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BATTLE FOR N.C.: Duke is new No. 1

North Carolina Duke Football
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Duke quarterback Daniel Jones (17) passes as North Carolina's Tyler Powell (95) and Patrice Rene (5) pressure during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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The Daily Reflector

Sunday, November 11, 2018

What a week for Duke. Not only did the Blue Devils look like world-beaters in their marquee sport, basketball, but they watched Wake Forest beat N.C. State on Thursday night in football and then scored a rivalry win of their own in defeating North Carolina in Durham on Saturday.

Duke is the new best college football team in North Carolina. Here are The Daily Reflector’s in-state power rankings:

1. Duke

Record: 7-3.

Why No. 1? Duke has the most wins and the best wins in the state, highlighted by convincing victories over Baylor and Northwestern. The Devils beat UNC, 42-35, thanks to Daniel Jones’ complete effort of 361 passing yards and 186 rushing.

2. N.C. State

Record: 6-3.

Why No. 2? The Wolfpack is not No. 1 for the first time this season. The 27-23 upset loss to Wake Forest was an untimely one, dropping NCSU to 1-3 in four games since a hot 5-0 start to the year.

3. Appalachian State

Record: 7-2.

Why No. 3? It is close, but App. State holds on to the third spot behind a 7-2 record. Since its critical 34-14 loss to Georgia Southern, the Mountaineers have played lock-down defense with seven points allowed in consecutive road contests. They beat Texas State, 38-7, on Saturday.

4. Wake Forest

Record: 5-5.

Why No. 4? Preventing Wake Forest from claiming third in these rankings is a resume that is still lacking in quality wins. In addition to the surprise victory in Raleigh, Wake has beaten Tulane, Towson, Rice and Louisville.

5. East Carolina

Record: 2-7.

Why No. 5? The Pirates are not going to a bowl game, officially dropping out of contention with a 24-18 loss at Tulane. They also cannot go anywhere in these rankings, due mainly to still clinging to a 41-19 win over North Carolina on Sept. 8.

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