By defeating Virginia last weekend, Duke (5-3, 3-1) matched its highest conference win total in a decade and has its first bowl appearance since 1994 in sight. The Blue Devils' current three-game win streak is also its best since 1994, and all of the recent victories have come against ACC foes. Quarterback Thaddeus Lewis fuels the resurgence, directing the ACC's best pass offense (325.1 yds/gm) and cracking the national top ten in total pass yards (2,315). Duke is one of three current ACC schools (Wake Forest, Boston College) yet to appear in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.
North Carolina (5-3, 1-3 ACC) improved its bowl stock with a 20-17 road win at Virginia Tech last Thursday and is closing in on back-to-back postseason berths for the first time in nearly a decade. The Tar Heels' ACC-best rush defense (101.6 yds/gm) limited the run-heavy Hokies to a mere 95 yards on the ground. North Carolina has made five Chick-fil-A Bowl appearances, most recently defeating Auburn in 2001.
The Tar Heels hold a 56-35-4 historical edge over their Tobacco Road rivals, and a 28-20 win last season was their 18th over Duke in the last 19 meetings. Saturday's game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. and will air on ESPNU.
The Chick-fil-A Bowl is the ninth-oldest bowl game in the country and hosts the longest-running rivalry series between the ACC and SEC. Now in its 42nd year, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has established itself as one of the nation's elite bowl games with a string of 12 consecutive sellouts and has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the nation. Ten of the last 17 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has disbursed more than $90 million in team payouts over its 41-year history and has increased team payout every year since 1996. The Bowl also leads all other bowl games in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $1.2 million to organizations in need in 2008 alone.