In Danzig U.S.A. and elsewhere in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, we take college sports very seriously. Partisans of the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky spare nothing in passionately supporting their teams — and in vigorously opposing their teams' rivals. If there is one opponent that unites the Cardinal Nation with Wildcat Country, it is Duke University's Blue Devils.
True to the traditional athletic preferences of Kentucky and North Carolina — two states where the cultivation of tobacco surely gives rise to their unusual predilection, unknown elsewhere in the South, for basketball over football — Louisville and UK partisans have historically trained their hatred at Duke's basketball program. But a recent decision by Judge Phillip J. Shepherd of the Franklin County (Ky.) Circuit Court gives people across the Bluegrass State reason to despise Duke football as well:Strictly as a football fan, albeit one who is a Louisville Cardinals partisan, I respectfully disagree with Judge Shepherd. There is no adequate substitute for Duke football, a patsy nonpareil in college football. There simply is no other (1) Division I-A team (2) that plays such appallingly bad football (3) so consistently and persistently (4) all while maintaining its membership in a Bowl Championship Series conference.
As pleased as I am to witness a revival of the Louisville-Memphis rivalry, an old Metro Conference basketball grudge match moved to the gridiron, what I really want is a series of virtually guaranteed wins against the worst major college football team. And that team, despite its university's immense wealth and its city's sports tradition (think of the Bull Durham and the 1942 Rose Bowl), is the Duke Blue Devils.