Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Week 6 Thoughts

Some brief thoughts following Georgetown's 38-7 Homecoming win over Lafayette:

1. A Complete Win: Putting aside the 130 yards in penalties in this game, this was as dominant a win Georgetown has undertaken in the Patriot League era--put another way, when you can give up 130 yards in penalties and still win by 31, you've had a good game.

While this was not the Lafayette team of recent years, given its injuries and lack of depth, it was nonetheless surprising to see the Hoyas take the measure of a Patriot League team and control the game from start to finish. In 15 years of PL play, Georgetown had won all of four games - four - by more than eight points. A 10 point win over Holy Cross came in 2010, while the other three were completed in a 2011 season that remains one of the great anomalies of recent college football. Not many schools can (or do) go from 0-11 in one season, then 8-3 within two seasons, and back to 2-9 two years later. Even stranger still, it did not involve a singular talent that left after a year, a run of transfers that rotated out, or some sort of NCAA chicanery.

The best stat of the day was undoubtedly the rushing defense. It doesn't matter who the opponent, holding a team to nine yards rushing  is a great defensive accomplishment.

2. What's In A Name: Yes, I understand why the ceremonies honoring Peter Cooper and his family were appropriate this week, and yes, I understand why there would be interest in a naming ceremony, but I was hoping that Georgetown would exercise some restraint and not name the aging MSF infrastructure Cooper Field until the new facility was constructed.

Columbia didn't put the  Lawrence A. Wien's name on the decrepit wooden stands at Baker Field, but waited until they had actually built something new. When the University of Houston rebuilt the former WPA project variously known as Public School Stadium, Jeppesen Stadium or Robertson Stadium, they didn't give it its new name, the somewhat antiseptic TEDCU Stadium, until the new place opened. In the long range, it won't matter much, but the Cooper Field name should be more  - al lot more - than what was named on Saturday.

To that last point, and worthy of a column all it own later this season, three requests:

1. Georgetown needs to communicate the progress of the construction. Don't fall into the analysis paralysis trap that doomed the MSF.
2. The University needs to reach out to previous and potential future donors. The Cooper gift is great, but if another $5 million could raised through the football and lacrosse communities, even better.
3. Set a date and meet it. No more of this "Phase 1(b) , bullet point 2, romanette (iii)" approach.

Get. It. Done.

3. Turnout. An announced crowd of 3,104 is great for the 2,400 MSF, but there must have been a lot of sitting-room-only on the home side, as there were noticeable gasps in seatint along the visitors side. What's also in that number? Student turnout, or the lack of it. It's waned over the years, and not just for the reasons cited at other schools.

"The most common complaints included restrictions on tailgating at the stadium, or the quality of presentation of the games on television compared to the sight lines and breaks in the action at the stadium," wrote an 2014 ESPN.com article. "Fans of the worst teams complained that the games weren't competitive enough, yet so did did fans of the best teams. One thing that wasn't an issue? Ticket prices, as most are either free or heavily subsidized."

Georgetown has no defined student section. Students that arrive late (and let's face it, most do), either get a really poor seat or insufficient seats with their friends. Why would they stay otherwise? When open seats are available, there is a tacit understanding that the visitors side is off-limits to students.

And it's not just about seating, either. Another interesting item from that article:

"In an effort to better pin down reasons for no-shows, the University of Tennessee keeps some of the most detailed data. Percentage of tickets scanned for each game is matched up against weather, kickoff time and which network the game is on. The conclusion? The highest percentage of tickets used in each of the last four seasons came at night games, including a 6 p.m. kickoff against Tennessee-Martin in Sept. 2010, which had only a 7 percent no-show rate, the best over the last four years of home game."

Georgetown maintains only one night game a year. Other than Homecoming, it generally draws the best attendance of the year, yet GU might have one night game a year. A missing opportunity?

4. Now Playing. Yes, the PL Network games are great and a decided step above paying $9.95 for a camera hanging out of the MSF press box, but is anyone else experiencing problems with latency (buffering) toward the end of each half? It's as if the broadcast is running out of bandwidth after about an hour and the video starts to lag. That's less of an issue at the user level and more about the size of the connections it's using to send the video - in layman's terms, there's too much water trying to go into the pipe.

And in issue that almost no one at Georgetown was aware of, a small group of Lafayette fans were grumbling online that their broadcast crew was not "allowed" to broadcast the game at MSF this weekend. Lafayette is blessed by the best game-day broadcast team in I-AA, with a production effort that is good as any out there, including the big schools.

The Lafayette Sports Network broadcasts all games, home and away, for both broadcast and online properties, but in the last four years they've on;y missed two games, both at MSF. Comspiracy theorists out there may claim it is some sore of punitive move by Georgetown, I don't know. Maybe it's the lack of space for a second production truck aside the PL Network setup, or, just as likely, the lack of room in what is generously referred to as a press box atop the stands. Either way, they were missed, and maybe by the time the Leopards return in 2015, they'll have a real press box (and a parking space) that can welcome the LSN back to town.

As for WGTB, well. I'm not holding my breath.