Eleven players from Wake County were among those honored with scholarships this week from the National Football Foundation. Each one of them at the annual scholars banquet of the NFF's Bill Dooley Triangle/East Chapter was presented with a plaque and will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be sent directly to the university of their attendance.
Duke won’t have to travel far for its first bowl game since 1994.
Sunday night, the Blue Devils accepted an invitation to the Dec. 27 Belk Bowl, held in Charlotte. The Blue Devils (6-6) will play Cincinnati (9-3), the co-champion and representative from the Big East Conference, at 6:30 p.m. in Bank of America stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN. Both teams will be making their first appearance in the 11-year-old bowl.
“It’s something our players have been hoping for,” Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said of the bowl assignment. “We appreciate the Belk bowl for giving us this opportunity.”
The Belk Bowl will be the ninth bowl game in Duke history and first since the Blue Devils lost 34-20 to Wisconsin in the now-defunct Hall of Fame Bowl in Tampa, Fla. Duke is 3-5 all-time in bowl games with its last win coming in the 1960 Cotton Bowl, a 7-6 victory over Arkansas.
The Bearcats will be playing in their 14th bowl game and sixth in the past seven seasons. Cincinnati beat Vanderbilt in the 2011 Liberty bowl and is 7-6 in postseason play.
“Duke has made great strides this season and we are very proud to have them representing the ACC against the Co-Champions of the Big East,” said Will Webb, the executive director of the Belk Bowl.“We feel that the Blue Devils will provide a good matchup against the Bearcats in Charlotte. We look forward to hosting both Duke and Cincinnati, and their fans, for the 2012 Belk Bowl and all the surrounding events.”
The Blue Devils and the Bearcats have one common opponent—Virginia Tech. Cincinnati beat the Hokies 27-24 on Sept. 29. After going up 20-0 on the Hokies, Duke lost 41-20 in Blacksburg on Oct. 13.
After some practice time this weekend, the Blue Devils will reconvene for practice starting Dec. 16 and depart for Charlotte Dec. 22.
“We couldn’t be happier,” Cutcliffe said. “I’m thrilled for our seniors, fan base and staff.”
Sanderson High football defensive end Desmond Owino has switched his college choice from the University of North Carolina to N.C. State.
RALEIGH – N.C. State coach Tom O’Brien found a new way to beat rival North Carolina for the fifth consecutive time. For this game, O’Brien’s Wolfpack did it with defense.
While O’Brien was committed to running the ball and having quarterback Mike Glennon manage the game, his defense held off UNC for a 13-0 win Saturday afternoon in front of 57,583 at Carter-Finley Stadium.
In a matchup that was hyped up earlier in the week by the remarks from O’Brien and UNC coach Everett Withers on graduation rates and academic standards, this game didn’t offer many offensive highlights.
The story was N.C. State’s defense, a unit that put up its first shutout against an ACC opponent since 2001. It was also the Wolfpack’s first shutout under O’Brien. And this came after N.C. State gave up 34 points to Florida State last week.
Wolfpack cornerback David Amerson andlinebacker Terrell Manning were the stars in this one.
A full handful of stone-cold locks as ACC football games — not to even mention Hurricane Irene — quickly approach:
1.The Atlantic and Coastal divisions will be popularly referred to as the Atlantic Division and the Graveyard of the Atlantic Division.
Or maybe it’ll the Football Bowl Subdivision or the Football Court of Appeals Subdivision.
With the outcome of an NCAA investigation still months away, North Carolina football coach Butch Davis, his staff and players are basically in the same situation as a year ago.
Barring an unusually quick resolution of the case, the Tar Heels will have to separate off-field from on-field issues as they go through preseason camp and the schedule.
Considering a long list of player suspensions, 2010 went reasonably well — 4-4 in the ACC, 8-5 overall and a bowl win over Tennessee.
With Louisiana State off the 2011 slate, Davis’ team should go 4-0 outside the conference. Three non-league games — James Madison (Sept. 3), Rutgers (Sept. 10) and Louisville (Oct. 8) _ will be in Chapel Hill. The only road non-leaguer will be at ECU (Oct. 1), which the Heels have easily defeated the past two seasons in Kenan Stadium.
The conference road schedule will be difficult — Georgia Tech (Sept. 24), Clemson (Oct. 22), N.C. State (Nov. 5) and Virginia Tech (Nov. 17).
But in Kenan, the Heels will be favored against all four league foes — Virginia (Sept. 17), Miami (Oct. 15), Wake Forest (Oct. 29) and Duke (Nov. 26).
As always, there’ll be surprise outcomes pro and con for the team, but an 8-4 overall, 4-4 ACC finish, or better, should be for the taking.
With a 28-23 record (15-17 ACC without a win over State) through four seasons and given the off-field turmoil, Davis could pad his firewall substantially by winning the Coastal Division title and taking the Heels to their first championship game appearance.
With both Tech games on the road, claiming the Coastal will be a long shot, particularly behind a new quarterback, Bryn Renner, and an uncertain running back situation.
But in the midst of an ongoing run of distractions last season, Davis and his staff managed to keep the players focused on the games.
That part of the preparation equation should be easier with the 2011 team.
The first Heisman Trophy handicap lists for the 2011 college football season are out, and the ACC barely is represented.
That’s not surprising, of course.
The league’s top returning players have little national visibility. The only possibility would have been N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson, who either won’t play at all in 2011 or for a new school in another conference.
Justin Meredith, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end at Anderson (S.C.) Hanna, has turned down more than 30 other scholarship offers to commit to the University of North Carolina.
Tentative ACC nonconference football schedules for the 2012 season likely will not be much different from the 2011 slates that were announced Monday by the conference.
Today's Word of the Day is "Self-Sanction," which is actually two words, but for the purposes of this discussion is one word by virtue of the hyphen.
Unless you are a sports junkie, you may not have been familiar with this term until you saw it in a secondary headline on the big story on today's N&O front page by Ken Tysiac, which read: "University won't self-sanction, awaits action by NCAA."
Yesterday, speaking to the UNC board of trustees, Chancellor Holden Thorp, in the middle up there in the picture shot by Ted Richardson, between coach Butch Davis (left) and athletic director Dick Baddour (right), said the school would not impose sanctions on itself. Later on, Baddour said, well, that could change if the NCAA sends UNC what is known as a "letter of allegations."
So maybe UNC will self-sanction, and maybe it won't. I'm thinking it won't any time soon.
Self-sanctions are typically used by schools in some kind of mess involving NCAA violations as a way of showing that they get it. The thinking is that if you punish yourself, the NCAA will feel less inclined to bring the hammer down on you.
The fact that UNC isn't doing this despite the agent violations and the academic integrity, ah, issues, may mean they think the NCAA won't be too tough on them. I don't know. A lawyer mentioned in the story today who counsels schools on NCAA investigations said he expects stiff sanctions.
But maybe these sanctions won't come down for a while, particularly after UNC has signed up its next recruiting class. Thorp has said previously that it might take a year before the NCAA finishes its work. In one sense, that would leave a cloud over the program, but in another sense, time may be UNC's friend here. Particularly if they have a terrific season next fall, which UNC could.
UNC is trying to become a big-time football program. That's why it went out and got a big-time coach like Butch Davis. That's why it has embarked on a big-time construction program at Kenan Stadium, a move aimed at bringing in the kind of revenues that will not only help fund football but all the sports at UNC that don't make money.
As I read today's story, I thought about all this, and realized how interconnected everything is at UNC. The future of the football program, the future of Butch Davis, the future of the facilities expansion, paying for all the scholarships required for the non-revenue sports. If UNC gives a good hard shove to its football program too soon in the form of self-sanctions - maybe it doesn't go to a bowl next year, maybe it loses a bunch of football scholarships -- then things can unravel. Maybe hot recruits go to football programs unencumbered by post-season restrictions, etc. Better, if you are UNC, to play for time, may be the thinking in Chapel Hill.