Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Duke/State Rivalry

Michael Moore at Duke's Chronicle Online has a great article on the death of the Duke - NC State rivalry:

Reviving the lost Tobacco Road rivalry

A funny thing happened over the last few years as the Blue Devils jetted to Beantown and South Beach in search of ACC victories in football and basketball.

The Duke-N.C. State rivalry died.

The Blue Devils haven't played the Wolfpack in football since the Red Sox were still cursed. And the last time the basketball teams met twice in the regular season, Luol Deng was a resident of Bassett and not Kobe Bryant's newest crush.

Expansion, and the kinks that came with teams entering the league at different times, has completely sapped the local rivalry of its luster.

Although there was certainly a lot of skepticism and outright criticism in the years just before conference expansion, everyone since has accepted it without much analysis of its effects.

The surprising success of Virginia Tech and Boston College in basketball has even appeased those who believed the title "Best Hoops Conference" was being gambled for the sake of football.

But the significant scheduling drawbacks everyone saw coming have played out, and the Duke-N.C. State rivalry has been perhaps the most notable victim.

The Blue Devils and Wolfpack never approached the level of Duke-Carolina or even UNC-State, but there is a lot of history between the two, compounded by some natural rival elements. The schools are 30 minutes apart, more people in North Carolina are State fans than are Duke fans, and State supporters on the whole even outpace the Tar Heel faithful in their view of Dukies as elitist outsiders. Full Story...
I do have to say I've missed the annual trip to Cameron. It would have especially been nice to play there more recently, when Duke was down a bit. Now both teams are up, although I suspect Duke is a little more up and will still be favored in coming games, but they should be fun, and history has shown that State gives them fits at times.