Posted by Adam Jacobi
As a program, Duke is terrible at football. Currently, historically, inexorably terrible. Duke football had more seasons with two wins or fewer in the last decade (seven such seasons) than they've had bowl game invitations in the nearly 60 years they've been in the ACC (five). They are so, so bad.
In spite of this crushing haplessness, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe told one local radio station recently, "We have a struggling team, but we don't have a struggling program."
Noted sports author (and Duke alum) John Feinstein felt compelled to respond to WRAL in Raleigh:
"Is this team not part of the program? I said years ago, I got shouted down. And I'll still be shouted down, that Duke should not play ACC football."
He went on to claim that if Duke had a president with any leadership ability, he would get together with the presidents at Tulane, Army, Navy, Rice and Vanderbilt and form "Conference SAT" - a league for good academic schools that haven't been competitive in their current football leagues.
First of all, leave it to a Duke fan to turn sucking at football into an elitist activity. Bravo, Feinstein. Second, on its face, this seems like a good idea (and how about Northwestern not making the list? Congrats, Wildcats fans!); excepting the rare and fleeting moments of success, these programs typically struggle, and their unusual admissions standards certainly don't help matters.
The only problem is that nobody's going to want to watch that league. Their television ratings would just be "NO." And if they're not going to get good ratings, they're not going to make money, and really the only reason for a school to ever field a football team is to finance the rest of its athletic department. What Feinstein's really making the case for is that these schools should stop fielding football teams, but that's probably a little too uncomfortable for a Duke partisan to consider rationally at this point.