Shane Ryan, a writer for ESPN’s Grantland and the blog Tobacco Road Blues (and also the former blog Seth Curry Saves Duke) wrote a great piece on the “Not Our Rival” chant. That chant was a big topic of conversation here on THEESB last week leading up to and after the UNC vs. NC State game.
He points out its use in the triangle by UNC fans against NC State and by Duke fans against Maryland. I also remember that during the Matt Doherty
debacle era at UNC, it was used by Dukies claiming that UNC was “not their rival”, Maryland was.
Basically I see it this way. It is said against a team that deep down you do consider a rival, maybe not your main rival, but a rivalry and history is present. So saying they aren’t even worthy of being called your rival is not just poking the bear with a stick, its beating the bear over the head with a tree. It just gets amplified when the rivalry has been one sided recently like UNC and State in basketball. 11 in a row, 17 out of 18, owned by Roy, yada,yada, yada..
I see “Not Our Rival” as part of a fan lineage. There are the “Good,Bad, and Ugly” t-shirts, with school logos changing depending on which team you rooted for (UNC was always the ugly, except for the UNC fan version), basic math, The “Who’s Your Daddy!” chant of the late 90’s and now this. Who knows what will be next.
North Carolina is North Carolina State’s biggest rival, they are also Duke’s. That leaves UNC and their fans to choose which of the two teams that also reside in the triangle with them as their biggest rival. Historically, it was NC State. This is one reason Roy Williams gets pumped up for those games. Roy is “old school”, he was around when NC State was UNC’s biggest rival. When the “Not our Rival” chant started last week near the end of the game, he motioned for it to stop. Thankfully, he didn’t have to break out his BB gun.
Starting in the 1990’s with the rise of Mike Krzyzewski and Duke (and State slipping in basketball) things changed. ESPN and Dick Vitale made every UNC vs Duke game must-see tv. Even putting the game on two networks at the same time with different camera angles.
Players and students today dont remember NC State as being the big rival to North Carolina.
As if it proved the point, the UNC student body shouted the words “Go to hell, Duke!” at the end of the fight song they sang after the final whistle. If there’s one piece of trivia that encapsulates the state of the rivalry, it’s this — before the early ’90s, those words used to be “Go to hell, State!”
meanwhile, Wake Forest remains Switzerland.