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The South Bend Showdown

Saturday is as big a rivalry day as it gets in college football. Miami plays at Virginia Tech. Undefeated Harvard takes on undefeated Yale in The Game. Plus, there's that matchup known as Ohio State-Michigan for a trip to the Rose Bowl.

But instead of watching the pageantry of Ivy League football or the sousaphone player dotting the "i", I will be in Indiana taking in a contest of a slightly different caliber: the 2007 Toilet Bowl between Duke (1-9) and Notre Dame (1-9).

Regardless of the Fighting Irish's paltry record, a win on national television in South Bend would be a historic occasion for the Blue Devils. If anything, they won't have to go back to 1938 for the next "Great Moments in Duke Football History" montage at Wally Wade.

But does Duke have a chance? Since both teams will be searching for that elusive second victory, breaking down the individual matchups seems fairly useless in debating which team is worse in each facet of the game.

So rather than concentrate on the field, let's stack up the University of College Football with The University of College Basketball:

  1. Irish Catholics vs. Methodists

A quick Wikipedia search reveals no major conflicts between Irish Catholics and Methodists. Best not to start anything now. Advantage: Push.

  1. The Golden Dome vs. The Duke Chapel

Both campus structures are iconic in their own right, but the Golden Dome is perhaps the most recognizable college landmark in the United States. Additionally, the 23-karat gold leaf provides the template for the Irish's football helmet, whereas the Blue Devils would look like sidewalks if they went with a Chapel-inspired design. Advantage: Notre Dame.

  1. The Grotto vs. Sarah B. Duke Gardens

Fulfilling graduation requirements in the Grotto would probably qualify you for a one-way ticket to eternal damnation. Advantage: Duke.

  1. Touchdown Jesus vs. James B. Duke Statue

Each work is emblematic of the university's roots: religion for Notre Dame, tobacco for Duke. James B. Duke still looks like a baller with his cigar and pimp cane, but he would look hipper with a basketball and a J.J. Redick jersey. Christ the Teacher's raised arms, on the other hand, couldn't be more relevant. Advantage: Notre Dame.

  1. Notre Dame Stadium vs. Cameron Indoor Stadium

Notre Dame Stadium may be the most beautiful sight Daniel Ruettiger's eyes have ever seen, but Cameron Indoor Stadium oozes a sense of tradition and timelessness that makes it the greatest venue in college basketball. Advantage: Duke.

  1. The Fighting Irish vs. The Blue Devils

The nickname Fighting Irish is a tad redundant, but it's eclipsed by the unmatched irony of naming an athletic team after a French military unit. Especially one that wore capes and berets on the battlefield. Advantage: Notre Dame.

  1. "Notre Dame Victory March" vs. "Fight, Blue Devils, Fight"

The "Victory March" is the most famous college fight song after Michigan's "Hail to the Victors," while the only words Dukies seem to know of their fight song-Carolina, Go to Hell-aren't even official lyrics. Advantage: Notre Dame.

  1. Coach K: Knute vs. Krzyzewski

Both are perhaps the all-time greatest collegiate coaches in their respective sports. But while Krzyzewski has motivated countless numbers of athletes, students and executives to make sure they're armed with not just a jumpshot or a dribble, he has yet to match "win one for the Gipper." Advantage: Notre Dame.

  1. The Four Horsemen vs. Grant, Bobby, Christian, Thomas and Antonio

Just typing Duke's 1992 starting lineup gives me a cramp. It's been 15 years-someone should have come up with a good nickname for them by now. Until then, the apocalyptic-sounding Four Horsemen prevail by default. Plus they have been on a postage stamp. Advantage: Notre Dame.

  1. "Rudy" vs. "The Program"

In theory, this matchup should be another blowout win for Notre Dame. Everyone has seen "Rudy" and no one has heard of "The Program", a college football movie filmed at Duke. But while "Rudy" has Vince Vaughn and Samwise Gamgee, "The Program" has Omar Epps and Halle Berry-yes, that Halle Berry-in the Gothic Reading Room. Advantage: Duke.

Notre Dame prevails by a sound 6-3-1. But that doesn't matter, as I am scrapping my preseason prediction: Duke will flush Notre Dame to earn win No. 2.

Our lady of victory-PRAY FOR US!


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