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Jerricho Cotchery drops pass Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images

During the chaotic time that marked conference realignment—so quaint now—there was a lot of freaking out, and this was an especially difficult period for schools that were not a brand in the college football world—which, when we’re talking about ACC schools, was pretty much everybody.

And so it was a great relief when the ACC held together, that the financial future of its member institutions was guaranteed, at the time, pending future negotiations, with only a small, nagging existential loss: the whole league was going to get tossed up into the air, and none of its priors would matter anymore.

In our case, that meant NC State wasn’t going to play Duke in football very often; there wasn’t room. Syracuse and Boston College and Louisville and Pittsburgh are here, and everything is fucked up, but the money still works, and what a glorious day it is!

It sucks a lot, but the Duke games were an inevitable casualty, because there’s only so much space for the Purity Of Sport and Moneyed Interests to reside in tandem, only so many slots in the schedule, only so many ways you can turn upside down the Etch-A-Sketch without arousing suspicion about your intentions.

Since that 2002 game, NC State has played Duke in football four times.