On the heels of the announcement that State and West Virginia will play a home-and-home series in 2018-19, and Mississippi State in 2020-21 (click here for more on this), is the news that State and Duke are both interested in a regular (non-conference) series in the future.
Like West Virginia and Mississippi State, this is the type of series State fans would welcome.
Gerald Harrison, Duke’s senior associate director of athletics who handles football scheduling, said Duke and N.C. State have interest in playing non-conference games in the years the ACC schedule doesn’t have them playing league games.
That’s most of the time. Duke and N.C. State played in Raleigh in 2009 and again, five years later, last November at Wallace Wade Stadium. Because they play in opposite divisions, they aren’t scheduled to play against each other in ACC play again until 2020.
“We don’t play Duke for six more years,” Doeren said. “It would be a great trip, I think, for both schools. But we haven’t been able to make it work yet.”
But Harrison said Duke athletics director Kevin White and Debbie Yow, his counterpart at N.C. State, have discussed playing nonconference games and both are receptive to the idea.
Doing so would help both schools meet the ACC’s new suggestion that, beginning in 2017, league teams play at least one nonconference game each year against a team from the power five leagues (ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac-12) or Notre Dame.
With schedules done so far in advance, though, there won’t be room for a Duke-N.C. State nonconference game for several years.
Duke has contracts to play Kansas (2014), Northwestern (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) and Baylor (2017, 2018). The ACC has Duke playing at Notre Dame in 2016.
N.C. State announced this week it will play West Virginia in 2018 and 2019. The Wolfpack is also playing Notre Dame in 2016 and 2017 and has an agreement with Mississippi State for games in 2020 and 2021.
In addition to the power five schools already under contract for games, Duke has a full slate of four nonconference games set up through the 2017 season. Games with Army (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018) are set up as well as Tulane (2014, 2015, 2019) and the Bull City Classic game with N.C. Central (2015, 2016, 2017).
The N.C. Central series is likely to continue with a new contract in 2018 and beyond to give Duke a game with a Football Championship Subdivision team annually.
While Duke-N.C. State nonconference games would be more preferable to both sides than many of those opponents, getting out of contracts can prove onerous with cancellation fees and trying to find new opponents for the other school.
With massive upgrades to Wallace Wade Stadium already under way and expected to be mostly completed for the 2016 season, Duke would love to have N.C. State come every other year, either as a nonconference or ACC foe, to help fill the expanded facility.
Finding room on the schedule is a problem until after 2020, though. Cutcliffe said, with all the changes on the horizon to college football, trying to plan games is difficult.
That includes Duke and N.C. State games.
“I think it can happen,” Cutcliffe said, “but again its very difficult because all these things are set. It requires you looking at buying out of this game or buying out of that one. I think what all of us need to wait and see is where is this power five going. What;s going to really happen long term. To talk scheduling right now is kind of futile. There are a lot of things changing in college football.”