Reflections on Cupcake Weekend

September14/ 2015

You know your regional college teams are UN-relevant when all three are relegated to dreaded ESPN3. It’s not that having “your team” on ESPN3 itself is so bad except, well, I don’t know any other way to say this….. there are schools on ESPN3 that only have one helmet…. do not have Indoor Practice Facilities OR locker rooms with multiple “charging stations”.


The Network for Obscure Compass Schools

…. on Tuesday night…. with women announcers.

It gets worse.  I heard from a reliable source that some of the teams on ESPN3 “only have two uniforms” – one for Home games and one for Away games”….. NOOOOO!   ‘Tis true.  That is the 2015 equivalent of “don’t have indoor plumbing” or “your cellphone is NOT a smartphone !”   Imagine the emotional trauma that must inflict on the students attending those institutions.  Imagine if Blake Dodge attended a school that was ALWAYS on ESPN3. It is the “no thigh gap” of TV sports 3rd world hinterlands.

Last Saturday EVERY Triangle ACC member institution was relegated to ESPN3…. a/k/a “computer TV”.

Surely that created a few awkward moments for whoever coordinates NC State recruiting weekends. The dozen or so semi-literate 17 y/os get the Red Ribbon Tour of The Hindenberg Hangar and Vaughn Tower and Wolf Mountain and WendellWorld (over-a dozen years-NC State IPFold !!) and see the video about the Fancy Jock Dorm narrated by (insert name of famous rapper) and they get to charge their phones and pads and pods on charging stations “just like the ones you WILL HAVE at your locker when you arrive next Fall” and everything is going just peachy….. when one semi-literate 17 y/o holds up his super deeeluxe whizbang Samsung Gladiator XX-500 8.0.8 and asks “what network is today’s game on?” …… THUD!   What does the perky Pack tour guide do? Lying won’t work.

NOTE: John Blake (Who??) tried lying to Michael McAdoo when Michael said he really wanted to major in Criminal Justice at UNC. John (Who?) said that would be “Excellent….. no problemo….. now just sign this letter-of-intent right here. Very Good….. see you in August.” Michael arrives at UNC and is handed his class schedule…. no Criminal Justice courses.

Michael asked a bored functionary in UNC’s World Renown “Dickie” Baddour We Pretend To Give a Damn About Academics Center….. “How come I don’t have any Criminal Justice courses?” ….. “Criminal Justice courses? We don’t have no stinkin’ Criminal Justice courses here at UNC.” …… “But Coach Blake told me I could …….” ….. “Coach Blake?  Who’s Coach Blake?” …… and you know the rest.

So, anywhoooo; the Wolf recruit wants to know “So lady, what network is today’s game on?”. The perky Pack tour guide mumbles “espn3”. “Excuse me…. did you say ESPN3?” …… A hush falls over the group. The whole “Lookee Lookee at all our bright shiney bling crap” suddenly doesn’t amount to a hill o’ beans.  Your game is on ESPN3.   “But but” the perky tour guide counters “so is UNC’s game and Duke’s game too.”

“East Carolina’s game with Florida is on ESPN2 – Real TV” says one recruit. “They (ECU) don’t have charging stations YET but they DO have oodles and oodles of cutie-pie coeds in cowboy boots with Mandingo Warrior fantasies.  I hear they offer Criminal Justice TOO..….” The recruits all start talking among themselves about when they will be making their official visits to G-Vegas.

“It’s because ESPN CEO of Political Correctness – John Skipper (UNC75) – hates us because our IPF is bigger than UNC’s and he and the Eeeeevil John Swofford conspire against us and ….. …… ……” but the recruits have wandered off comparing Instagrams of ECU coeds in cowboy boots.   Where was I?

Oh yeah….. Cupcake Weekend “In The Triangle”. I called ESPN World HQ and learned this was the FIRST Time three Power Five Schools within a 24-mile radius have all been on ESPN3 at the exact same time – 6:00 PM. Four if you count NCCU which, of course, is NOT a Power Five School.

The local Power Five Schools outscored their Cupcakes by a combined 143-14. Only NC State failed to crack the 50 mark offensively….. totaling a mere 35. Only UNC allowed its cupcake to score. Somehow Rod Broadway’s NC A&T Aggies solved Gene Chizik’s vaunted defense to score 14 points “amid the pines”. No doubt Broadway’s familiarity with Kenan as both a player and assistant coach gave him an advantage in amassing those 14 points.

Leave it to Duke, playing the first game EVER in “a track-less Wally”, to score the most – 55 – AND shut-out it’s crosstown rival(?) NCCU. Duke (and NCSU) is now only FOUR Ws short of being “Bowl Eligible”. YIKES! That does not have the incredulous ring to it that it did for so many decades.  “Going to a bowl and getting beat despite playing their hearts out” has become a tradition at The Gothic Rockpile in West Derm. The Era of Cut rolls on.

The Almost New Wally is actually quite a nifty little stadium. The playing field was “sunk” and Al Buehler’s track was ripped out and a “Really Big” Jumbotron replaced the old “not so big” one. The vaunted Duke Marching Band is still two tubas, three piccolos, four nerds born in the Continental US, and thirty-six others from 3rd and 4th world countries you can’t find without a GPS…. and two cello savants from Bangladesh with IQs over 200 who can’t spell Krzyzewski if their lives depended on it.

Wallace Wade Stadium

NOTE:  The New Wally is not 100% complete yet.  The obligatory Fat Cat (Iron Dukes) Lair / Press Box will not be ready until next season.  Until then our buddy Bob Harris is broadcasting from a hot air balloon tethered to the roof of the nearby Washington Duke Hotel.

I wasn’t there but I heard “most” of Duke’s cheerleaders actually shaved their armpits for the inaugural game in Almost New Wally.

More about The Almost New Wally in a future column. Suffice to say Duke now has a nifty little stadium to match its world-class Visitors Side rest rooms.

Meanwhile “amid the towering pines”, the expected influx of A&T Aggie fans failed to materialize unless Aggie fans dress as aluminum. No doubt the fact that the game was being played (1) on a comfortable Saturday evening….. (2) a week after Labor Day contributed to the less-than-capacity turn-out ?? Personally I think “that Blake Dodge op/ed” had to be a factor.

As THE most traumatized Morehead Cain Scholar Who Is NOT a Porn Star (yet), Blake, and her non-symmetrical eyebrow, likely doesn’t attend games in Kenan in protest of Ramses having his horns painted blue.  Ramses identifies male FOR SURE!  NOTE: I’m still holding out that Blake was spoofing with her silly column. I’ve got my spies “on it”.

Eastern Kentucky “travels” A LOT better than the A&T Aggies apparently. How many freebies Duke gave out to anyone who could spell NCCU is not known. The Carter and New Wally were close to capacity. “Amid the pines” not so much.

UNC DID wear traditional uniforms for the second week in a row which should count for something in my book. Marquise threw two less end zone pics this week which bodes well with The Fighting Illini coming in this Saturday….. being billed as The Battle of The Embarrassed Scandal-plaqued Large State Liberal Arts Sleeping Giants.   Despite that, it’s likely another ESPN3 game for TruBlues. 

Both UNC and Duke host Big Ten/14 schools from Illinois this week with Duke hosting “fellow rich elite private school” Northwestern. The ‘Pack leave the friendly confines of The Carter for wherever Old Dominion is. Hopefully the guy who drives the production van for ESPN3 knows where Old Dominion is.

Speaking of uniforms, I suppose I MUST comment on The Wolfpack’s newest tradition of “all black” unis. There was a smidge of red on the shoulders and a small red “S” on the helmets for those who insist on such. I’m sure Bre’r Kennel will have some convoluted bloviation on how “all black” means a school has world-class Fat Cats and all it’s student-athletes are Eagle Scouts. I can hardly wait.

But in the end despite (1) The Almost New Wally….. (2) Blake Dodge …… (3) Those almost all-Black unis @ The Carter; the laments of that one Wuff recruit cannot be denied.

On Cupcake Weekend: Only ECU (and Wake Forest) was on REAL TV.

Coincidentally, only ECU (and Wake Forest) got beat.


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