North Carolina looking to take back the Victory Bell


The North Carolina Tar Heels football season kicks off on August 30th against the Liberty Flames at home in Kenan Stadium. To get you ready for the nationally ranked Tar Heel’s first game, Keeping It Heel will have an extensive football preview series previewing all of Carolina’s positions, games and reviewing 2013′s games. Check back to Keeping It Heel every afternoon for new preview posts. Today, let’s preview UNC Football’s game against Duke.


When the ACC schedule was released back in January, one game stuck out more than any other for the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Herald-Suns’s Steve Wiseman and Harold Gutmann tell the story here in this article:

"November’s Duke-North Carolina football game at Wallace Wade Stadium is set for prime time.Sources said Tuesday that the nationally televised ESPN game will be played on Nov. 20, a Thursday night, only the second time Duke has played an ACC game on a weeknight and the first time at home…Duke has only held two Thursday night games at Wallace Wade Stadium in the past. The first Thursday night game was on Nov. 10, 1983 when portable lights were installed for a game televised by Atlanta’s Superstation WTBS as part of its prime-time football series. The Blue Devils beat N.C. State 27-26.On Sept. 15, 1994, Duke beat Army 43-7 in a nonconference game.Two years later, on Sept. 26, 1996, Duke played a Thursday night ACC game at Georgia Tech, losing 64-27."

The North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils will face off in prime time just under 90 days. The game will be an opportunity for the Heels to take back the Victory Bell, which they lost in 2012.

Here is one analogy for the recent history of the rivalries between UNC and N.C. State and UNC and Duke. Imagine N.C. State is the oldest brother, UNC as the middle brother and Duke as the youngest brother. All three brothers are play pick-up basketball in their driveway once a year for all the bragging rights in the family.

For a span of five years, from 2007 to 2011, N.C. State beat the Heels five straight times and held bragging rights in the state. So from 2007 on, N.C. State was like the older brother that’s just too tall. But UNC kept growing, kept fighting, and finally, in 2012, Giovanni Bernard landed a knock out blow to mean old big brother.

UNC finally grew enough to beat their big brother, but suddenly, their little brother hit a growth spurt. UNC’s little brother, Duke, struggled against the Tar Heels for the longest time. From 1990 to 2011, Duke won just one game against the Tar Heels in 2003. There was also a stretch of five games from 1997-2001 in which the combined score of the UNC-Duke games was 227-58 in favor of the Tar Heels. In 2012, the streak ended for UNC in heartbreaking fashion.

Warning: this video can be painful to watch for Tar Heel fans

Last year, the Tar Heels took control of the games against their big brother (beating State 27-19 as Coach Fedora went 2-0 in his career against State) but again couldn’t beat their younger brother. Duke again beat the Tar Heels on their home turf to keep the Victory Bell in Durham.

All three “brothers” will play again this year. NC. State comes to Kenan Stadium on Saturday November 29th, and Dukes hosts the Tar Heels nine days before that game. UNC looks like a pretty safe pick to win over the Wolfpack, but the game between the Tar Heels and Dukies is a toss up at this point.

Duke has had the advantage in the last two years, but the Tar Heels will be hungry and won’t overlook Duke. In prime time the last two years, the Tar Heels have showed up well. In 2012, UNC beat Virginia and in 2013, the Heels played really well in front of a blacked-out Kenan Stadium crowd against Miami. This year the Heels will look to play well again and put their “little brother” in his place on the way to hopefully bringing the victory bell back to Chapel Hill.