Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Week 5 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Colgate's 19-0 win over Georgetown Saturday:

1. Great Is The Enemy Of Good: There are many reasons to be disappointed about Saturday's outcome, and I suspect there are more of these ahead of the Hoyas this season. But let's put this team into some perspective: it is thin in depth, it is running a new offense, replacing many of its skill positions, and has an undeserved reputation as a  place where kids that couldn't get a scholarship ended up at.

Georgetown can't judge the 2014 team against the mirror of  Colgate, much less Fordham. There is no Jake Melville or Michael Nebrich on the Hoya sidelines,  even if the latter went to high school less than a half hour from the Hilltop. (Painful lesson to new fans: if you're local to Georgetown, you don't go there.) We have to view this team as a longer term rebuilding effort, one made difficult by the Patriot League's march to become CAA Lite, but not insurmountable.  

Playing 60 minutes of football, the kind of well prepared, well coached, and well executed effort that led the Hoyas over Brown, can and will pay dividends down the road, even if the road takes a few unforeseen turns.

"We had 12 possessions in the game.  In 11 of these drives we had an unforced error.," wrote coach Sgarlata in his weekly e-mail to the Gridiron Club. Did those 11 unforced errors cost the Hoyas the game? In its entirety, probably not, but if 11 unforced errors can become eight, six or four, suddenly this is a more competitive team in the Colgate game, in the Lehigh game, in the Fordham, game, and in the recruiting game.

Georgetown won't go undefeated the rest of the years, but if they can become the team that doesn't beat itself, it can hold its head high at any stadium in the league.

2. TV Coverage: When word that something called the American Sports Network was going to broadcast select games this season, I was a little skeptical, along the lines of that ill-fated FiOS contract that is still the stuff of derision in Lafayette College circles. (A long story for another time.)

Skepticism no more--the effort in Saturday's game was first rate, and the opportunity to watch it on TV and not a PC was a decided step up for fans nationwide who don't have the luxury of getting up a couple hours early and driving to Hamilton. Credit to the production team and to the assistance at Colgate to give Patriot league football some national attention.

3. A Word From Our Sponsor: The successful broadcast of the game on ASN does not excuse, however, the line crossed by analyst Ross Tucker.

Tucker, a former Princeton lineman who played parts of seven pro seasons across five different teams, is listed on his web site as a "Princeton All-American, NFL offensive lineman,  media personality, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur." (All-American really means academic All-American, but I digress.)

Amidst his various gigs for ASN, NBC Sports Network , YES, the Sporting News, and Sirius XM, Tucker owns a high school recruiting service called Go Big Recruiting.

"Hundreds of college coaching staffs specifically mention Go Big Recruiting as a preferred method of receiving profiles and videos," reads its web site. "Go Big was founded by a former All-Ivy player at Princeton University and 7-year NFL veteran [Ross Tucker], and a serial entrepreneur with online video expertise."

That's fine, I'd guess, though if Brent Musburger was running his own recruiting service while announcing football games, someone might be asking some questions.

The problem is not that Tucker has this job, but during Saturday's game he mentioned his work with Go Big not once, not twice, but three times in the broadcast. That's not an aside, that's unpaid advertising.

Tucker specifically mentioned Georgetown recruits as having used his service, and a web site called Recruiting 101 goes so far as to claim that "Syracuse, Princeton, Baylor and Georgetown are just some of the universities that have exclusively mentioned Go Big in their mailings to recruits as the online way to submit game film to their university."

Lots of television analysts have off-season jobs. When he's not trying on headgear for College Gameday, ESPN's Lee Corso was a sales rep for a pencil manufacturer. Aside from a pencil in his hand during the broadcasts, nothing is said about it. Jay Bilas is an attorney when basketball doesn't get in the way, but he's not offering a 1-800 number during time outs. The always entertaining Bill Raftery owns something called "W.J. Raftery Associates", an event marketing firm. He doesn't talk up a side business during a broadcast.

And neither should Ross Tucker.

4. Goin' South: We'll discuss this on later this week, but Harvard's trip to Georgetown is a bit of a rarity in the long tradition of Crimson football.

Harvard has played a total of 1,274 intercollegiate games across its august history, and just 12 of them...twelve...were played outside of the Ivy league footprint, roughly from Pennsylvania North to New Hampshire. Of these, just four were played south of the Mason-Dixon line since 1945

November 11, 1947 at Virginia
November 7, 1981: at William & Mary
October 4, 1986: at William & Mary
September 25, 1993: at William & Mary

Other true road games for the Cantabs included the 1920 Rose Bowl versus Oregon, a pair of games with Michigan prior to 1942, an ancient series with Navy, and a 2013 trip to San Diego, but that's it.

So, in addition to being the last team left in the Georgetown fight song yet to play  the Hoyas, Harvard is making some history in sending the Crimson southbound this weekend.

5. Still Counting: Tuesday marked day 3,300 of the "temporary" suspension of construction at unnamed Multi-Sport Field.

No rant today, just a quote: "Some have forgotten, others will remind them."