We've never done this before but it's the fourth quarter and we're writing this one up, because it's over and it's been over for a long time.
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And we're not the type of fans who get mad at a team for losing. First of all, those guys are out there trying to do their best. Our ice goes in our cups; their ice goes on their bruises. Even in the dark times we understood that even demoralized Duke teams were still trying.
This is a tough loss. It reminds us in a sense of when Alabama came to Duke a few years ago. Alabama just beat Duke in every way possible.
That loss was instructive though because Duke learned a lot about what it took to become really good. Those players who were hammered ended up in the ACC Championship game and bowl games later.
So we hope that Duke's young players profit from this game, but it'll be later. There's no cause for joy this Saturday. UNC is winning and dominating and did so from the first play of the game.
There was a time when we could swallow our pride and congratulate them, but that's harder to do now.
Every time we compete against UNC, part of us ends up thinking...why? Why do we have to compete against a university which cheated for decades and which has never really even seemed embarrassed?
The actual competition isn't nearly as exciting as it was when we thought were competing against an honorable program, when people still believed in what they called the Carolina Way.
Now we know what was behind that: paper classes, academic fraud and an astonishing exploitation of young men.
Worse still, the university as a whole continues to have a stunning lack of contrition, most recently demonstrated when the university released a lot of documents the media had been requesting...but not before converting them to PDF files.
The university could have paid someone to write a modest script which would have converted them into HTML files, which could have been easily searched. PDF files are vastly more difficult to search. It also takes a lot more effort to make them.
Again, it's a lack of contrition, a desire to obfuscate and to avoid accountability.
As the clock wound down, the UNC mascot sat on the victory bell and rang it. But given what happened in Chapel Hill, it rings hollow. Losing to UNC is never fun, but at least we felt we were losing to a rough equal. Now it's no different than competing against an Auburn, a UNLV or an SMU.
At least to us, this rivalry has lost something important. It may be a long time before we see the end of Duke-UNC in anything and just simply feel good or feel depressed.