Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Does BU need football?
As readers of this blog may know, my alma mater, Boston University, killed it's D1-AA football program in 1997. BU had about zero football tradition, and games at Nickerson Field were sparsely attended at best. However, I do have fond memories of fall Saturdays, the mighty Terriers taking the field against arch-rivals like UNH and Maine. Good times.
Brian Roach, in today's Freep, attempts to make the point that a dominant hockey program makes up for the absence of a mediocre football program. He reminds us of BU's multiple National Championships, 2009 being the most recent, bitter rivalry with that other school right out the B branch of the Green Line, and Beanpot triumphs. He doesn't mention, but could have, the semi-household names like Eruzione and Craig, Drury and Tkachuk, and, of course, Jack Parker.
Well, I'm not so sure. I have some great Beanpot memories, sure. One of the great sports moments of my life occurred at the Beanpot. I some really good times at Brown Arena (the Rathole On Babcock St). Scott Shaunessy was sorta fun to drink with at Father's Too on Beacon Street. I mean, it was nice being around a superior hockey program, no doubt.
But college hockey is a fringe sport. It's not even on the same map as college football or college basketball. It's lumped in with other third-tier sports like baseball, soccer, swimming, etc. All very worthwhile pursuits, don't get me wrong. But they just aren't the same as the biggies.
I have NOTHING in my experience to rival Game Day in Austin, or the atmosphere of Cameron Indoor or the Dean Dome. I've never been in an arena with the hoisted jerseys of Walton and Kareem, or where there are 100,000 people wearing maize and blue.
Now, of course, that's not to say BU could ever achieve that sort of success in the big sports. BU football was a very average 1-AA program. There was no history or tradition. The most spectacular players to ever roll thru Nickerson, guys like Jim Jensen and Bill Brooks, wound up with very solid, but unspectacular, NFL careers. A guy like Paul Lewis, who set every rushing record the school has, couldn't catch on with the Patriots as a free agent when the Patriots were terrible.
Hockey is all well and good. And it is nice to be able to say "I went to BU, home of the hockey National Champions of 2009". And it's probably better to have a dominant hockey team than it is to have a spare football team.
That was a long rant for not much payoff. I guess the moral of the story is its better to be really good at something sorta spare than it is to be really spare at something sorta good.
It probably also pays to not do too many stream-of-thought blog posts late at night!