Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Week 2 Thoughts

Five thoughts following Saturday's 42-6 win over Davidson:

1. Week of Good Feeling: Every team wants a good win in the home opener, and Georgetown got just what it wanted in Saturday's win: good weather, good turnout, good effort, and a win. But let's put it into perspective, too--Davidson is young, unproven, and as early September goes, not a very good team. In a 12 team Pioneer League that is the weakest I-AA conference in the nation, Davidson was picked ninth--topping only Valparaiso and two new I-AA entrants in Stetson and Mercer. By some unofficial accounts, Georgetown was a four touchdown favorite, so while a big win was not unexpected, fans should look for a closer gameagainst a veteran Marist team and the understanding that after Saturday's game, Georgetown figures to be the underdog in each of its next nine games.

2. Unsung Hero: With six different players scoring touchdowns and a number of fine individual performances, a salute goes to senior punter Matt MacZura, whose 42.2 yard average kept the Wildcats in lean field position all evening. Punting average figures to be an important number for the Hoyas this season as field position will be vital to keeping the defense fresh and giving the offense better opportunities for scoring possibilities. And while MacZura may not average that figure all season, just two Georgetown punters have averaged more than 40 yards a kick over a season since 1968. A team won't win or lose on punting, but a strong average cannot be ignored.

3. Play of The Game: I'll go with Jordan Richardson's block of a Davidson field goal attempt in the first quarter. Granted, it wasn't the difference in the final score, but it set a tone that Georgetown was not going to be overtaken in this game.

4. Future Opponents? This is the final year of four year agreements with both Wagner and Davidson. Will both be back in 2014? Georgetown hasn't announced future schedules but both are the kind of opponents that can be productive tests for the Hoyas. Wagner may have other aspirations, having signed up to play Syracuse and Delaware this season, but stumbled badly in a 42-41 home loss to Division II Merrimack last Friday night. Former opponents like Monmouth and Stony Brook have moved on to more competitive games than Georgetown could bring, but other than Marist, the number of non-Ivy Eastern options for Georgetown continues to narrow.

Which raises this old question--so why not Howard?

It's been noted before that this is a matchup which seems too obvious, but on the other side of the G2 bus line, there's next to no interest to play Georgetown. Howard would rather play a Division II school in Morehouse College than Georgetown, and for good reason--they can draw a crowd. Granted, a crowd of 17,012 in aging RFK Stadium isn't altogether memorable, but the figure was 7,000 more Howard's homecoming game last season and nearly 15,000 more than the Bison drew for its game with Georgetown in 2011 which announced an attendance of just 1,891.

The game comes replete with a nice sponsorship check from AT&T, academic and social seminars, and the marching band experience that is closely tied to the HBCU football tradition. Even though Howard may have won 14 of the last 16 against Morehouse, people will come out to see Morehouse's 110 member "House of Funk" go up against the Howard University "Showtime" marching band. By comparison, they are not coming to see 25 Georgetown students in rugby shirts play "Hey, Baby" for the 400th time.

The Howard-Morehouse game drew a story in the Washington Post. Neither paper sent a reporter to the Georgetown-Davidson game.

5. Should We Be Concerned? Away from the box scores, the campus press has been reporting on student concerns about future housing options, some of which seem to be veering off campus, some focused on the campus. But anyone who has been on the Hilltop recently will concur that housing for approximately 700 more students is at a premium.

So it was an interesting quote when The HOYA reported on a recent meeting of Sasaki Architects, the designers of the generically named "Northeast Triangle" dorm project (and really, isn't every recent Georgetown building generically named?) with this quote:

"Sasaki Associates has identified the Kober-Cogan Building and Harbin Terrace as the next-most feasible sites for student residences. With the conversion of these two areas, the university would then reach its voluntary minimum of housing 90 percent of the student body on campus."
What Is Harbin Terrace? It's the area immediately adjacent to Harbin Hall. But you can't build a building in a crowded area of campus without access for supplies, for trucks, for heavy equipment. It's surrounded by the Jesuit cemetery, the stairs to New North, and well, you know. The ever unfinished Multi-Sport Field.

Yes, the MSF needs to be a construction zone someday, just not a construction zone for another project. If Georgetown opted to build at Harbin, it could potentially cost them the use of the MSF for as many as two seasons, and that raises some serious questions about what football would do. The last time football had to move, it played at the Georgetown baseball field in 1977, and 1978, but that land is gone, too.

In the meantime, Georgetown is actively considering off campus leases in Arlington as a stopgap to reach the mandated housing numbers set by the most recent campus plan. But down the road, either the MSF gets finished or some architects will see it that as a staging ground for buildings of another kind. Please, let's not start going down that road.