With Appalachian State still undefeated and N.C. State still scuffling, the real intrigue for college football in this state is which shade of blue is best.
Duke or North Carolina?
It will get settled on the field this Saturday in Chapel Hill. For now, UNC gets the nod because its impressive close losses (yes) and that the Tar Heels are simply playing better than Duke right now.
Here are updated in-state rankings:
1. Appalachian State
Why No. 1? Made for TV, App. State looked great in its gold jersey tops and during Saturday's broadcast with a No. 24 ranking next to its logo. On the field, the Mountaineers beat Louisiana-Monroe 52-7 in their first game as a ranked team, the pride of the Sun Belt Conference and pride of this state.
2. Wake Forest
Why No. 2? With its starting quarterback still injured and one week after a high-scoring loss to pesky Louisville, a good sign for the Demon Deacons came in winning while being held to its lowest scoring output of the season. The Deacs edged Florida State, 22-20, thanks to five Nick Sciba field goals to remain in second place in the Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division.
3. North Carolina
Why No. 3? Like in its one-point loss to national championship contender Clemson, the Tar Heels did it again and moved up one spot after a close loss. This defeat took six overtimes, falling 43-41 at Virginia Tech, for a much more competitive showing than Duke's 48-14 setback at Virginia.
Why No. 4? The overall records indicate that Duke is better, but the Blue Devils will be the underdog for their short to Chapel Hill to take on rival UNC. They scored one touchdown against the Cavaliers' starting defense and they turned the ball over five times.
5. N.C. State
Why No. 5? State started the season 2-0 and 3-1, but the Wolfpack now has a lot more questions than answers on offense. Three different players attempted a pass in a 45-24 loss at Boston College, setting up NCSU with a timely bye week to regroup before aiming for an upset against more-settled Wake Forest.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.