The Duke Football team just wrapped up its first game and guess what fans, the season ain’t over yet.
Not to sound too much like Yogi Berra, but most fans of the Blue Devils Football team, even those who stick out the game from start to finish, usually have given up hope after the first game of the season. That is mainly because they normally lose.
Case in point last season; Duke had high hopes of potentially getting to a bowl game and in the season opener they hosted the biggest crowd of the season. However, they saw their hopes dashed by the Richmond Spiders.
So when the Duke faithful, many just Duke University employees taking advantage of the employee appreciate event that allowed them to enter the game for free, showed up for the opening game against Florida International on Saturday, many weren’t expecting much.
After only the second play from scrimmage, a play that saw FIU running back Kedrick Rhodes catch a short pass and run it 67 yards for a quick touchdown, you could almost see the 31,000 plus Duke fans start counting down the days to basketball season while the 16 FIU fans who made the trip cheered.
But something crazy happened on the countdown to basketball season; the Duke Football team showed signs of life and gave the fans who chose to come to Wallace Wade Stadium something to cheer for, en route to their season opeing 46-26 victory.
Now media and some fans are buzzing with questions. What if Duke can start 3-1? Will the Blue Devils receive votes in the Top 25 this week? Could Duke actually beat Stanford next week when they travel to play the No. 21 ranked Cardinal?
But the question I have is, are there enough Blue Devil fans who actually care at this point in time? Do the students even really care? Will they ever care? Forget about what happens next week with Stanford, win or lose, who is going to show up to Wallace Wade Stadium on September15th?
During the third quarter and to an extent at halftime of the FIU game, the stadium saw a mass exodus. Granted the game was long, the first quarter lasted almost an hour by itself; but still Duke was winning and winning big and the fans just left. I understand the families who came out who had small kids who needed to get to bed, but why come at all if you really don’t care?
I understand the arguments that Duke hasn’t been good, so you don’t see the point in showing up. I also get the concept of people who say they will show up when the Blue Devils start winning more regularly. David Cutcliffe doesn’t think all that much of you though.
Last week Cutcliffe talked in his radio show about how he knew that many Duke students didn’t know all that much about football and how he use to do film sessions with Duke students who were interested in learning more, but that stopped due to a lack of interest. He called going to football games one of the best parts of the college experience and he feels that the student body is missing out.
They just don’t show up and then complain when the university cancels their, sometimes, day-long drinking parties they called Tailgate. Most of the time, the students were too drunk to find the stadium and if they did they were too drunk to care.
If you can’t get the students at the school to at least show some school pride and care, who else do you turn to?
How about the community in general? Duke’s alumni base is far reaching but small in comparison to a public university, and not all that many will travel the distance, mainly because the Blue Devils haven’t been winning. But surely there are football fans in and around Durham that could be interested and perhaps those are the ones, the ones not already affiliated with NC State or UNC, that Duke should try to attract.
Many Duke fans are just Duke Basketball fans and they have other teams they hold an allegiance to on the grid iron. But I ask you why is that, beside the fact that the Blue Devils haven’t been winning?
Duke graduates its players, has a great sense of family among its players and it has a passionate coach who not only cares about winning, but upholding the academic reputation and integrity of his school. That too should be supported. And while it may go against a person’s natural desire to pull for a winner, why stay at home and watch college football on TV when you can come to the friendly confines of Wallace Wade and have a fun football experience watching true student athletes?
Oh and if you didn’t notice, Duke won their opener and they won big. A few too many mistakes and some last quarter sloppoiness prevented the Blue Devils from posting an even more impressive margin of victory against a team, that while not big in name recognition, is big on talent and had some pre-season hype.
Still the fans aren’t interested. Perhaps if Duke can shock the college football world a little bit by beating Stanford next week they’ll show up, but even then, I’m not sure that the fans turn out any more than they otherwise would.
Your loss, cause win or lose Duke is my team and I’m supporting them win or lose and they just so happen to be winning now.