[Ed Note: our mascot is back hating on more schools]
It is a little known fact that in 1865, the final surrender of the last extant major Confederate army, under the command of Joseph Johnston, was achieved at the Bennett farmhouse. This was done following Johnston’s ineffective attempt to destroy my army in detail at the battle of Bentonville, largely regarded as the last major engagement at the war and one that went as well for the Confederate forces as your average playoff game goes for the Cincinnati Bengals. Johnston’s tactical approach throughout his multiple terms in command can best be described as the military equivalent of a prevent defense, which is to say an agonizingly drawn out attempt to make the final result low-scoring and respectable looking. This stood in stark contrast to the efforts of the man who relieved Johnston in Atlanta, the morphine-crazed John Bell Hood, who favored a blitzing attack akin to that espoused by a Rob Ryan defense, and with similar results.
In any case, the surrender was as clean and efficient a moment as one could hope for under such momentous circumstances, even though the ceremony actually had to be performed twice after Washington rejected the initial terms of surrender I had negotated.
Nevertheless, had I known then what I know today, I would instead have razed the entire town of Durham, where the Bennetts had the misfortune of residing, to the ground and salted the earth in order to prevent the growth of that most pernicious of entities, Duke University.
It has become axiomatic that Duke fandom is about basketball, followed by basketball, basketball, women’s basketball, and basketball, with football ranking somewhere behind “attempting to homebrew moonshine in the dorms” and “getting campus stoners confused by asking them to find the Inner Banks on a map” as a pastime. Nevertheless, there have been some memorable football moments in Duke’s history. For example, in 1942, the Rose Bowl was played at Duke’s venerable Wallace Wade Stadium as a result of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and fears that Pasadena could be bombed during the game (as opposed to fears of bombed Pac 10 fans wandering the streets of Pasadena after the game). In that game, Duke had the temerity to usurp the B1G’s rightful place on the gridiron and as a result was soundly thumped by the Oregon State Beavers in a game that-
BASKETBALL BASKETBALL WOOHOO DUKE BASKETBALL DID YOU SEE THAT JJ REDDICK IS TOTALLY A DECENT NBA PLAYER NOW WOOHOO COACH K FOREVER!
Sergeant, get that god-damned basketball fan out of here and shoot them as a deserter!
Right. Where was I? Ah yes, seminal moments in Duke football. More recently, Duke, traditionally the short ungainly nerd of ACC football (itself, the short ungainly nerd of college football conferences) was largely responsible for launching the coaching career of one Steve Spurrier, who previously had been known as yet another failed Heisman-winning quarterback from the state of Florida. Sadly, his football success at Duke led to his hiring by his alma matter at Florida and multiple decades of insufferable, visor-infested press conferences wherein the local media breathlessly reported his schoolyard-level insults as evidence of higher brain function and quarterback play insufficient to make a dent on the NFL level. Spurrier's brief reign at Duke was followed by-
AWWW YEAH COACH K FOR PRESIDENT DID YOU HEAR THE CLEVER CHANT WE DID COURTSIDE TO MAKE FUN OF THAT WALK-ON BACKUP POINT GUARD FROM GEORGIA TECH I TOTALLY WANT TO HAVE CHRISTIAN LAETTNER’S BABIES BASKETBALL BASKETBALL BASKETBALL
Sergeant, I thought I told you to go full Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge on that rapscallion! Have it done immediately or I’ll make you memorize Ted Roof’s playbook!
In any case, Duke is, several decades later, finally experiencing something of a football renaissance, assuming you define “renaissance” as “still perilously close to slipping back into the dark ages.” Under the leadership of David Cutcliffe, Duke has become the ACC equivalent of an offensive juggernaut, which is a polite way of saying you could charge their defense with two septuagenarians riding a sick mule and you’d break into the secondary nine times out of ten. Cutcliffe, best known for his mentoring of both whey-faced Manning brothers, has successfully-
OH YEAH BASKETBALL SEASON STARTS SOON WHOOHOO BRANDON INGRAM NUMBER 2 OVERALL PICK BABY TOTALLY GONNA BE THE BEST DUKE PLAYER IN THE NBA SINCE - OH GOD, HAS IT REALLY BEEN THAT LONG SINCE GRANT HILL?
Belay that previous order, Sergeant. Leave the basketball fan sobbing quietly in the corner.
UH, UNC SUCKS?
Yes, basketball fan. Yes it does. Now go back to sleep.
DUKE’S NEXT TUSSLE WITH THE BIG TEN: Perhaps in the NCAA Tournament or against General Fitzgerald’s Wildcat regiment on Sept 9th.
SHERMAN’S NEXT TARGET: WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY