“I don’t want to hear about Duke’s “Cameron Crazies” and all the wickedly clever things those egghead sports nerds come up with to shout” sneers The Daily Herald‘s Ted Cox after watching a preview of HBO’s hoops documentary, “Battle For Tobacco Road : Duke vs. North Carolina”. “I’ve had enough of Coach K and Dean Smith and Roy Williams. I couldn’t care less the schools are 10 miles apart.” Note to all P.R. departments (and Herald editors) — don’t ask Mr. Cox to cover something he professes to have no interest in.
Like HBO’s earlier Michigan-Ohio State football production, “Battle for Tobacco Road” gives the alumni at both schools the opportunity to talk a lot of trash. No surprise that Michael Jordan again establishes himself as one of the kings of the trash talkers.
“When we look at it, we always say Duke is a great college school, you know?” he acknowledges, before twisting the knife. “None of their guys come out and become great players in the pros, because they don’t have that in their blood. So there was no love lost at all, and even to this day, that is still ingrained in all Carolina guys. There is no way you’re going to like anything about Duke.”
Fine, but by the time Mitch Kupchak talks about getting hazed at Carolina for wearing a Duke T-shirt at the “end of my laundry cycle,” I’ve had enough. I mean, what’s the big deal?
Everything’s squooshed together in the East. Yet no one talks about the Duke-Carolina rivalry in women’s rugby, do they?
What, you think Illinois and Indiana didn’t have a pretty good rivalry going when Lou Henson was calling Bob Knight “a bully,” or more recently when Indiana stole Eric Gordon out from under Bruce Weber? You think Notre Dame and UCLA haven’t sustained a good rivalry through good times and bad?
Yet no, it’s only NC-Duke, like it’s only Yankees and Red Sox when ESPN is talking great sports rivalries or Ken Burns is doing a PBS “Baseball” miniseries. It’s like the Cubs and Cardinals never existed.
Well, at least we’ve still got Bears-Packers. Call me, HBO, when you finally get around to doing that rivalry.