The Full Nelson: A GW football addict searches for a team

So we don’t have a football team. It is a sad reality every Saturday, and if you’re like me, sometimes you weep openly until you fall asleep amid tissues and a carton of ice cream while watching your third SportsCenter of the night. But as my colleague Brian Costa informed us in an article a few weeks ago (“What ever happened to Colonial football?” Aug. 26, p. 31), GW students have been deprived of body painting, heckling and tailgating since 1966.

I say, “Enough!” Obviously we are not getting a GW team anytime soon, so we may as well pick another school and adopt them as our own team. Seriously, what’s the harm in pretending? We’ll start watching their games, develop an attachment, pass it down through the classes and then the GW bookstore can start selling football sweatshirts for 75 bucks (they’ll buy them back with our books at the end of the year for $2.50).

The only real question is which team? To whom should we pledge our collegiate football allegiance? By following a few simple rules, hopefully I’ll have found a suitable school for GW football fans by the end of this column.

Born and raised in Milwaukee, the first rule in choosing any sports team is “The Brewers Rule.” I have been a lifelong, diehard Brewers fan though they have not had a winning season since 1992 and have not made a World Series appearance since 1982. Needless to say, being a Brewers fan is more painful than rewarding.

As a result, I believe that on those rare occasions when I can choose my favorite team, I should pick one that has some chance of winning in my lifetime. By no means do I intend to pick the best teams and only root for them when they are good (after all, I’m not from New York). I just want a team that could make a plausible championship run.

To escape my suffering from “The Brewers Rule,” we must choose from one of the six major conferences (or Notre Dame, who remains an independent); the Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Big 12, Pac-10, Big East and Notre Dame control the Bowl Championship Series. Only these teams can realistically win a national championship.

The next rule, vain as it may seem, is important. “The Colors Rule” is pretty self-explanatory. Frankly, I don’t want to wear ugly colors, and I’m guessing you don’t either. For instance, we are not picking Northwestern – I will not wear purple unless I absolutely must. I would never be characterized as a macho guy, but a group of football fans dressed in purple is just wrong. I only need to reference the Minnesota Vikings.

As a Wisconsin native I have learned that Vikings fans are a disturbed group of individuals and I have no doubt that wearing purple has negatively affected them on several levels for the last 40 years. It is my duty to prevent future GW students from the same fate.

For the third rule, that old real estate cliche “location, location, location” should come into play. After all, wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually attend a game during the season? The limit on distance depends primarily on the cost of getting there. I figure all it would take is $50 a person to rent some nice buses, get good food and buy cheap tickets. Therefore, if everyone gets his or her $50 “voluntary library donation” back from GW, we would be set.

(Can you imagine if GW ran the organ donation program? You would go in to have your tonsils removed, and they’d cut out your kidney, too. Then, without mentioning anything, you’d get the bill, and somewhere mixed in, it would say “voluntary kidney donation.”)

So assuming we would travel by bus, the Pac-10, Big Ten, Big 12 and Notre Dame are eliminated, as well as schools more than a day away.

On the flip side, we can’t pick a school too close, like Maryland. While we’re not technically rivals, there is an unspoken animosity between the D.C. schools and our neighbors in College Park. It’s hard to describe, but during the Final Four it just felt wrong to root for the Terps. Not only do I not “Fear the Turtle,” but for some inexplicable reason, I feel obliged to hate the Turtle. It’s there, and I can’t fight it. So Maryland is out, too.

We’re going to eliminate the SEC as rule four and I’ll tell you why. It is absolutely impossible to watch a SEC game without seeing numerous confederate flags in the stands and parking lot. I know all the fans don’t have them, but there are enough. To stand there and root for a black player while wearing or waving a flag that symbolizes their enslavement … well, it just boggles the mind. So I think we’re going to stay away from the SEC.

Now we’re left with the ACC and the Big East. Some interesting choices here. Since a large percentage of our student body is from New Jersey, Rutgers is an interesting choice. However, they’re the Scarlet Knights, (see color rule) and they stink (see Brewers rule).

Virginia Tech isn’t a bad choice. We’re close in proximity, and they’re a good team – until you consider rule five, the nickname rule. If we don’t know what the nickname stands for, they can’t be our team. The epitome of the nickname rule is a Hokie, so Virginia Tech is a no.

While we’d like to emulate Duke’s basketball program, their football team is worse than that John Mayer concert, which is saying a lot (for those of you who actually stayed until the end, was it just because you felt obligated after spending $19? Or were you just hoping the opening band was going to come back out and save the night?). Anyway, Duke is no good, and I’m rapidly running out of teams.

Pittsburgh may be my last option. They seem promising, with the same colors as GW, blue and gold, they’re an urban campus like GW and they’re not too bad. The glory days of Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett are long gone, but recently they’ve been competitive and there is really no reason to dislike them … but I just can’t get excited over rooting for the Pitt Panthers. My heart just isn’t in it.

So what have I accomplished here? Well, I angered people from New York, Evanston, Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia, Durham and the entire southeastern section of the continental United States, not to mention John Mayer fans. But still, no team.

I feel like this should have been easier. There are lots of good college football teams, so why couldn’t I find one? Maybe I’m just too picky. Maybe I’m just an idiot. Either way, I pose this question to any of you who actually read this. Write in, and tell us who GW football fans should root for. If it’s good, I’ll put it in my next column. If it’s great, maybe this campus will have a football team to root for on Saturdays.

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