The End of the (Country) Road

Jan. 7, 2012

The End of the (Country) Road

Since the Big East’s founding more than three decades ago, the backbone of the conference has been positioned along – or closely parallel to – the I-95/Amtrak Northeast Corridor.  Georgetown, Villanova, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s , UConn, and Providence (and, once upon a time, Boston College) all fall within the Northeast megalopolis.  A substantial proportion of Georgetown’s student and alumni base also calls this stretch home, so it is not surprising that Georgetown fans naturally think of schools ‘up the road’ when they list the Hoyas’ regional rivals.

In reality, West Virginia University is the second closest Big East neighbor to Georgetown, a fact that is usually most apparent every other year, when hordes of Mountaineers invade the Verizon Center.  Relatively few Hoyas reside in the Mountain State, and though country roads have been replaced by I-68 as the primary route from the District, the travel options between the two remain more limited and austere than those found along the Eastern Seaboard.  For its part, WVU itself is more oriented toward its fellow Backyard Brawler to the north and fellow football schools to the south and west.

In a way, all of this is now moot, since the Mountaineers are seceding from the Big East and joining the Big 12.  We will never know if a truly established and recognized rivalry would have ever emerged.  Not that long ago, however, it looked like it just might happen.

Recall, for instance, 2008’s Instant Classic in Morgantown, which was not decided until fractions of a second before the final buzzer sounded.  Patrick Ewing Jr.’s game-winning rejection of Da’Sean Butler would go down as one of the most memorable blocks of the decade and perhaps the defining moment in the series up to this point.  Most of those in attendance at that game saw its climactic ending a bit differently, of course, and take it from me as someone who was there – they were not at all shy about expressing their opinion.  In fact, I briefly feared for the Hoyas’ safety – and my own – in the immediate aftermath of the disputed block/goaltend.  Where most venues would have only a thin yellow line of CSC Event Staff to prevent the situation from escalating, however, a squad of West Virginia state troopers quickly secured the court and maintained order.  Joint exercises with the Beijing police may be worth looking into.

That particular was the follow-up to another memorable meeting, a decisive Hoya victory in 2007 that was made famous by a confrontation between then-WVU head coach John Beilein and Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing Jr.  The former was thereafter dubbed “Grabby,” while the latter earned a special enmity from Mountaneer fans that only made “The Block” that much sweeter.  Throw in a classic showdown from the 1974-75 season that Derrick Jackson won for the Hoyas on an 18-footer with two seconds left for historical cred, and you had the potential for a real rivalry to evolve.

But though the two schools did combine for a hard-fought and hard-to-forget Big East Tournament Final in 2010, for the most part the meetings since Ewing Jr.’s block have been one-sided, predictable affairs.  The nadir came in March 2010, when the minds of Hoya Nation were focused not on the game, but on the health of team leader Austin Freeman, who had just been set home with an undisclosed illness.  I was there for that game as well, and the visceral, gut-wrenching feeling the hung in the air (for a Georgetown fan, anyway) was every bit the exact opposite of the jubilant delirium of 2008.

Georgetown and West Virginia have long been bound together by a particular song, the unofficial hymn of Mountaneers everywhere: “Country Roads, Take Me Home.”  WVU fans cherish it as the song they sing together at key moments, often after sporting events.  Georgetown fans know it as the work of Bill Danoff (I’68), who wrote the song before John Denver had ever stepped foot in the Mountain State. 

Nowadays, though, a different song feels more appropriate: The World Turned Upside Down.  It applies most fittingly to the dizzying – not to say nauseating – process of NCAA conference realignment.  It applies to a college basketball landscape in which Villanova and Pitt sit at 0-3 in the Big East, even as a team picked to finish tenth in the conference chugs along, leaving in its wake stunned supporters and opponents alike.  It certainly applies to whatever it was that West Virginia’s football team did to Clemson in the Orange Bowl; there’s a very good chance the Hoyas will hold the Mountaneer hoopsters to fewer points than the 70 WVU rung up in Miami this week.

The Country Road has come to an end.  It’s time to walk a new path and chart a new course.  Full speed ahead!

Dmitriy Zakharov (F’09, G’09)
Proud Member of Generation Ewing Jr.

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Schedules

October 21
L, 17-9
Fordham Family Weekend
Cooper Field
RECAP

Watch: Patriot League Network
October 21
W, 3-0
Seton Hall
Shaw Field
RECAP

BEDN
Watch
October 21
L, 10-0
Uconn
Storrs, Conn.
RECAP

Live Stats
Watch
October 21
L, 3-0
Villanova
Villanova, Pa.
RECAP
October 21
All Day
MAISA Womens Championships
Bronx, N.Y.
October 21
TBA
ITA Regionals
Lynchburg, Va.
October 21
All Day
Kings Point Dinghy Open
Kings Point, N.Y.
October 22
T, 0-0 (2OT)
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.
RECAP

BEDN
Watch
October 22
9:30 AM
Richmond
Cooper Field
October 22
11:30 AM
Elon
Cooper Field
October 22
W, 3-2
Sacred Heart
Fairfield, Conn.
RECAP

Live Stats
October 22
2:30 PM
Virginia Tech
Cooper Field
October 22
TBA
ITA Regionals
Lynchburg, Va.
October 22
All Day
MAISA Womens Championships
Bronx, N.Y.
October 22
All Day
Kings Point Dinghy Open
Kings Point, N.Y.
October 22
All Day
Head of the Charles HW/LW
Boston, Mass.

Results
Championship 4+ - 1:16 p.m. Lightweight 4+ - 1:16 p.m. Lightweight 8+ - 1:48 p.m.
October 22
14th of 18
The ODU/OBX Intercollegiate Old Dominion
Kilmarlic Golf Club - Powells Point, N.C.
RECAP
October 22
All Day
Head of the Charles
Boston, Mass.

Results
Lightweight 4+ - 1:30 p.m.
October 23
All Day
The ODU/OBX Intercollegiate Old Dominion
Kilmarlic Golf Club - Powells Point, N.C.
October 24
All Day
The ODU/OBX Intercollegiate Old Dominion
Kilmarlic Golf Club - Powells Point, N.C.
October 25
2:00 PM
Providence
Shaw Field

BEDN
Watch
October 26
2:00 PM
Xavier
Shaw Field

BEDN
Watch
October 27
2:00 PM
Villanova
Cooper Field
October 27
7:00 PM
Xavier
Cincinnati, Ohio
October 28
1:00 PM
Holy Cross
Worcester, Mass.
October 28
7:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

BEDN
Watch
October 28
11:00 AM
James Madison
Cooper Field
October 28
12:00 PM
Davidson
Davidson, N.C.
October 28
1:00 PM
Maryland
Cooper Field
October 28
3:00 PM
Stony Brook
Cooper Field
October 28
All Day
Head of the Schuylkill LW only
Philadelphia, Pa.
October 28
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Kenosha, Wis.
October 28
All Day
BIG EAST Championships
Kenosha, Wis.
October 28
All Day
War Memorial Regatta
Geneva, N.Y.
October 29
1:00 PM
La Salle
Cooper Field
October 29
2:00 PM
Butler
Indianapolis, Ind.
October 29
All Day
War Memorial Regatta
Geneva, N.Y.
October 29
All Day
Princeton Chase
Princeton, N.J.
October 29
All Day
Princeton Chase HW/LW
Princeton, N.J.
October 30
All Day
USF Intercollegiate
TPC Tampa, Tampa, Fla.
October 31
All Day
USF Intercollegiate
TPC Tampa, Tampa, Fla.
November 1
2:00 PM
Creighton
Shaw Field

BEDN
Watch
November 3
4:00 PM
Rutgers/Pittsburgh/Seton Hall/Villanova
New Brunswick, N.J.
November 3
6:00 PM
St. Johns
McDonough Arena
November 3
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 3
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 3
All Day
ICSA Mens and Womens Singlehanded National Championships
Tampa, Fla.
November 4
2:00 PM
Lafayette Homecoming
Cooper Field
November 4
10:00 AM
Rutgers/Pittsburgh/Seton Hall/Villanova
New Brunswick, N.J.
November 4
6:00 PM
Seton Hall
McDonough Arena
November 4
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 4
All Day
ICSA Mens and Womens Singlehanded National Championships
Tampa, Fla.
November 4
All Day
Head of the Occoquan HW/LW
Fairfax Station, Va.
November 4
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 4
All Day
Head of the Occoquan
Fairfax Station, Va.
November 5
All Day
ICSA Mens and Womens Singlehanded National Championships
Tampa, Fla.
November 5
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 5
TBA
Jack Kramer Invitational
Palos Verdes, Calif.
November 10
6:00 PM
Marquette
Milwuakee, Wis.
November 10
All Day
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Championships
Bethlehem, Pa.
November 10
All Day
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Championships
Bethlehem, Pa.
November 11
12:00 PM
Bucknell
Lewisburg, Pa.
November 11
All Day
Coed Atlantic Coast Championships
Bronx, N.Y.
November 11
All Day
ICSA Match Racing National Championships
Charleston, S.C.
November 11
All Day
Womens Atlantic Coast Championships
New London, Conn.
November 12
12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Capital One Arena

FSN
TBD
November 12
2:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.
November 12
All Day
ICSA Match Racing National Championships
Charleston, S.C.
November 12
All Day
Coed Atlantic Coast Championships
Bronx, N.Y.
November 12
All Day
Womens Atlantic Coast Championships
New London, Conn.
November 14
7:00 PM
Howard
McDonough Arena
November 15
7:00 PM
Mount St. Marys
Capital One Arena

FS2
TBD
November 16
7:00 PM
Loyola Maryland
Baltimore, Md.
November 17
10:00 AM
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.
November 17
6:00 PM
Providence
McDonough Arena

BEDN
November 18
1:00 PM
Colgate Senior Day
Cooper Field
November 18
12:00 PM
UMES
Capital One Arena

FSN
TBD
November 18
10:00 AM
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.
November 18
6:00 PM
Creighton
McDonough Arena
November 18
All Day
IC4A Championships
New York, N.Y.
November 18
All Day
NCAA Championships
Louisville, Ky.
November 18
All Day
NCAA Championships
Louisville, Ky.
November 18
All Day
ECAC Championships
New York, N.Y.
November 19
2:00 PM
George Washington
Washington, D.C.
November 19
10:00 AM
Bucknell Invite
Lewisburg, Pa.
November 24
8:30 PM
Auburn
Nashville, Tenn.
November 25
6:00 PM
Richmond
Richmond, Va.

TBD
TBD
November 25
8:30 PM
Chattanooga
Nashville, Tenn.
November 26
3:00 PM
Northwestern
Nashville, Tenn.
November 28
8:30 PM
Maine
Capital One Arena

FS1/FS2
TBD
November 29
7:00 PM
Florida International
McDonough Arena
December 3
6:30 PM
Coppin State
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
December 7
8:30 PM
Howard
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
December 7
7:00 PM
Minnesota
McDonough Arena
December 9
2:30 PM
North Carolina A&T
Capital One Arena

FS2
TBD
December 10
2:00 PM
North Carolina State
Raleigh, N.C.
December 16
12:30 PM
Syracuse
Capital One Arena

CBS
TBD
December 20
7:00 PM
North Texas
Capital One Arena

FS2
TBD
December 21
6:00 PM
VCU
Richmond, Va.
December 23
12:00 PM
Alabama A&M
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
December 27
6:30 PM
Butler
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
December 28
7:00 PM
Providence
Providence, R.I.

BEDN
Watch
December 30
4:30 PM
Marquette
Milwaukee, Wis.

FS1
TBD
December 30
2:00 PM
Creighton
Omaha, Neb.

BEDN
January 2
9:00 PM
DePaul
Chicago, Ill.

FS1
TBD
January 2
2:00 PM
Xavier
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 5
7:00 PM
Butler
McDonough Arena

BEDN
January 6
12:00 PM
Creighton
Capital One Arena

FSN
TBD
January 6
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 7
All Day
Rose Bowl Regatta
Los Angeles, Calif.
January 9
6:30 PM
St. Johns
New York, N.Y.

FS1
TBD
January 10
7:00 PM
Villanova
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
January 12
7:00 PM
St. Johns
Queens, N.Y.

BEDN
January 13
12:00 PM
Seton Hall
Newark, N.J.

FS1
TBD
January 13
1:00 PM
American/George Washington
Washington, D.C. (American University)
January 14
1:00 PM
Seton Hall
South Orange, N.J.

BEDN
January 17
6:30 PM
Villanova
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
January 19
7:00 PM
Marquette
McDonough Arena

BEDN
Watch
January 20
12:00 PM
St. Johns
Capital One Arena

FS1
TBD
January 20
1:00 PM
Drexel
McCarthy Pool