Thursday, February 12, 2009

So Much For That "Cameron Mystique".

It's hard for even a diehard fan like me to remember, but in the mid-late 90's, Duke absolutely owned North Carolina. When the Blue Devils were in the midst of their Grant Hill/Shane Battier/Elton Brand/JJ Reddick era, they routinely pummelled the Tarheels, who practically invented the one-and-done style of high risk/high reward recruiting. Duke, by comparison, had all American guys who rescued puppies from trees, and stayed all four years. At one point (that infamous 8 win season), things got so bad, I just stopped watching two twice/year rivalry altogether. The end result, a Duke win, was inevitable.

But like everything else in life, this rivalry also goes in cycles. When Roy Williams came to UNC in the early 90's, the Tarheels were back on their McDonald's All-American grizzly, and won yet another title in 2004-05. They've since become a Top 5 staple yet again. Duke, by relative comparison, has fallen on some hard times and can't seem to recruit any serviceable big men. The net result is that UNC now owns Duke yet again. Last night's 101-87 ethering was the Heels' 4th straight in the vaunted Cameron Indoor Stadium, and 5th in the teams' last 6 meetings. Is this still even technically a rivalry?

Much like the overhyped, but ultimately one sided Cowboys/Redskins "rivalry", I'm wondering if this one even needs to be considered a rivalry anymore. UNC is by far the more successful team, and provided they don't melt down vs Kansas in March, should win another NCAA title. Duke? Well, they're always a fine academic institution. Moving right along...

Question: At what point does a rivalry no longer become a rivalry? What's your favorite sports rivalry?

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