For a football series that dates back to the Grover Cleveland administration, Duke and North Carolina have played very few nationally significant games.
Unlike the internationally celebrated basketball rivalry, the Tar Heels and Blue Devils football teams rarely have been up at the same time.
Although Duke dropped football completely from 1895 until 1919 and came fairly close to ending sports scholarships and leaving the ACC in the late 1960s, the Blue Devils were among the nations best teams in the 1930s.
Carolina was a national power at times in the 30s, 40s and 90s, but there havent been many meetings when both were ranked or when conference championships were on the line.
One exception was in 1935, when UNCs 25-0 loss at Duke kept the Tar Heels (8-1) out of the Rose Bowl against Stanford.
In the 1938 season, when Duke did reach the Rose game with an undefeated, unscored upon team, Carolina finished 6-2-1 and gave the Blue Devils a lot of trouble before Duke escaped with a 14-0 win.
In the game at Pasadena, Duke lost to Southern Cal, 7-3.
After World War II, UNC was among the best teams in the nation with Charlie Justice and won four straight in the series. Only the 1949 game UNCs 21-20 win was important nationally.
The 49 Tar Heels went 7-4 and lost the final game of the Justice Era to Rice in the Cotton Bowl. The regular-season losses were to Notre Dame, Tennessee and LSU.
Its worth pointing out that until the mid 1950s, UNCs final and most emphasized game was often against Virginia while Duke often ended it schedule against N.C. State. The teams have faced each other in their final regular season games in most years since 1960, including the past two seasons.
Here are recaps of five memorable meetings since the formation of the ACC in 1953:
Nov. 26, 1959, Durham
UNC 50, Duke 0
Although neither team finished with a winning record Tar Heels were 5-5 ( 5-2 ACC), and Duke went 4-6, (2-3) the nationally televised Thanksgiving Day outcome was stunning and did much to stoke the emerging rivalry.
Duke was a slight favorite against UNC coach Jim Hickeys first team. Hickey, a career assistant, was rushed into the head coaching job when the popular Sunny Jim Tatum died in late July of Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
In most of the preseason polls, UNC was rated among the top dozen teams nationally. The Heels were had a lot of talent including now famous Raleigh lawyer Wade Smith but were overwhelmed by a non-league schedule that featured Notre Dame, Tennessee and Miami.
But after beating Virginia 41-0 the week before, Hickeys team went to Duke determined to post a second convincing win.
The Heels completely dominated. Hickey showed little mercy and inflamed Duke coach Bill Murray by scoring a late game touchdown for the 50-0 finish.
Some 30 years later, the score played a role in another rout.
Nov. 22, 1969, Chapel Hill
Duke 17, UNC 13
The game turned on one of the strangest plays of the season, instantly dubbed the shoelace play.
With the scored tied at the end of the third quarter, Duke quarterback Leo Hart knelt near the football on the right hash mark and seemed to be tying a shoelace near the 50-yard-line. With the Blue Devils huddled several feet away, Duke end Marcel Courtillet walked over to apparently check on Harts status.
Instead of meeting with Hart, Courtillet reached down, picked up the ball and hiked it to flanker Wes Chesson, who ran behind a wall of Duke blockers untouched for a touchdown. Many of the Tar Heel defenders simply stood and watched.
The Devils ended the season 3-6-1 (3-3-1 ACC) and UNC wound up 5-5 (3-3) even though the Heels had the leagues best defense. South Carolina (7-4, 6-0) won the title but lost to West Virginia in the Peach Bowl.
Nov. 20, 1976, Chapel Hill
Although the Tar Heels had won 59-34 six years earlier in Chapel Hill, the 76 thriller generally is recognized as the forerunner of many series shootouts.
Bill Dooleys 10th Tar Heel team would finish 9-3-1 overall (4-1 ACC) but was overshadowed most of the season by powerful Maryland (11-1, 5-0).
But entering the regular-season finale against the Blue Devils (5-5-1, 3-3-1), UNC still had a chance to tie the Terps for the conference title.
The Terps clinched the championship with a 28-0 win at Virginia, but the Heels were fortunate to escape with a win and a bid to the Peach Bowl after Duke quarterback Mike Dunn scored 26 points.
Carolina countered with tailback Mike Voights 261 yards. Voights catch on a two-point conversion pass from Matt Kupec finally settled the seesaw game with less than a minute remaining.
Nov. 18, 1989, Chapel Hill
Duke 41, UNC 0
A few years later, Mack Brown called it his darkest but most pivotal game as Carolina coach.
Steve Spurrier and the Blue Devils posed for a team photo with the Kenan Stadium scoreboard in the background after Clarkston Hines snagged three touchdown passes to punctuate the teams co-ACC championship with Virginia and an 8-3 record.
But the series fortunes turned quickly. Spurrier immediately left Duke for Florida while Browns team would go 6-4-1 in 1990, 7-4 in 91 and 9-3 in 92.
In his post-game press conference, Spurrier was asked about running up the score on a 1-10 helpless opponent.
What was that score in 1959? 50-0? Maybe Duke just got a little bit even today, he said.
Nov. 25, 2006, Durham
UNC 45, Duke 44
UNCs Kentawn Balmer blocked an extra point kick that could have forced overtime at the end of a wacky game in Wade Stadium.
In John Buntings final appearance as Tar Heel coach, UNC led 24-23 at halftime. At the outset of the fourth quarter, it was 31-31.
With UNC quarterback Joe Dailey passing for 253 yards and Dukes Thad Lewis throwing for 285, there wasnt a lot of defense until Balmers play.
Duke scored with 2:49 left when lineman Patrick Bailey intercepted a Bailey pass and ran 21 yards for a touchdown. But on the PAT try by Randy DeSmyter, Balmer rushed seemingly untouched through the middle and blocked the kick cleanly.
Duke coach Ted Roof was visibly shaken. The loss left his team 0-12. Buntings final team finished 3-9.