and over 500 yards per game, all against defenses that average out to a 69th-best rank (nice). This will be the best offense the Wolfpack have faced, as well as the second-best defense the Gold and Black have seen from a YPG perspective, with Syracuse’s defense measuring just a hair better.


Breaking it down in terms of passing and rushing, it’s mostly a battle of strengths against strengths and weaknesses against weaknesses. NC State comes into the game with the 24th-ranked passing offense, netting 278 yards per game through the air and 11.6 per completion, while Wake Forest’s 48th-ranked passing defense allows 219 yards per game and 12.5 per completion. On the ground, NC State’s 136 yards per game rank 94th nationally, but average below the 121st-ranked Demon Deacons’ defense, which yields just under 5 yards per rush. Look for this matchup to be exploited after Devin Leary’s arm requires more attention; NC State’s cadre of running backs was widely touted in the offseason, but has so far failed to live up to the hype.


On the other side of the field, Wake Forest’s meteoric passing offense is currently ranked 11th nationally, with Sam Hartman slinging for 321 yards per game and just under 10-yards per attempt. NC State’s passing defense has been no slouch, though, ranking 51st nationally but only allowing 220 yards per game and 6.3 per attempt. On the ground, Wake Forest’s rushing attack, which has carried the ball for 188 yards per game (good for a 43rd-best ranking) squares up against a suffocating run-stopping scheme organized by Tony Gibson which is yet to allow 1000 total yards on the season. Ranked 10th nationally, the Wolfpack allow just 3.3 yards per rush and just over 100 yards per game, despite losing two all-ACC caliber linebackers.


So where does this get us all? Good question. I had originally hoped to do some math involving expected outcomes and comparative strength of teams, but I procrastinated way too long on this. So, instead, here we sit.


MY FINAL PLEA(s)


I didn’t touch on this much since the intro, but we should seriously get this game a nickname or a trophy. Otherwise, I hope you learned something interesting and will tune into the game Saturday, someway and somehow.






* The Minnesota-Wisconsin series nearly came to a close during the Covid pandemic, but survived with the benefit of some agile scheduling.


[1]

Oklahoma-Oklahoma State - 1910 - Bedlam - 90-18-7 (0.8130)

NCSU-WFU - 1910 - no name or trophy - 67-41-6 (0.6140)

Duke-North Carolina - 1922 - Victory Bell - 61-38-4 (0.6117)

Kansas-Kansas State - 1911 - Governor's Cup - 64-50-5 (0.5588)

Iowa-Minnesota - 1931 - Floyd of Rosedale - 62–50–2 (0.5526)

Oklahoma-Texas - 1929 - Red River Shootout - 62–50–5 (0.5513)

Army-Navy - 1930 - Secretary's Trophy - 61–53–7 (0.5331)

Iowa State-Kansas - 1932 - Cy-Hawk Trophy - 45-50-6 (0.5246)

North Carolina-Virginia -1919 - South's Oldest Rivalry - 63.5–58.5–4 (0.5198)

Kansas State-Iowa State - 1917 - Farmageddon* - 52-49-4 (0.5143)

Minnesota-Wisconsin - 1907 - Paul Bunyan's Axe - 62-60-8 (0.5077)