Aug. 28, 2008
Washington, D.C. - The coaches and administrators have said that it is a game that just makes sense for both schools. The players said that it's for bragging rights in the city. Georgetown Head Football Coach Kevin Kelly, along with senior slot back Kenny Mitchell (Atlanta, Ga./Westlake) and junior offensive lineman George Mosle (Olney, Md./Sherwood), visited Howard University on Wednesday, where they joined Bison Head Coach Carey Bailey and two of his players in a meeting with the media.
What they really hope is that this is the start of a rivalry.
When Georgetown and Howard kick-off on Saturday, September 6 at William H. Green Stadium, it will not only be the season opener for both schools, it will mark the first-ever meeting between the only two schools in the District that sponsor football at the Football Championship Subdivision level.
The game, being billed as the Inaugural D.C. Cup, pits two programs that are separated by approximately three miles for the first time and have football histories that start in the 19th century (1887, Georgetown; 1893, Howard).
"I think it's terrific," Kelly said. "It makes too much sense. We're right across town. A gallon of gas is awful high and with budget-awareness these days, it's a great natural rival for us. Even though it's a road game, in my mind it's a home game. We can sleep in our beds and wake up and come play."
The chance to play a school across town is something that the players are excited about too. "It's our season opener and it's the first time the schools have played, so it's basically the D.C. crown," Mosle said. "Whoever wins will have bragging rights in the city for the year."
"It's important to have a rival," Mitchell said. "The fact that they are in D.C. and right across town from us make it important. It's very exciting to start something like this."
Starting something like this was a part of the scheduling that Kelly, entering his third year at the helm of the program, wanted to do when he was hired in January 2006. He spoke to Georgetown Director of Athletics Bernard Muir about the possibility and then spoke to Howard and their athletics director, Dwight Datcher, who had moved across the city after spending nearly 10 years on the Hilltop.
"I think it was something that Bernard and I had some conversations about when I started," Kelly said. "Bernard and Dwight really got this rolling and it's a credit to them for this game becoming a reality."
And in less than two weeks it will become a reality for the first time.
"This game is really important to us and to Howard as well," Kelly said. "It gains some exposure for both our programs. It will help with recruiting in our area. We play a great brand of football and Howard does as well and I think the awareness we can build from this will be great."
Since students arrived on campus within the last two weeks and classes started on Wednesday, there has been a surge in interest for the game as well.
"I think we've had some good response to this game so far," Kelly said. "Hoya Blue has really tried to generate some interest and they have some buses coming over. A lot of our alums have started to take an interest in the game as well. It's doing exactly what we hoped it would."
"There are a lot of people who have told me they want to come to the game just to see the two teams play," Mosle said. "It's exciting for us to have some built-in excitement surrounding a game to start the season."
One of the unique aspects for both schools is that while the college football season officially starts this weekend, both teams will be starting their season on September 6, adding even more fuel for the players and the coaches.
"They've worked very extremely hard and they're very optimistic," Kelly said. "They see change, I think, from years past, and I think that's been good. I think the attitude has changed and they've really practiced hard. We've had some really good continuity in our coaching staff and that's helped. All of those things help in terms of X's and O's and how we do things in practice."