The North Carolina Tar Heels will play the Duke Blue Devils in football in two weeks as they always do. The winner of the game every year receives the treasured “Victory Bell” to be displayed at their respective school. The Victory Bell tradition was started in 1948 and at one time was as heated their basketball rivalry is today. UNC leads the all-time record at 40-20-1. In recent years, this game has not had the meaning as it once did as UNC has won every year since 1990 with the exception of 2003. (All 2008 and 2009 wins were vacated due to the notice of NCAA allegations.)
Nov, 26, 2011; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels running back Giovani Bernard (26) runs for a touchdown as Duke Blue Devils safety Walt Canty (4) defends in the second quarter at Kenan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
That’s 21 out of 22 wins. Something seems to be a bit different this time around though.
Both teams have one game left on their schedules before the meeting. Duke has to travel to Virginia Tech and the Heels have to travel down to Miami. Both teams have tough match-ups on the road. But if both teams come out of next week with a win, the annual Victory Bell game could really be spectacular to watch. A win for Duke next week would put them at a 6-1 bowl eligible record, while the Heels would move up to a 5-2 record.
ESPN has figured out the same thing. They have figured out that this game is so important that it is going to be aired on prime-time television on ESPN2. On October 20th, the Heels will play the Blue Devils at 7pm at Wallace Wade Stadium. At no point that I can remember would any station consider airing this nationally unless it was basketball season. The mix of recent events surrounding each program with the combination of the two schools’ history seems to be the perfect concoction for prime-time television. Duke received 3 votes this week to be in the AP top 25 rankings. Duke has not received a vote since 1994. UNC is ranked 9th in the country in points averaging 44 a game with 1st year coach Larry Fedora. However, they are not bowl eligible due to NCAA sanctions, so in a way, this is their bowl game. Both sides have a lot of riding on the Victory Bell tradition.
This game could signal that Duke is no longer going to be the doormat of the ACC. It could also further indications that UNC is going to be a real contender in years to come under Coach Fedora. With the records as they currently stand, this game has huge implications on the ACC Coastal Division. Duke and North Carolina could hoist themselves to the top of the standings. So I believe that they got it right to give this game the reverence it truly deserves in making it a prime-time game..