Thanksgiving is a time to surround ourselves with friends and family while we take note of the countless blessings in our lives. Once the turkey and chicken are devoured and the last piece of pumpkin pie is stolen from the refrigerator at midnight, it’s time to get down to the serious business of the weekend. It is time for our nation’s land grant and technical universities to lay a whoopin’ over their snot-nosed bretheren from the liberal arts universities on the gridiron. The so-called “culture versus agriculture” feud is one of my favorite sports weekends of the year. Guess which side of the feud I’m on?
This battle takes place in many states. Off the top of my head, I can think of decorate boxes from Auburn-Alabama, Virginia Tech-Virginia, Homes for sale Russellville, AR Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia Tech-Georgia, Texas-Texas A&M (unfortunately, evil won round one last night in Austin and it wasn’t even close). My rule is ALWAYS pull for the land grant, even if I don’t know a thing about the team.
The reasons are many. One side fries turkeys, the other side eats turkey panini. One side thinks nothing of wearing cammo overalls on a cold game day, the other side is worried about spilling mulled cider on their cashmere topcoats. Aside from these slightly over-the-top generalizations, there are some long standing social differences at play.
Most of the time, schools that aren’t blessed enough to have “State” or “Tech” in their name are much older and more established than their counterparts. These watch-movies.net schools were founded with the mission of educating students in the classical arts. The problem is that during these schools’ first centuries, only the rich or privileged could afford such an education. These schools had years to turn out a ruling class of businessmen, lawyers and politicians.
Contrast that with schools like my beloved NC State, which was founded in 1887 as the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanics Arts. The mission of such schools was to educate the rural class and provide them with the real life skills in an affordable fashion.
Certainly our society is more diverse now, and the old labels don’t quite fit the way they used to, but the fundamental differences in the culture versus agriculture war play themselves out on Thanksgiving weekend.
The bummer is that here in North Carolina, the proverbial “powers that be” have never let NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill join in the fun. Over the course of my life, Wolfpack and Tarhole games have been held in September, October and November. They’re all over the map. As great as last weekend’s 41-10 ass-kicking of the pansy blue was, how much better would it have been as the last game of the year, with a bowl game on the line? The thrill of these games is that the two rivals spend the season on a collision course and it all comes down to one shot to cap off the season.
I get that “back in the day”, UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke was a better football rivalry. Duke is still the only ACC team to have played in the Rose Bowl and used to rule the roost, while State didn’t even make a serious financial commitment to football until the late 1940’s. But times change. Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill are much more rivals on the basketball court than the gridiron. (Of course, anyone who knows ACC history knows this is largely a result of the Coach K era, it was MUCH different before then…) Duke is always going to have a hard time competing in modern college football. The chance that their game with the Tarholes means much more than bragging rights on your resume assistant for a few kids from Jersey is very little.
The Wolfpack-Tarholes battle needs to take its rightful place on Thanksgiving weekend with the rest of the culture versus argiculture battles. I need the chance to break out my NC State overalls!
Go Hokies! Go Tigers! Go Jackets! War Eagle!