Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just How Important is Saturday?

Nine years ago, I entered the 1999 season with high expectations. Duke was coming off of a four-win season, brought back many starters, and had new coach Carl Franks, who promised an explosive Airborne attack carefully mastered under Steve Spurrier. I openly fantasized about a 6-5 season and a bowl game in Hawaii. Nothing could bring me down.

The Dude and I drove down I-40 on Opening Day to witness Airborne take off against ECU. It was a crash landing. The Pirates' first-down cannon still rings in my ears, Spencer Romine became Ramen Noodles, and Duke's offense went from Airborne to Stillborne to Airdead. The rest of the Franks era was a disaster, followed by the unspectacular Roof years.

Now Duke Football seems to be upon another threshold. Coach Cut continues to emphasize how his team finishes. He wants stronger fourth quarters and tells stories about the importance of strong finishes. But a look at the schedule makes it clear that if wins are going to happen, they are likely to happen during this season's opening stretch of home games. Cut has built up a lot of good will and enthusiasm, and Saturday night I am expecting to see Wally Wade as crowded as I've ever seen it (excluding when NC State fans pack the place). But how much of that is dependent on a win against James Madison?

Of course I predict victory, but does the health of this program depend on the next month? Dudes, please discuss.


Nick Tylwalk said...

I don't think there is that much to debate. If we are to believe that Cut has already instilled a new attitude and that his new recruits will make us instantly competitive - as in tougher to play against, not necessarily bowl bound mind you - then this is a game we have to win. For goodness sake, it's James Madison!

HD said...

No question about it. Roof's Rough Riders would be staring at a 3-1 start, and Cut's Crew should be no different. It has to begin against JMU. I don't care if they're a 5th-ranked I-AA team. That's someone we should take care of business against.

Thad is Rad said...

I don't see how you can just assume Roof's Rough Riders would be staring at a 3-1 start. He was 6-45 at Duke. Three wins could never be guaranteed.

HD said...

Uh dude, just because the Rough Riders have ridden off into the sunset, doesn't mean we need to be backing off. Roof was loyal, and devoted, and let's show some class.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm already on record, with numerous friends that this is the start of the Renaissance of Duke Football. Realistically they have to go at least 2-2 this first month to keep whatever momentum/good will there is.

And for the record, I never advocated nor intended an either/or scenario. I would never put a dude in that position. I knew the Undude tended to get the family pack.

The point I was trying to make was that the first game should be for family. Mr, Ms and the yet to be born lil one on the way.

Time to turn on the tube.

Anonymous said...

To Undude, Ms Undude and my fellow Dudespinners of this great nation, with profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your invitation to attend Sat's Duke football game.