North Carolina and Wake Forest were founding members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, way back in 1953, and the pair shared membership of the Southern Conference upon Wake’s joining in 1936. Both schools remain good-standing members of the ACC today.
But on Friday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN), the Tar Heel State neighbors will play a non-conference game.
The two schools met on an annual basis from 1919 through 2004, when the ACC put them in separate divisions upon its divisional move in 2005. The conference moved to 14 teams in 2013 and still plays an 8-game schedule, meaning each team plays only two of the seven teams in the opposite division each year.
Given all that, UNC and Wake played just four times in the 14 seasons between 2005 and ’18. Unsatisfied with this arrangement, the schools scheduled a non-conference series back in 2015, which begins Friday in Winston-Salem. Wake Forest will make a return visit to Chapel Hill on Sept. 25, 2021. That series was created in reaction to an ACC scheduling arrangement that called for just two UNC-Wake games in the 11 seasons between 2014 and ’24: 2015 in Chapel Hill and 2022 in Winston-Salem.
Friday’s game sets up to be an interesting one, though this game of ACC teams will not impact the ACC race in any way, shape or form. North Carolina is a surprising 2-0 following close wins over South Carolina and Miami, and Wake Forest also enters 2-0 after defeating Utah State and Rice.
North Carolina holds a 69-35-2 edge in a series that dates back to 1888 and dates forward to, well, not nearly as often as the schools would like.