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BATTLE FOR N.C.: Intriguing matchups upcoming

Duke Clemson Football-10
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Duke's Leonard Johnson defends on a pass to Clemson's Trevon Thompson, rear, during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Clemson, S.C. Johnson was called for a penalty. (AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, November 18, 2018

A rather uneventful weekend of college football played out in North Carolina, but stay tuned because key Atlantic Coast Conference matchups await with North Carolina hosting N.C. State and Wake Forest traveling to Duke.

The Blue Devils will enter as the best team in the state. Here are The Daily Reflector’s updated in-state power rankings:

1. Duke

Record: 7-4.

Why No. 1? If anything, Duke’s 35-6 loss at Clemson only helped to validate that the Blue Devils should be No. 1. N.C. State lost 41-7 to Clemson on Oct. 20.

2. N.C. State

Record: 7-3.

Why No. 2? The Wolfpack got back on track from an upset loss to Wake Forest, taking it out on a bad Louisville team and rolling to a 52-10 win in Louisville, Ky. NCSU closes the regular season with rivalry games against UNC and East Carolina.

3. Appalachian State 

Record: 8-2.

Why No. 3? App. State now has the most wins in the state, but it stays at No. 3 in these rankings because of strength of schedule. That can get a boost Saturday with a victory against Troy to decide the Sun Belt East champion.

4. Wake Forest

Record: 5-6.

Why No. 4? An unpredictable, up-and-down season by Wake continued when it was overwhelmed in a 34-13 defeat to Pittsburgh. The Demon Deacons will need to beat Duke to reach the six-win mark for bowl consideration.

5. East Carolina

Record: 3-7.

Why No. 5? A loss to hapless Connecticut would have been a disaster for the Pirates, but they made sure that didn’t happen with a balanced and dominant effort on senior night at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. ECU won 55-21.

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