Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Biggest Little Game in America

College Gameday, ESPN's weekly college football preview show, chose to broadcast from the site of a Division III game for the first time in its history. The game was at Weston Field in Williamstown, Massachussets, where Amherst College would take on Williams College for the 122nd time since 1884. It is the oldest college football rivalry, and the analysts repeatedly referred to the game as "The Biggest Little Game in America". The scholarly rivalry between the two schools began all the way back in 1821 when one of the founders of Williams College (in 1818) decided the obsolete location was not ideal and founded a new college in Amherst, Massachusetts and called it Amherst College. The rivalry hasn't looked back since.

On game day, five busloads of students departed (not including myself) for Williams to cheer on their team in the biggest game of the season. The excitement was palpable; McMatty spent about 8 1/2 hours working on a great sign that read: "Eph: It's what's for dinner" (Eph is Williams' nickname and is pronounced like beef). Zoit and Rorogomono found themselves on national TV for a good five seconds after battling an obnoxious Williams fan, a.k.a. Elbowman, for the spot. Meanwhile, I was deciding between wearing my Amherst t-shirt or my "Williams College is a Horrible College" t-shirt. Unfortunately, the game was not as exciting as the build-up, resulting in a 20-0 defeat for the Amherst Lord Jeffs, despite their 1430-1420 advantage in average SAT score. The Amherst defense battled valiantly and was very effective against the #1 offense in the NESCAC conference, even though they spent a large majority of the game on the field.

On a professional note, what happened to the Detroit Lions today? Coming into the game today, the Lions had a 6-2 record and were primed for an easy game against the lowly Arizona Cardinals. Instead, they rushed nine times for -18 yards, and lost 31-21. -18 yards! They had five players with an attempt, and Aveion Cason led the team with 1 yard rushing. Kevin Jones had 4 rushes for -4 yards... and a touchdown. Jon Kitna and TJ Duckett each rushed once for zero yards, and Shaun McDonald had one attempt for -15 yards. It's hard to win when you rush for -18 yards.

And as I type this, Adam Vinatieri just missed a 29-yard field goal with under 2 minutes left in the game versus the Chargers. What a capper to an odd game. The Chargers scored 10 points on offense, were outgained 386-176, and were playing the Colts. And they won. How did they do that? Try two return touchdowns by Darren Sproles, six interceptions by Peyton Manning, and two chip shots missed by Adam Vinatieri.

On the baseball front, only 24 hours remain until free agents are allowed to talk with other teams. That will mark the beginning of a much more exciting time of the offseason. Unless a rash of signings occur on Monday, there seem to be a solid amount of good players available. We'll be watching very closely to see what happens in the next week and beyond.

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