Rivalry: noun-the act of rivaling. So Webster's does not have the best definition of rivalry out there. Let's try this again. Rivaling: verb- to be in competition with; to strive to equal or excel; to possess qualities or aptitudes that approach or equal (those of another). That's more like it.
One of the worst parts of leaving the Big East is that Syracuse will not have a rival like the Georgetown Hoyas. There was genuine hatred and history between us (for the record, it's 4:55 and Georgetown still sucks) and you cannot just replicate that overnight. Unlike in professional sports, a rivalry is not needed to "define the experience" (Boston-New York withstanding) as much as in collegiate sports.
State teams have a much easier time of setting up rivalries thanks to old political histories (Kansas-Mizzou), in state divisions (Mich State-Michigan) or the age of their institutions (Oklahoma-Texas). For these reasons, private schools like Syracuse have a much more difficult time establishing something, hence why losing Georgetown as a rival is so crushing.
First and foremost there is basketball. Basketball will not bring in the money for the ACC but with the new ESPN deal
and ESPN's obvious hard-on/bias for ACC basketball there is no doubt that any rivalry 'Cuse starts will have to start on the hardwood. So why not hate the team that everybody already hates? It's no secret Duke is despised outside of their fanbase but let's be real: neither is Syracuse (at least in the eyes of the National Media of late).
Furthermore, look at the coaching match-up that will repeated ad nausea by everyone prior to that first game: Coach K and Jimmy B. Olympic gold medalists. By the time the new ACC is formed, they will be No. 1 and No. 2 in all-time wins. Add Michael Gbinije to the mix and suddenly this game looks like the first time in a long while that the Tobacco Road Rivalry is not center stage in the ACC.
But what about the other "revenue sports" for the Cuse - Duke rivalry?
The good thing about lacrosse is that we are almost guaranteed to see the level of play and intensity go up with the move to the ACC. Obviously, there is no bigger lacrosse rival for us than Johns Hopkins. Virginia, another ACC team, is a close second. However, Duke should not be far behind as the rivalry continues to grow. As of late, the two keep drawing each other in various tournaments and the results haven't disappointed. While teams like Virginia and Cornell will be hated by us for all of eternity, Duke's rivalry will grow as hate from basketball carries over to Lax, something unique to the Cuse-Duke rivalry.
Now to football, the one area where this argument starts to lose some ground. As we learned in the "Meet Your New Neighbors" series, if there is one football team more pathetic than Syracuse over the last decade, it has been Duke. Now I have no doubt that Syracuse football will find a way to make these games closer than necessary and filled with drama, but the bottom line is that Duke doesn't care about football like we do and it will take A LOT (read: crazy insulting incidents involving mascots and/or player altercations) to make this count.
I can already see the UNC arguments coming in as they present a formidable football challenge and are equals to Duke on the basketball court, but my counter argument is this- look at the kind of school Duke is. It's much like Georgetown in its makeup: small, private, a reputation surrounding the student body that I need not say.
Syracuse has BC for it's football rivalry. What will make the new ACC rivalry is basketball and lacrosse (much more basketball) as well as a student and alumni base that acts like Georgetown. I have no doubt Duke will live down to those standards.
So get your "Beat Duke" tees and your "Devils Suck" blogs going (I know, nothing will ever compete with Hoya Suxa, Glaude) and get ready for a new ACC-themed rivalry.