Posted: 2:52 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013
Duke football cranks up Saturday with a visit from cross-town rival NCCU for the Bull City Gridiron Classic. Duke has most of the advantages going in, including more resources, better training, a bigger recruiting budget and more highly regarded recruits. Toss in the fact that Central’s coach was fired a few days ago and it looks like everything is going Duke’s way. But things don’t always go as expected.
To borrow from Dean Smith, a team can overcome a loss for a game or two before it catches up to them. We have no idea about the emotional state of Eagle’s football right now, but don’t be surprised if it’s through the roof. The biggest advantage any team can have – any group in a confrontation, for that matter – is emotional. There’s a reason why coaches try so hard to generate it, and why it’s so hard to manufacture. Think back to when Miami first arrived, upsetting Oklahoma. Think about Weber State’s NCAA win over UNC. Think about Appalachian State, totally keyed up, and Michigan, with some players hung over. Now consider the winning field goal and think about the emotions of both teams: for Appalachian, it was nothing but adrenaline and nothing to lose. For Michigan State, it was fear and desperation.
Emotion can overcome a lot of deficits. Most people wouldn’t give Central much of a chance. But if they win the emotional battle, they have that chance.