Yes, we’re linking a story from IC. But it’s about Duke, so we’ll post portions of it here so you don’t have to give them hits. How’s that? 😉

“This could be the first (Duke) senior class to capture the Victory Bell twice since the early ’80s,” said an optimistic Ted Roof, referring to the four-wheeled trinket possessed by the winning school.

There will be dark blue spray paint on hand if indeed the Blue Devils can grab a win over arch-rival Carolina in John Bunting’s final game as coach. But they are catching the Tar Heels at a bad time – although UNC will have to string together back-to-back victories for the first time this year in order to prevail.

“We definitely don’t want to lose the bell to those guys,” Jesse Holley said. “Just like with N.C. State, Duke is just as big a rivalry for us.”

As is often the case in major intra-sectional standoffs, the stats, the past and the prophecies mean little once the contest is underway. And its regional importance always transcends the two teams’ current won-loss tallies.

“This is not a game that passes,” Roof said. “You think about it from the time it’s over with until you meet again the next year. It means a lot to both schools. It certainly means a lot to Duke. There’s a lot riding on it for us.”

Despite underdog status in almost every game, Duke has played Carolina tough. Bunting is 4-1 versus Duke, but two of the four victories were decided by less than a field goal and the Blue Devils won 30-22 in 2003.

“When you play Duke, nothing else matters,” Holley said. “They are not going to play like an 0-11 team – I guarantee that. You put all the records aside. It’s going to be a hard-fought football game.”

No doubt it will be hard-fought. But will Duke have enough fight to pull the minor upset?

One can only hope. UNC has Butch Davis to look forward to–Duke needs some encouragement for 2007.

A season of woe can’t completely come in a single victory…but it can go a long way in assuaging the frustration of a season that has been as disappointing as any in recent memory.