Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Week 3 Thoughts

Some thoughts following Dartmouth's 41-0 win over Georgetown Saturday.

1. No Silver Lining. This was, from the first play right to the end, a poor effort and performance. If this was in Washington, the half-crowd at Cooper Field would have deserted the place. Missed tackles, missed assignments and a general lack of progress should be of concern from the staff right on down.

In some respects, this harkens back to last year's stuffing at the hands of Harvard, with the only difference in the scoring between an errant snap on a punt that accounted for points for Georgetown where none such existed in Hanover. Harvard was, and we can agree on this, a much more dominant foe that day, and yet, while Dartmouth was certainly favored in this one, it was a 6-0 deficit with 3:00 to go by halftime. Thinks slowly but decidedly fell apart and while the defense couldn't save the day, they weren't prepared to avoid it, either.

Offensively, lots of questions. The offensive line makes it impossible to tell if the Rob Spence play calling will be able to leverage some of the better receivers Georgetown has had in a decade, or if the coaching touch he developed at Clemson is all gone at this point. Without a running game, something Georgetown has  struggled with for much of the last 15 years, opponents can flood the secondary and dare Georgetown to do something, while its front line given Gunther Johnson precious little time to check off and find receivers. Johnson was effective against Marist because he had time.  Johnson didn't have it against Dartmouth, and doesn't figure to have it Saturday with Columbia.

2. Fewer Ivies: For the past four seasons, Georgetown has been one of two PL schools to enjoy a "maximum green" of sorts on its schedule; namely, the maximum of three games against the Ivy green schools per their ten game schedules. It what Georgetown long sought for its program, and even the losses are looked upon secondarily to be able to tell recruits, parents, and fans that "we play the Ivy League".  (The other PL schools can talk about BC, Syracuse and the Academies, but that's another topic.)

A look at future Ivy schedules, however, shows that the maximum green may be dimming or Georgetown.  Just two Ivy games, road games with Columbia and Cornell, have been announced in 2019, one in 2020, and one in 2021. Of these, only one is a home game--Columbia in 2020.

Will more games follow? Probably, but the Ivies are diversifying its schedules beyond the patriot league and while they hold no particular animus to Georgetown, games like Saturday do not promote the idea that playing Georgetown is a good game for their  schedule. Some of these fan bases look upon Georgetown the way GU football looks upon Davidson.

Here's the Georgetown year by year count versus the Ivy League:

2005: 0-2 vs. Ivy, 4-5 all others

2006: 0-2 vs. Ivy, 2-7 all others

2007: 0-3 vs. Ivy, 1-7 all others

2008: 0-2 vs. Ivy, 2-6 all others

2009: 0-1 vs. Ivy, 0-10 all others

2010: 0-1 vs. Ivy, 4-6 all others

2011: 0-1 vs. Ivy, 8-2 all others

2012: 1-2 vs. Ivy,  4-4 all others

2013: 0-2 vs. Ivy, 2-7 all others

2014:  1-1 vs. Ivy, 2-7 all others

2015: 1-2 vs. Ivy,  3-5 all others

2016: 1-2 vs. Ivy,  2-6 all others

2017: 0-3 vs. Ivy, 1-8 all others
Total: 4-25 vs. Ivy, 35-80 all others

Davidson is a cautionary tale for Georgetown  in many ways, but the schedule is one of them. The Wildcats have not won a non-conference game  against a Division I opponent since 2005 (against Georgetown) and, facing a 9-57 record since 2012, have built its 2018 non-conference schedule solely against Division III teams. This weekend, Davidson put up 91 points on winless Guilford College.

Georgetown needs wins, but not cheap ones.

3. " A Revolution"? Were you at Sunday's Redskins-Colts game,  with two fan bases close enough where a sellout was wholly expected?

In fact, the attendance was so poor, Redskins management abandoned one of the biggest fibs in sports - the Redskins had consecutive home sellouts since 1967-- and reported attendance of just 57,013 in the 82,000 seat House that Jack Kent Cooke Built.

That's 30,000 empty seats, and it may not be the end of it.

"This is a big deal locally here in Washington, D.C.,” said Tony Kornheiser. “They couldn’t announce [a sellout] because there were 30,000 empty seats. The top deck [Sunday] looked like the Miami Marlins' games. It was awful."

"For 50 years, they owned Washington, D.C. There’s a combination of a bad team, a dull team, a terrible in-game experience, a sense that you’re being gouged and unresponsive management. And Mike, this is beginning to feel like the beginning of a revolution."

And a lesson for Georgetown. As Cooper Field is more and more de minimis, the absence of a game time atmosphere and a reason for Georgetown's Generation Z to commit three hours to a football game and not to Spotify or Snapchat is even less relevant.

Say what you will about the fact that SEC or Big 10 schools are a different culture than blue-state DC, their games are a singular in-game experience, from the tailgates to the marching bands to those 1950-'s era pom-poms that every coed seems to wave in unison. These are the proverbial ties that bind.

They get it. Does Georgetown?

What kind of game day experience at Cooper Field will bring people not just to say hello to friends, but hello to the third quarter?

The 2018 home schedule is a write-off. How do we get them back in 2019?

To be continued.