Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Erwin Cup is here!

History is about to be made, my friends. W.A. Erwin is about to ride Tobacco Road again, screaming his pioneering head off. In case you’re not schooled, the Erwin Cup is a brand new competition pitting Duke and UNC athletics against one another in a year-long battle. Points are accrued for rivalry wins, ACC titles, Final Four appearances, and National Championships. The sports are weighted according to importance, ensuring that this is the best and most accurate measure of the rivalry to date. For more info, read up on:

The history of W.A. Erwin and his Cup

The Rules

Tomorrow afternoon, at 1pm, it begins. UNC field hockey takes on Duke at Chapel Hill’s Henry Stadium in the first ever Erwin Cup set-to. Points are at stake, baby! The eyes of the world are on us!

If anyone happens to attend this match, or any other, you can achieve instant Tobacco Road Blues notoriety by taking a picture yourself with a sign at the game. It can be home-made, elaborate, or purchased. All we ask is that you have the blog name written somewhere along with the words “Erwin Cup.” Take a picture, send it along, and I will post the hell out of it and write some complimentary words. And you know what? I’ll also name the match after you. BAM! I can do that. Limited time only. Get it while it’s piping.

Am I expecting any blog readers to attend a field hockey match on a college football Saturday? Not necessarily. Am I willing to be surprised? Fuck yes necessarily. So willing. So willing that I just willed myself a daydream about field hockey. At least it started off that way. Turned into a daydream about me and an angry Abe Lincoln beating up some State fans in a parking lot. But there was like a minute or two of field hockey, I swear.

Come Monday, we should have a sweet page for you with a running tally of the Erwin Cup score courtesy of William the Intrepid (Site Designer). After that, we’re straight grooving for the year.

Second-to-last thing: the good folks at Grantland are letting me write a College Football Spectacular every Thursday. It’s a preview of the weekend ahead, it’s fun to write, and I would dearly appreciate y’all’s support. Triangle Prophets coming later.

Last thing: I discovered this song yesterday, and I’ve listened to it basically on repeat. What a chorus. Happy Friday, free souls.

Posted in Duke, UNC | Tagged , | 1 Comment

UNC-Georgia Tech: Can a Brother Get a Beatdown?

Dear Jack,

Long time no talk!  What’s up, brotherman?  How you been?  How was the trip to Maine?  Talked to Dad lately?  How’s the wife and kid, he reciting Shakespeare yet?  But before we get into all that, there’s something urgent to catch up on: you and your alma mater ready to get your stingers handed to you Sunday?

Big words, I realize, considering how little recent success UNC has to stand on against the Bugs and their repetitive motion offense.  Run, run, play-action run, run…and I’m not even trying to hear that Tech has come to embrace the advent of the forward pass in the last three weeks: even grinders get bored enough to throw after scoring 50 points.  But I’ll take my chances this Saturday with the boys in Columbia Blue, as the color commentator for ESPN called them during the UNC-UVa game, to the bewilderment of his partner and the country as a whole below 110th St. on the West Side.*

*It’s a real school, with an actual football team.  Marcellus Wiley admits to going there, and according to Wikipedia, Wiley “played tailback, defensive end, and kick returner for the Lions”.  Yes, Columbia let a defensive end return kicks, and considered itself lucky.

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Women’s Soccer: Is Duke better than UNC?

It’s crazy to think of this as a possibility, considering UNC’s ridiculous dominance since the NCAA championship was founded in 1982 (20 of 29 titles), and their uber-ridiculous dominance of Duke (33-2-1 all-time). But there’s a chance that we’re witnessing a changing of the guards. Here’s the evidence:

1. Duke is ranked 4th in the country, while UNC is 5th.

2. UNC needed overtime to beat defending national champion Notre Dame 2-1. Two days later, Duke smoked ’em 3-1.

3. Duke freshman Kelly Cobb (7 goals) looks better than anyone on UNC, including Kealia Ohai.

4. Against four common opponents (Notre Dame, Houston, Texas A&M, UNC-Greensboro), Duke is 4-0 with a +11 goal differential. UNC is 3-1 with a +7 goal differential.

These are just numbers, and nothing really matters until the teams meet in Chapel Hill on October 13, but to see Duke consistently outperform their Tobacco Road brethren is quite a novelty. Looks like I picked a good season to get interested in college soccer.

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Kelsey Kolojejchick and the Pride of the Badass

As we approach the first ever Erwin Cup match, this Saturday between Duke and UNC field hockey, I thought it’d be appropriate to have some coverage. Luckily, in a sports writing class at UNC last year, our professor sent us to interview UNC star Kelsey Kolojejchick. She was the team’s leading scorer, and we talked with her in a facility near their field. This was the result.

The Pride of the Badass

The first thing you notice about sophomore Kelsey Kolojejchick, besides that twisting, impossible name, is her ego.

Oddly enough, it’s not a bad thing. Not entirely.


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A Pilgrimage Into a Sea of Orange

 Each week, contributor and new parent Joey will post his thoughts as he undergoes the transformation from fanboy to father.

Any time you learn about a major event in your life, there comes a relative shift in your planning around that event. Think about it: you either take some time off of work for a move, clear your calendar around the holidays, train for weeks before a half-marathon, etc. If there’s a big to-do coming, chances are you’re going to incur some transitional time on either side of it.

On November 6, I learned that we were expecting our first child. From that date forward, I began viewing the most trivial of things in a “last gasp” light. I’d imagine that for most guys, you feel this twice: before marriage, and before the birth of your first kid. For example: “This is the last time as a single guy that I’ll be able to drive to get Gas Station Sushi and a Yoo-Hoo in my gym shirt and flip-flops.” Or, “This is the last time my wife and I can skip town last-minute and spend three days following a Styx tribute band through Iowa.” In that vein, I had a fairly strong feeling that as those nine months fell off of the calendar, “Guy Weekends” would begin going the way of the Dodo.

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Mason “I really miss Kyrie Irving” Plumlee

Mason Plumlee

I just dunked and now I'm going to give up a bad foul trying to block a shot on defense!!!

Look at those biceps.  They make me salivate with jealously and maybe a bit of romanticism. This, my friends, is Mr. Mason Plumlee.  A six foot, ten inch, 235 pound monster of an athlete. When he committed to Duke I was extremely excited.  He was oft compared to Josh McRoberts.  Fast, athletic, with a handle and impressive passing abilities.  Thus far Mason has shown flashes of potential, but has yet to live up to that billing.

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The Duke Football Essay Project: Boston College

Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous.

I still can’t believe this happened. After thoroughly outplaying Boston College on the road, in every facet of the game, Duke was going to break our hearts again. I look at the numbers today, and I can feel the anger from a hypothetical loss welling up. We could have had just our third ACC road win since 2003! We had 465 yards of total offense! The had 328! Renfree set a school record with 40 completions! Thompson averaged five yards a carry! Rettig for BC barely completed half his passes! We held them to 3.2 yards per carry!


And then I remember: we did.

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Optipessimism Week 3: UNC vs. UVA

First things first: the Blue Zone was comically underfilled again this week, and it was a balmy, cloudy day. With the “hot in the sun” argument lost, I’m convinced more than ever now that

The Blue Zone... it's full!!! Oh wait, this is just a computer rendering.

Blue Zoners, if they’re showing up at all, are simply choosing to watch the game from the comforts of the indoor lounge. As I said last week, Carolina should just double-sell the Blue Zone seats at general admission cost, let of-age students turn the Blue Zone into the Drunk Tar Pit and make an experience of it. Actually, even better: move the traditional fraternity rows to the Blue Zone itself, since no one sits in the existing seats anymore anyway, tell them they’re special and they’re free to drink themselves stupid if they’re 21 or possess a particularly credible fake ID, and triple sell the seats. They still won’t get full. This makes too much sense to ever happen, but still.

I will admit, I struggled to sit down and write this week’s edition of The Optipessimist, for the simple reason that this was a depressingly poor, badly played football game. I know it sounds petty and fair-weathery of me to be complaining about a 28-17 win, Carolina’s first ACC opener win since 2000, but the game simply went rather than being played. In short, Carolina didn’t win the game so much as they didn’t lose it; they didn’t turn the ball over and generally let the Cavaliers’ own ineptitude lose the game. There, you can stop reading now. But if you’re game, read on:

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Pittsburgh and Syracuse to the ACC?

CBS Sports and ESPN are saying they’ve applied for entry!

I guess that’s a quick way to solve the basketball strength of the conference. I think this is fantastic. Sound off in the comments, and don’t forget to make your picks with the Triangle Prophets below.

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The Triangle Prophets, Week 3

Every Friday, a group of fearless webmasters and sports fanatics from around the Triangle will gather to predict five college football games against the spread. Every Duke, Carolina, and N.C. State game will be featured, along with a smattering of high profile non-Triangle games. As the season goes along, we’ll keep the standings updated and see who emerges as the one true prophet. Make your predictions in the comment section. Every week, we’ll feature any and all commenters who pick all 5 games correctly.

Current Standings

1. John Watson, The Devil’s Den – 5 points
1. The Devil Wolf, TRB – 5 points
1. Tar Heel Fan Blog – 5 points
1. William Earnhardt, Site Designer – 5 points

5. Me – 4 points
5. Nate Friedman, UNC football correspondent – 4 points

7. Jim Young, Editor, – 3 points

8. James Henderson, Publisher, Pack Pride – 2 points


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