UNC, Wake Forest Schedule Non-Conference Football Series

By Kevin Kelley -

The North Carolina Tar Heels and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons have scheduled a non-conference home-and-home football series for the 2019 and 2021 seasons, the two schools announced today.

Yes, you read that right. UNC and Wake are going to play a home-and-home series that will count as non-conference games rather than ACC games. According to the release by UNC, it’s the first time two Power Five schools have agreed to play a series “originally scheduled as non-conference games.”

“This is a unique opportunity to play a regional rival in years that fall outside the normal conference rotation,” said UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham. “We have a long history with Wake Forest that has historical value and will generate interest within our fans.”

In the first game of the series, North Carolina will travel to face Wake Forest at BB&T Field in Winston-Salem on Sept. 14, 2019. The Tar Heels will then host the Demon Deacons on Sept. 25, 2021 at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill to conclude the series.

UNC and Wake have met 105 times in a series that began back in 1888. The two schools met each season from 1944 through 2004. But due to ACC expansion, the two in-state rivals have only played four times since then.

North Carolina hosts Wake Forest this coming season, but then doesn’t travel to face the Deacons until 2022.

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Comments (37)

That occurred b/c the game was scheduled before Colorado joined making them the P12. It was better to keep the game and make it non conference than both teams having to find a game, They would have to get a pay game with a mid major or FCS school.

The writer points out that this is the first home for home series between two schools of the same conference that count as a non-conference game, which was not the case for Colorado and Cal game in 2011, as Colorado joined the Pac-10/12 in 2011 and the front end game of that series was 2010 when both were still in separate conferences, and series was scheduled back in 2004. hedules.com/2011/09/california-colorado-non-conference-football-game/

I am glad they playing, long series history, 105 games, started in 1888, I would play that game every year, not a fan of either school, but why play random school, when you can that games with series history like that. I am fan of Miami Hurricanes, I wish Florida would go for home for home series, but they want to do a couple of neutral site games like in Jacksonville/Orlando which would be more a home game. I would be up for at least couple of neutral sites games, but I want a home for home regular series.

This is why it would.be really nice if the ACC coud switch to an non-division, eight-game schedule where every team plays every other team at least twice every four years.

They would be allowed to have a Championship game if that happened. Cant have a championship game if the conference is under a certain number of teams.

The ACC teams really don’t buy into overall scheduling guidance. Thoughts that FCS opponents could be phased out long-term caused NCSU to schedule nine of them. A requirement to play a P5 team non-conference caused UNC and WFU to schedule each other.

Its that daggum state of North Carolina. Every school you just mentioned is located in the state of North Carolina. These basketball schools are conspiring together to destroy the College Football Playoff!

This exposes some of the real problems with the current ACC Divisions that ignore geography. If non-divisional play is impossible, why not add 2 schools and realign by geographic regions.

1. NORTH – Boston College, Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Syracuse
2. CENTRAL – Cincinnati, Louisville, Virginia, Virginia Tech
3. ATLANTIC – Duke, North Carolina, NC State, Wake Forest
4. COASTAL – Clemson, Georgia Tech, FSU, Miami

For football scheduling, a team would play 3 divisional games and 2 games with teams from each of the other divisions each year for a total of 9 games. Every team would play each other at least every two years, with close geographic rivals playing every year.

This would also make the strongest Power 5 basketball conference even stronger.

Expansion is about markets, Cincy does not add even close to enough value to get an offer from the ACC. UConn is bball school and their market hartford/boston is already covered by BC. Hartford itself is not worth much when you’re talking tv contracts and markets that guide expansion. They aren’t going to split the pie 2 more ways when those teams won’t increase every schools share.

The ACC doesn’t need to add 2 schools with little to no value as things stand now as nobody else has 16 teams. They just need to play a 9 game conf schedule which the B12, P12 already play and the B10 is going to in 1 more year. 9 games in a 6-3 format like the B10 means over 10 years you play each team in the other division atleast 4 times and 2 of them 5 times, Under their current format you play 6 of the 7 teams once every 6 years and a permanent cross over every year.

Sometimes it would be nice if everything did not have to revolve around tv and monetary values… in the old days things like distance and rivalry really mattered.

You can’t have a championship game under that model.

Do it similarly to the way the NFL does it: Do a full round-robin with your own division plus four from another. Then add in two more games from the remaining divisions.

You could tweak that idea to ensure every school plays every other home and away every four years, too.

Moreover, Boston College won’t allow UConn into the conference since it would encroach on their “territory.”

Not a terrible idea, RB, but have it instead add Navy and somehow Notre Dame? How to pull that off? Adding Navy for football only, rather than Cincinnati. Tweak your first two divisions:
1. NORTH – Notre Dame, Boston College, Pitt, Navy
2. EAST – Syracuse, Louisville, Virginia, Va Tech
That way, Notre Dame plays BC, Pitt, and Navy every year, three annuals they’d be fine with (saving their Navy rivalry and restoring Pitt & BC). They’d have FSU or Miami every year, and Syracuse or Louisville every year. And with the 3 remaining games, they can pick up USC and Stanford every year, and have a game still to play with. The only way to lock in ND is to bring in their longest rival. Adding Navy for football only is a perfect way to go. Brings back games in the DC and Baltimore markets, plus a *national* following. Navy and Notre Dame add MUCH more than UConn and UC.

I think the NCAA would allow an exemption for a 16 team conference (per Ace above) to have some sort of championship game if Ace’s plan were in effect.

Choosing the two championship game teams:

Best conference records

Two teams tie:

First tie-break head-to-head – the one that won the match between them is elevated

Second tie-break strength of victory – cumulative record of conference teams beaten compared

Third tie break – strength of schedule – cumulative records of all conference teams compared

Fourth tie-break – greatest point differential

Fifth tie break – most TD’s

Sixth tie break – coin flip

More than two teams tie:

Head-to-head – all teams must have played each other to use this

Strength of victory in conference

Strength of schedule in conference

Greatest point differential

most TD’s

coin flip

If at any point in the 3-or-more tie break rules a team or teams are eliminated, then the process starts over with this list if three or more teams still remain. IF only two teams remain, start over at the top of the 2-team formula. If only one team remains, that team is elevated.

This process would be for setting first place first, then second place. That is, run the scheme until you have a champ. Then run the scheme again until second place has been decided.

Team claiming the top seed hosts the game.

Agreed. Adding more schools is not a solution!! 9 game conference play is were it needs to go. Some schools don’t like it with the Norte Dame agreement and the 4 schools with the SEC rivals. Eliminate FCS games!! I would rather UNC and Wake play each other as OOC game, then playing some FCS team. ( they probably will still play one FCS!)

This is why adding Notre Dame and football-only Navy is outright the solution to all of this. 9 conference games. 3 divisional, alternate the other 6.

Their are plenty of G-5 teams out there needing games. I think this is a low-class move by these two schools who could have simply scheduled a quality G-5 or P-5 school instead of taking the easy way out and adding a de facto 9th conference game.

UNC or WF scheduling Akron, Ball State, Arkansas State, Indiana, or Northwestern would be a snooze fest and a money trap.

These two schools are an hour apart and have a rivalry deeply invested – it would matter to the fans and players. Add in the fact its a bus ride away and a guaranteed sell-out.

We’re going to get the point where G5 schools are left out completely from the P5 in the regular season. Whether that’s right or wrong, it’s not for me to decide.

There’s nothing to win for P5 schools to be playing G5 ones. FCS game are at least a tune up.


If the ACC is so worried about money having pay games or what you called money traps, than go to a 9 game conf. It eliminates 1 pay game a year. The B10 move to 9 games was done for several reasons, first with 14 teams you need 9 gamed or you play the cross division teams twice every 12 years in a 6-1–1 format. Another reason cited was the average pay game has risen to dramatically. The combined total of all the pay games for B10 schools was 1mil/game. The FCS schools are upping their prices, they are being phased out by B10 and the midmajors are wanting 1.2 or 1.3 mil for the better schools.

It’s absurd that the Tobacco Road schools aren’t in the same division. Ideally the current ACC divisions go the way of Leaders/Legends one day.

Amen. If the ACC stays at 14, it should adjust to:
ATLANTIC: UNC, NCSU, Duke, Wake, Virginia, VT, Clemson
COASTAL: Tech, FSU, Miami, BC, Pitt, Syracuse, Louisville
No need for locked other-division rivalry games, which at least means with 8 conference games you see the other division teams all every 4th year at the worst. With 9 conference games, this is even better… play the other 6 and see the other division teams every 3rd year at worst.

David. That alignment actually makes sense in terms of keeping rivalries. Maybe just switch the names of the divisions since your Atlantic teams are generally closer to the ocean than your Coastal teams.

It’s good to see the two playing each other, but I find it unfortunate that it is a non-conference game. I have shared my wishes before, but I believe that all “Power Five” Conferences should have a nine game conference schedule and a minimum of one of their three non-conference opponents being that of an opposing “Power Five” Conference school. If the “Power Five” schools are to be looked at as “equal” to one-another, then their scheduling should have like comparables.

This is a good idea I think the UNC and WF fans will enjoy the games.

This is the most important factor.

Ehh, I don’t like it. Not that other schools’ scheduling helps with this all the time either, but to me one of the main reasons that there are OOC games is to show how teams stack up against other conferences. I’m not saying that the ACC shouldn’t work out something internally if they want to play more regional games… they could go north/south (except everyone wants to play games in Florida) or they could try to get some kind of exemption to allow 4 divisions as the other poster above suggested. But come on, there need to be more games between the power 5 conferences now, not fewer.

This is the result of P5 conferences getting so large that even in State rivalries stop getting played every year. In FCS Big Sky you usually see 2 or 3 non-conference games between Big Sky schools who were not scheduled to play each other.

I will not be surprised the Pac-12 hasn’t had some of the California schools schedule OOC games against each other. Sooner or later Stanford will not have USC or not have UCLA on their schedule, ditto Cal. These games are so ingrained in Californian’s minds that its impossible to conceive of Cal playing Utah instead of UCLA or Stanford playing Colorado instead of USC.

Note, I noticed Stanford and USC left one non-conference game unscheduled in 2016, and USC has left the 3rd game unscheduled after 2015. I wonder if there is some hedging to see what the Pac-12 schedule will be. Remember earlier the B1G schools have talked of playing non-conference games against other B1G schools, and some wanted even 10 conference games!

This type of in house non-conference game will be a trend IMO

Last time I looked the Pac 12 in conference schedule was set thru the early 2020’s season. Everyone already knows who they are playing. ACC set their rotation of conf games thru 2024 and others have as well.

Btw, you have no idea what you’re talking about about Stanford, Cal, USC, UCLA not having each other on their schedules. The way the p12 works is that all the california schools play each other every year. It’s how their 5-4 format works.

USC is not hedging, they know their in conf opponents, their 3rd game is unscheduled in many years b/c in several years they already have 2 P5’s, so the 3rd will be a midmajor, that they haven’t booked. Some other years they have P5 and BYU, which is one of the better midmajors, so the 3rd maybe another midmajor or another P5. Maybe you didn’t notice they are playing 2 p5 OOC most years so the third game is going to be a midmajor(USC has never played a FCS school).

The B10 talking about 10 conf games was about money. The average cost of pay games has sky rocketed to 800K for midmajors and the better midmajors want 1 million or more. The b10 is phasing out FCS games which you could pay 400 or 500K


You are right. The Pac-12 made that concession to the Cal schools. It means the Oregon and Washington schools only play one of the So Cal schools and the Arizona, Utah, and Colorado schools only play one of the Nor Cal schools. At least through the first rotation completed in 2017 (2010 season through 2017, 8 years). Seattle Times has a pdf on line with that info.


I had forgotten about that. So that Pac-12 probably wont see any non-conference in house games as they also play 9 already.

I stand corrected.

This is what happens when you chew too much tobacco. You start dating your next door neighbors.

Alabama and Ole Miss played a non-conference series in 1980-81. SEC had instituted a minimum/maximum 6 conference game requirement effective in 1980. Both had already scheduled 7 conference games for 80-81, so they played those games as non-conference games.

Correction: Min/max rule was already in effect when Bama and Ole Miss scheduled the 1980-81 series. Therefore, UNC and WF are not the first to play a series “originally scheduled as non-conference games.”

The ACC should realign their divisions so that it is the following:
BC, Syr, Pitt, Lou, VT, Virg, WF
UNC, NC St, Duke, Clem, GT, FSU, Mia.

For WF, to preserve their NC rivalries, they would play 6 divisional games, 1 other NC opponent, and 1 other South div opponent. The rotation could go like this:
Year 1: UNC & Clem
Year 2: Duke and GT
Year 3: NC St and FSU
Year 4: UNC and Mia
Year 5: Duke and Clem
Year 6: NC St and GT
Year 7: UNC and FSU
Year 8: Duke and Mia
Year 9: NC St and Clem
Year 10: UNC and GT
Year 11: Duke and FSU
Year 12: NC St and Mia

Well if nothing else it will guarantee that the ACC goes 0.500 in these two OOC games. That can’t be good for the ACC’s W-L column and it certainly won’t help their bowl chances at least for the loser.

This is what happens when you get too darn big. I wish all conferences would max out at 9 or 10 teams, 8 conf games (4h-4a), no conf. champ game. Winner is guaranteed a certain bowl game slot, like it was 15 years ago……