I consider myself a new Blue Devil fan. To be honest, I grew up rooting against Duke in basketball. In fact, I used to equate the Blue Devils with the Yankees of baseball, or Cowboys of football.
After I gained admission into the MMS program, however, I realized that I root for the Yankees and Cowboys. Now I can add the Blue Devils to my list of favorite teams!
I didn’t know much about Duke football, and I still don’t. People here just don’t talk about the team. I actually thought Duke was a Division II football school. That’s how much I knew about it.
My roommate, MMS student Vickram Patel, told me Duke has been working hard to turn the program around. I attended my first game against Stanford last month, and boy was it a crashing bore. Sure, we played Heisman candidate Andrew Luck and a top 10 team in the nation, but I think my high school football team could have put up a better showing.
Today, seven weeks into the season, Duke finds itself sitting at a 3-3 record. That’s not bad at all! In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Duke finish the season above .500. A bowl game is unlikely, but a winning record would be a HUGE step in the right direction for this program.
The sad part is that the students still don’t care about Duke football. The stadium should be filled against an overhyped team like Stanford, but it was half-empty. A majority of the students, faculty, and staff probably didn’t even know that Duke football was above .500 last week.
I went to Syracuse University undergrad, and our football team struggled back then as well. To bring a jolt of excitement back to campus, SU recruited former Duke point guard Greg Paulus to play quarterback. Even though Paulus struggled at times, the team was fun to watch. This eventually led to a better recruiting class, and now, the Orange are back in contention as a Big East threat.
Duke can copy this script. Finish the season strong, schedule easier teams next year, and good things will happen.