I walked out of class today and immediately checked my phone for messages, which becomes a habit when you're incapacitated for 75 minutes in the middle of the day and you have no idea what's going on in the world around you. A friend had sent me a text message: "91 days till Duke-UNC." Two thoughts immediately crossed my mind: 1. This friend works at an investment bank, shouldn't be he more concerned with saving the economy? and 2. How did he know that?
Then, another friend sent me a link to CBS Sports' college basketball page, which prominently features a countdown ticker to Duke's Feb. 11 home matchup with North Carolina in the top right corner of the page. (For the record, CBS has the second game of the series in the Dean E. Smith Center March 8. ESPN and RAYCOM have rights to the game in Cameron Indoor Stadium.)
Listen, we firmly believe that Duke-UNC is the greatest rivalry in college sports and regularly spew the typical defenses to any detractors (They're eight miles apart! Fans tent out for months! Cameron is the greatest place ever!). But for any website—let alone a national college basketball site and not the Duke or North Carolina athletic department home pages—to count down to the game when it's more than three months away seems utterly preposterous. We know that CBS Sports prefers the countdown on its sub-pages (four days, four hours and counting till Cowboys-Redskins on CBS!), but this is different from promoting Florida's matchup with South Carolina on SEC Live this week.
Theoretically, we're all for a countdown when a countdown is relevant (whether a countdown is ever relevant is another question). Rule of thumb: If the Krzyzewskiville tenters haven't begun their countdown, no national media outlet should do it, either.
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