Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Rivalry Week!

You have been clamoring for it. You demanded it happen. You thought the Governor should have ordered that they play. After all of these years and all the accusations that Delaware was dodging the game and all of the conspiracy theories that came along, this week it will finally happen. Delaware will once and for all settle it on the field of play when they face off against…Albany?

I have never been a big proponent of the yet to happen University of Delaware vs. Delaware State match-up. It just never seemed like a big deal to me and I never thought that Delaware State was good enough to warrant the game, but when I look at Delaware’s schedule and I see schools like Holy Cross (last year), Albany (this year), Monmouth (next year), and West Chester (every year) and I see Delaware State start this season off with a to 2-0 record I begin to wonder if maybe it is time to reconsider.

Over the past several years, Delaware residents and fans have argued that the Hens should end the West Chester series and start playing Delaware State. As I have stated before, I do not like the West Chester game although I understand why it is a good business decision for the Hens to keep this so-called rivalry going, but I never thought that Delaware State was a great idea either. I always thought that Delaware should play either a traditional I-AA powerhouse like a Georgia Southern, Montana, Youngstown, or McNeese; or a regional I-A game like a Rutgers, Temple, Navy, or Maryland. And to Delaware’s credit Navy is on Delaware’s schedule again next year and Maryland is tentatively on the schedule to open the 2008 season.

The only advantage, it seemed, to replacing West Chester with Delaware State was that at least Delaware State was a I-AA school where as West Chester was Division II school so Delaware would not be penalized by playing Delaware State like they are by playing West Chester in the eyes of the I-AA Playoff Selection Committee. But from a competitive standpoint, the potential match-up just seemed like a yawner to me. But all of that may be changing.

Delaware State has already surpassed Delaware in Men’s Basketball with two consecutive post-season appearances including that thriller against Duke on national television in the first round of the NCAA Tournament two years ago and a first round NIT victory last year while Delaware suffered through two consecutive twenty-loss seasons and had to fire their coach.

Although, in football, Delaware State will never be able to match the long and storied history and tradition of the University of Delaware, they have certainly taken some baby steps in the last couple of years to improve their program including one of their best ever starts this year with wins over conference foe Florida A&M in front of close to 30,000 at the Detroit Football Classic and a 63-28 drubbing over St Francis (Pa.) in the first ever night game to be held at Delaware State’s Alumni Stadium. Last week’s win was Delaware State’s sixth in a row at home.

I have no idea why these two schools have never met in football. I do know that they have played in most other sports, but I also know that football is different than any other sport. I also have no idea what is involved in developing a football schedule or whether there have been any conversations between the two schools to explore the possibility of playing the game and if so how far those conversations have gone.

I do wonder, however, if Delaware, when working on their schedule and coming up with the likes of Holy Cross, Albany, and Monmouth, even considered talking to Delaware State? I do know that if Delaware State continues its recent winning ways and continues to improve that the NCAA may be able to do something that neither the Governor nor the fans have been able to do and that is force Delaware to play Delaware State in a football game albeit a I-AA Playoff Football game.

And wouldn’t that be something?

Bill Komissaroff

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