How is COVID-19 Impacting Football?

The COVID-19 Pandemic is constantly impacting the fate of the 2020 football season. Keep up to date with the latest news here.

Championship Central

Relive the 2019 North Carolina High School Football Playoffs and look back on how your favorite team did last season.

Check Out The Weekly Top 15 This Season

CarolinaGridiron.com releases Top 15 Rankings every week. Be sure to check back each Thursday duing the season to see where your favorite team is ranked.

College Football in North Carolina

Carolina Gridiron is expanding coverage of all college football teams in the state of North Carolina this season. See how your favorite college team is doing on the gridiron this year.

Carolina Gridiron Media Pick'Em

This season, Carolina Gridiron is launching a new media pick ‘em contest featuring some of the state’s top sports media. Each week, we will select a slate of ten games from across the state of North Carolina with a mix of high school and college games being thrown in.

Scrimmages and Jamborees

With your help, we are able to yearly put together the most comprehensive statewide high school football jamboree/scrimmage list in North Carolina. Thank you to all who helped put together the 2019 list.

2019 Preseason All-Gridiron Team Announced

Congratulations to all of the players who were selected to the 2019 preseason All-Gridiron team.

NC State Falls to Kentucky in TaxSlayer Gator Bowl


JACKSONVILLE, FL – The NC State Wolfpack, ranked 23rd coming into Saturday’s TaxSlayer Gator Bowl, were unable to complete the comeback they needed against the Kentucky Wildcats, fell 23-21 to finish the 2020 season at 8-4.

Quarterback Bailey Hockman was 27/40 passing for 268 yards and a touchdown. Running back Zonovan “Bam” Knight had 52 yards rushing and a score. Isaac Duffy led the defense with thirteen tackles.

Coach Dave Doeren

“It was a great football game. I’m proud of the way we fought back in the second half and had multiple chances to get it back and get a lead. Obviously, it’s one of those games when you lose by two points there’s a lot of plays you think about, and we were without a lot of players today…I thought our defense really battled not having Alim [McNeill] and Payton [Wilson] and Drake [Thomas] and Tanner [Ingle], the kids who had to play in their place played hard…Offensively, we just turned the ball over three times, missed two field goals. We had our chances to make that a different game and we didn’t. You have to give Kentucky credit for that. It was a really hard-fought game and a physical game, as I expected it to be…Proud of the way the kids fought, proud of our season. This doesn’t make me feel like we didn’t have a good season – we did. It was a great experience. I’m appreciative of the opportunity to be down here, and I’m really excited that so many of these players are back. It’s going to be a great offseason with them.” “I love these guys. The players, the coaches, the staff, we went through a lot. We went through a lot last season when there was a lot of people talking negatively about us. We stuck together, we came back with a growing attitude…We grew a lot together, we learned a lot from each other. A lot of guys stepped up this year and stepped into roles where they weren’t starters and injuries took place and guys would step in and just play.”

 

Scoring Summary

Qtr         Time      Scoring Play       V-H

1st         06:00    UK - Matt Ruffolo 25 yd FG 16-68 9:00    0-3

2nd        06:23    UK - Chris Rodriguez 4 yd TD RUSH (KICK by Matt Ruffolo), 6-79 2:39       0-10

2nd        00:02    UK - Matt Ruffolo 26 yd FG 7-69 1:21      0-13

3rd         02:56    ST - Riley, C.J. 9 yd TD PASS from Hockman, B. (KICK by Dunn, C.), 13-76 6:12   7-13

4th         05:45    UK - Matt Ruffolo 20 yd FG 7-40 3:09      7-16

4th         04:46    ST - Knight, Z. 13 yd TD RUSH (KICK by Dunn, C.), 3-37 0:54               14-16

4th         02:55    UK - Chris Rodriguez 26 yd TD RUSH (KICK by Matt Ruffolo), 1-26 0:07       14-23

 

 

2021 Fall Non-Conference Games Announced

Teams from across the state are finalizing their 2021 football schedules. Twelve of the state’s fourteen Division I schools are scheduling at least one in-state team as a non-conference matchup. The fall 2021 season will kick off on a Thursday night in Charlotte as Appalachian State and East Carolina meet at Bank of America Stadium.





Appalachian State

9/2 - vs ECU (Charlotte)

9/11 – at Miami

9/18 – Elon

9/25 – Marshall


Charlotte

9/4 – Duke

9/11 – Gardner-Webb

9/18 – at Georgia State

10/2 – at Illinois


Duke

9/4 – at Charlotte

9/18 – Northwestern

9/25 – Kansas


East Carolina

9/2 – vs App State (Charlotte)

9/11 – South Carolina

9/18 – at Marshall

9/25 – Charleston Southern


NC State

9/4 – South Florida

9/11 – at Mississippi State

9/18 – Furman

10/2 – Louisiana Tech


North Carolina

9/11 – Georgia State

9/25 – Wake Forest*

10/30 – at Notre Dame

11/20 – Wofford


Wake Forest

9/4 – Old Dominion

9/11 – Norfolk State

9/25 – UNC*

10/23 – at Army


Campbell

9/4 – at Liberty

9/11 – Elon

9/18 – Presbyterian

11/6 – at James Madison


Davidson

9/4 – at VMI


Elon

9/11 – at Campbell

9/18 – at Appalachian State


Gardner-Webb

9/4 – at Georgia Southern

9/11 – at Charlotte

9/25 – Western Carolina


NC A&T

9/4 – at Furman

9/11 – Charleston Southern

9/25 – NC Central


NCCU

9/11 – at Marshall

9/25 – at NC A&T


WCU

9/4 – Eastern Kentucky

9/11 – at Oklahoma

9/25 – at Gardner-Webb

 



OPINION: How to Fix College Football in 2021

Justin Jones, Managing Editor
I have covered college football for almost a decade and been a fan for over thirty years. 2020 was a college football season like no other. If there’s one thing that 2020 has taught us, it’s that college football is a business. Cries of “think of the student-athlete” have fallen on deaf ears as conference commissioners and television executives continued to look for as many ways as possible to fill the airwaves. Before you read further, this is not a commentary on the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a viewpoint on the state of college football in 2020 and how we can improve it in 2021 and beyond.

The “Power 5” has always been a myth in college football. What it should be called is the “Wealthiest 5” conferences. Looking at information provided by the Knight Commission (seriously, check this site out) and making educated guesses on private schools who are not required to disclose this information, it is clear that the “power” that these conferences hold really comes from wealth. In fact, the ACC, B1G, SEC, Big XII, and Pac 12 hold 64 of the top 65 schools in total athletic spending. Only FBS independent UConn had more athletic spending than at least one P5 conference member, but its number is expected to dip with the loss of television money from the American Athletic Conference.

The haves and have-nots are not just limited to the FBS ranks. It is clear among the FCS ranks as well. There is no solution for the money disparity to even the spending, but there is a way to make for better football. Instead of two subdivisions of Division I football, let’s double that to four subdivisions.

How does this work? First, we’re separating football from other sports and creating football-specific conferences. There are currently 258 schools that are currently playing or in the process of transitioning to Division I football. The breakdown will be 65, 64, 64, and 65 teams in each subdivision. We can call these subdivisions whatever we want to, but for the purpose of this exercise, we’ll refer to them as Division 1A (wealthiest quartile) through Division 1D (least wealthy quartile). Notre Dame will be allowed to remain as an independent in Division 1A and the non-scholarship Ivy League and Pioneer League will be placed in Division 1D.

Each subdivision is broken up into four regions of sixteen teams each. This can allow for regional super conferences with two eight-team divisions or smaller eight-team conferences. I’ll advocate for eight conferences in this article for reasons that will become obvious later. Division 1D is unique due to the two non-scholarship leagues. Instead of four sixteen-team regions, there are four twelve-team regions with eight six-team divisions or smaller conferences.

This scenario allows for promotion and relegation (which is something I support), but I’ll leave that for another day


Division 1A

There are 64 teams with one independent. 

With eight conferences, an eight-team playoff would be easy to implement with all conference champions making the field. Second place teams would be able to qualify if the playoff were expanded to twelve or sixteen teams. Notre Dame can qualify for the playoff as an independent only if they are ranked ahead of a conference champion in a playoff of at least twelve teams. There would be a ten-game regular season with teams allowed to schedule no more than one game against a team below their subdivision. One non-conference game must be against a team from another region. Teams not qualifying for a playoff position can qualify for a bowl game against a team from another region.

 

West Region

Conference 1

California

Oregon

Oregon State

Stanford

UCLA

USC

Washington

Washington State

 

Conference 2

Arizona

Arizona State

Baylor

Colorado

TCU

Texas

Texas Tech

Utah



North Region

Conference 1

Illinois

Iowa

Iowa State

Kansas

Kansas State

Minnesota

Nebraska

Wisconsin


Conference 2

Indiana

Kentucky

Louisville

Michigan

Michigan State

Northwestern

Ohio State

Purdue


 

South Region

Conference 1

Arkansas

LSU

Mississippi State

Missouri

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State

Ole Miss

Texas A&M

 

Conference 2

Alabama

Auburn

Florida

Florida State

Georgia

Georgia Tech

Miami (FL)

Vanderbilt


East Region

Conference 1

Clemson

Duke

NC State

North Carolina

South Carolina

Tennessee

Virginia Tech

Wake Forest

 

Conference 2

Boston College

Maryland

Penn State

Pittsburgh

Rutgers

Syracuse

Virginia

West Virginia


 

Division 1B

With eight conferences, an eight-team playoff would be easy to implement with all conference champions making the field. Second place teams would be able to qualify if the playoff were expanded to twelve or sixteen teams. There would be a ten-game regular season with teams allowed to schedule no more than one game against a team below their subdivision. There are no regional requirements for non-conference games in this subdivision as teams are allowed to play teams from the higher subdivision. Teams not qualifying for a playoff position can schedule a nonconference game at a neutral site against a team from another region who finished in the same place in their conference.

 

West Region


Conference 1

Cal Poly

Fresno State

Hawaii

Nevada

San Diego State

San Jose State

UC Davis

UNLV


Conference 2

Air Force

Boise State

BYU

Colorado State

New Mexico

Utah State

UTEP

Wyoming


 

North Region


Conference 1

Cincinnati

Memphis

Miami (OH)

Middle Tennessee

Ohio

Tulsa

Western Kentucky

Akron


Conference 2

Army

Buffalo

Central Michigan

Eastern Michigan

Kent State

Marshall

Toledo

Western Michigan


 

South Region

Conference 1

Houston

Louisiana

North Texas

Rice

SMU

Arkansas State

Texas State

UTSA

 

Conference 2

FIU

Florida Atlantic

South Alabama

South Florida

Troy

Tulane

UAB

UCF


East Region

Conference 1

Delaware

Liberty

Navy

New Hampshire

Stony Brook

Temple

UConn

UMass

 

Conference 2

Appalachian State

Charlotte

Coastal Carolina

East Carolina

Georgia Southern

Georgia State

James Madison

Old Dominion


 

Division 1C

With eight conferences, an eight-team playoff would be easy to implement with all conference champions making the field. Second place teams would be able to qualify if the playoff were expanded to twelve or sixteen teams. There would be a ten-game regular season with teams allowed to schedule no more than one game against a team below their subdivision. There are no regional requirements for non-conference games in this subdivision as teams are allowed to play teams from the higher subdivision. Teams not qualifying for a playoff position can schedule a nonconference game against a team from the other conference in the region.

 

 

West Region

Conference 1

Eastern Washington

Idaho

Idaho State

Montana

Montana State

Portland State

Southern Utah

Weber State


Conference 2

Lamar

New Mexico State

Northern Arizona

Northern Colorado

Prairie View A&M

Sacramento State

Sam Houston State

Stephen F. Austin


 

North Region

Conference 1

Illinois State

North Dakota

North Dakota State

Northern Illinois

Northern Iowa

South Dakota

South Dakota State

Western Illinois


Conference 2

Ball State

Bowling Green

Eastern Illinois

Indiana State

Missouri State

Southeast Missouri State

Southern Illinois

Youngstown State


 

South Region

Conference 1

Alabama State

Central Arkansas

Louisiana Tech

Louisiana-Monroe

Northwestern State

Southeastern Louisiana

Southern

Southern Miss

 

Conference 2

Austin Peay

Chattanooga

East Tennessee State

Eastern Kentucky

Jacksonville State

Kennesaw State

Murray State

Tennessee Tech


East Region

Conference 1

Albany

Central Connecticut

Delaware State

Maine

Morgan State

Rhode Island

Towson

Villanova

 

Conference 2

Norfolk State

North Carolina A&T

North Carolina Central

Richmond

The Citadel

VMI

Western Carolina

William & Mary



Division 1D

There are 65 teams, including eighteen non-scholarship schools

With ten conferences, an eight-team playoff would not be enough to provide a spot for each conference champion so a playoff of twelve or sixteen teams would be necessary. There would be a ten-game regular season with teams allowed to schedule no more than one game against a team above their subdivision. One non-conference game must be against a team from the other conference in the region, not including the non-scholarship teams. There are no regional requirements for non-conference games in this subdivision as teams are allowed to play teams from the higher subdivision.

 

Southwest Region

Conference 1

Abilene Christian

Dixie State

Houston Baptist

Incarnate Word

Tarleton State

Texas Southern


Conference 2

Alcorn State

Grambling

Jackson State

McNeese State

Mississippi Valley State

Nicholls


South Region

Conference 1

Alabama A&M

Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Bethune-Cookman

Florida A&M

North Alabama

Samford


Conference 2

Charleston Southern

Mercer

South Carolina State

Tennessee State

UT Martin


East Region

Conference 1

Campbell

Elon

Furman

Gardner-Webb

Hampton

Wofford

 

Conference 2

Duquesne

Georgetown

Howard

Monmouth

Morehead State

Wagner


Northeast Region

Conference 1

Bryant

Fordham

Holy Cross

LIU

Merrimack

Sacred Heart

 

Conference 2

Bucknell

Colgate

Lafayette

Lehigh

Robert Morris

Saint Francis


Non-scholarship Region

Ivy League

Brown

Columbia

Cornell

Dartmouth

Harvard

Penn

Princeton

Yale


Pioneer League

Butler

Davidson

Dayton

Drake

Marist

Presbyterian

San Diego

St. Thomas

Stetson

Valparaiso


 

College football is something special and is something that needs to be saved through measures like this. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Let us know on Twitter (@NCGridiron) or Facebook.

Turnovers Doom Wake Forest in Duke's Mayo Bowl


CHARLOTTE - Wake Forest jumped out to an early two-touchdown lead over Wisconsin on Wednesday afternoon, but four second-half interceptions were too much to overcome as the Demon Deacons fell in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte, 42-28.


All of the scoring for Wake Forest was by players who played their prep ball in North Carolina. Former Hertford County standout Jaquarii Roberson had a stellar day, hauling in eight catches for 131 yards. His three scoring catches tied a bowl record. Former East Forsyth Eagle Christian-Beal Smith had the other touchdown for the Demon Deacons.


Wake Forest is now 15-12 in neutral site games in Charlotte and 2-1 in Charlotte-based bowls games, winning the 2007 Meineke Car Care Bowl and the 20017 Belk Bowl. The Demon Deacons are now 4-12 against Big Ten opponents. Wake Forest has now played in five straight bowl games for the first time in program history.


Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson

"First off, congratulations to Wisconsin. Football is usually a game where the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins. They made a lot less mistakes than us and they played much better fundamental football. I am proud of the way we competed to the very end. I thought our guys battled physically, but we just made too many fatal mistakes to overcome. A blocked punt that leads to a touchdown; we take a lead in the third quarter and then we give up a 59-yard kickoff return. We threw four interceptions in the last 17 or 18 minutes of the game. We had some violations on defense in the play-action game. What happened was a very good, hard fought and competitive game got out of hand because of all the turnovers and special teams miscues. We just made way too many mistakes to win the football game. Again, congratulations to Wisconsin. I certainly want to thank our coaches, staff, and players for the commitment they have made since July. I want to thank Danny Morrison and the Charlotte Sports Foundation for inviting us to play in their bowl game, and the Panthers and Duke's Mayo for their sponsorship of this event. Again, we did a lot of good things. We moved the football. It is not too often you outgain a team 518 to 266 and lose the game. But when you throw four picks, you are not going to ever overcome that. I am disappointed, but proud of the effort. We'll learn from it, grow from it and hopefully be a better program in 2021 because of it."