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Don't Bet On It: National Game of Disinterest

I have already taken you around the S.E.C. and forecast the national games of interest, so all that remains is for me to declare the national game of disinterest.

Although I have it in me to find a reason to root one way or the other in virtually any college football game, there always is that one game each week that is so lacking in intrigue, so bereft even of the barest patina of importance, so unmitigated in its utter unworthiness, that I cannot bring myself to care enough to make a pick, because that would involve distinguishing the combatants to a degree unwarranted by their indifference-inspiring insignificance. That game is . . . the national game of disinterest.

Imagine listening to this guy give a 90-minute speech on the intricacies of monetary policy. That's how boring I find the national game of disinterest. (Photograph from The Orlando Report.)

Ere we all direct our wholehearted inattention in its undeserving direction, therefore, I hereby declare that this week's national game of disinterest is . . .

North Carolina at Duke

I trust this needs no explanation, but, just to be on the safe side, I will break it down for you.

The A.C.C. stinks.

All right, that's a bit harsh. A nicer way to put it might be to say that this is a down year for the A.C.C. . . . but since when was this the week for putting things nicely?

So . . . the A.C.C. stinks.

The A.C.C. stinks so much that, if they were feeling particularly vindictive, Big East coaches could argue with a straight face that perhaps it's time to consider stripping the A.C.C. of its automatic B.C.S. bid.

Rutgers alumna Kristin Davis fervently hopes that the Scarlet Knights don't get stuck playing the A.C.C. champion in the Orange Bowl.

The A.C.C. stinks so much that five teams, the best of which is slightly above average and most of which are thoroughly mediocre, have 5-2 conference records or better.

Of the remaining seven sad sack squads in this failed attempt at forging a superconference, there is perennially underachieving Clemson, a Florida State squad that just got rid of its offensive coordinator, a Virginia squad whose coach is under fire, an N.C. State squad whose coach is about to be fired, and a Miami squad whose coach is about to be fired.

All of these teams are better than either Duke or North Carolina!

These teams are bad by Atlantic Coast Conference standards, which is a bit like being the worst hip-hop artist in an Arizona retirement community. The bar was set so low to begin with that it's inconceivable how awful you'd have to be to land at the bottom of the pile.

Nevertheless, the Tar Heels have labored mightily to be first at being worst, limping to a 2-9 season in which U.N.C. has claimed a lone league win . . . yet even they could not outdo the Blue Devils, who are one game away from absolute perfection, as they bring to the table an 0-11 ledger unblemished even by a single skinny victory.

Still, it may be overly unkind of me to claim that a season-ending in-state rivalry game in a B.C.S. conference is entirely undeserving of my attention. I mean, surely fans of the schools themselves care, don't they?

Actually, not so much. The official website of Duke athletics is more concerned with men's and women's basketball; all that is said about Blue Devil football is frank and hopeless:

John Talley wishes his Duke team could have enjoyed his success.

The senior cornerback had a spectacular season; the Blue Devils had a woeful one (0-11, 0-7). Duke has lost 19 straight and hasn't beaten a Division I-A team in more than two years. . . .

"It's real tough because I'm not one to brag or boast about my individual stats," Talley said Monday. "I'd love to have the wins instead of personal success."


(By the way, John Talley earns kudos for Duke University academics. "It's real tough"? I know that the Duke Department of English has been home to faculty members who think words are meaningless social constructs used by the patriarchy as part of a political power struggle, but surely they can take enough class time to help student-athletes overcome their irrational fear of adverbs, can't they?)

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? Absorbent and yellow and porous is he! If meaningless nonsense be something you wish, then enjoy the writings of Stanley Fish!

Meanwhile, over in Chapel Hill, U.N.C. is similarly preoccupied with roundball.

That's perfectly all right. Basketball is a fine American sport and partisans of Duke and North Carolina appropriately take pride in their stellar traditions of excellence and achievement on the hardwood.

If they don't care about their football teams, though, why on earth should we?

That's your national game of disinterest. Ignore it in good health.

Go 'Dawgs!