The Full Nelson: We may be bad, but this bad?

I have good news and I have bad news, which do you want first? The good news? GW made the top 200 in Sports Illustrated’s rankings of “America’s Best Sports Colleges” in its Oct. 7 issue. The issue ranked all 324 Division I schools with the top 200 in numerical order and the remaining 124 in alphabetical order. That’s the good news.

The bad news? We were ranked 185. That’s right, 1- 8- 5. The top two were Texas and Stanford universities, which I can handle because I don’t want to go to either of those schools anyway. Only people born in Texas should attend Texas. People from other parts of the country just sound stupid yelling “hook ’em horns.” And we could have all gone to Stanford if we wanted to. We just don’t like trimesters. Am I right?

But 185? There are 184 better sports colleges than G-dub? That just hurts. And can I tell you some of the schools ahead of us?

How about Loyola College? No, not Loyola Marymount of Hank Gathers basketball fame, Loyola College, a small school in Maryland. I thought we might have been severely hurt in the rankings because we don’t have a football team but Loyola College doesn’t have a football team either. And they were 165.

Here’s a doozy. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Huh? Cal Poly San Luis Obispo? Yep, they were 153. John Madden’s alma mater, apparently. Please tell me he bought Cal’s way on this list. Please tell me Cal Poly San Luis Obispo doesn’t even exist. Please tell me that Stephen Joel Trachtenberg just read that we are behind Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and the shock caused him to drop the sacks of money he just finished counting.

Everyone should know we are behind 24th-ranked Maryland, but the University of Maryland- Baltimore County? Yes, the Retrievers are ranked 147, and according to SI, they are the “perennial No. 1 sports school in the Northeast Conference.” The perennial number 1 in the Northeast Conference? Woopdie friggin’ doo. Isn’t that like being named the girl with the most class from an episode of Elimidate?

Liberty University ranks 97 on the list with the three-line explanation beginning, “Jerry Falwell-founded Virginia school made women’s hoops NCAA’s .” Read that again . just the first part. Yes . you read it right. Jerry Falwell, leader of the Christian Right, founded an institution of higher learning in the United States of America, and is current its chancellor. This is the scariest thing I have ever read in my entire life.

I went to the Liberty Web site to make sure it was actually true, and it is. Just for kicks, I checked out an application. Under the section “background information,” the first four questions are 1) Name of church you attend 2) Denomination 3) Pastor and 4) Church Address. I swear to you, that is what it says. You can check for yourself.

You may remember after September 11, Jerry Falwell said that God let that day’s tragedy happen because of gays and feminism. Feminism, you say? Well, the Liberty women’s basketball team made the NCAA tournament. Well, well, well . looks like you’re partly to blame Jerry. Letting women participate in athletics . and be good, no less. How could you Jerry? How could you?

The most troublesome part of this Liberty thing is that their athletics are ahead of ours by 88 spots. How can this be? Jerry would say there are too many Jews here, but I need some real answers. They were founded in 1971. We were founded in 1821. We had a 150-year head start! And we’re 88 spots behind!

In case you were wondering, Georgetown ranked above us at 88, as expected. But American ranks 141. Apparently SI doesn’t understand the D.C. pecking order. Georgetown looks down their noses at us. We look down our noses at American. So what happened here? I’ll have to make some phone calls.

Perhaps even more embarrassing is the graduation cap symbol next to American’s name, representing a graduation rate of 67 percent or higher for that school’s athletes. Georgetown has a cap. American has a cap. GW does not have a cap. Thanks a lot, VAL BROWN (Liberty doesn’t have the cap, either. So that makes me feel a little better.).

Of the schools that play basketball in the Atlantic 10, Xavier (101), Richmond (111), Massachusetts (123), Temple (143) and Dayton (158) all rank ahead of GW, with UMass named “Best in Conference” for the A-10. Duquense, Fordham, La Salle, Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure and St. Joseph’s were all grouped in the 124 schools that weren’t even ranked so I guess we are not at the bottom of our conference. But 185 overall? 1 – 8 – 5?

Clearly this list shows we need a football team. But the company line is that we don’t have room for a field. President Trachtenberg – instead of buying up hotel after hotel for dorms, use that money to buy the National Mall, and build a field there. Notre Dame has Touchdown Jesus behind their stadium. With a little creative remodeling, we could have Touchdown Lincoln.

So what to do? Here’s my plan. GW gets so caught up each year in making the U.S. News and World Report top 50 academic schools, and every year, we come up short. “Second tier,” we’re called.

(While I’m on this, I can understand GW missing out on the top 50 academic schools. But how in the world don’t we make the Best Values list? C’mon U.S News and World Report. Get your act together.)

Because we can’t seem to crack the top 50 academic schools, I say we go after the top 50 sports schools. Instead of using our tuition dollars for townhouse row, let’s throw money at star prep athletes. Half the kids around here drive Beamers anyway; who will notice if the athletes do, too?

The possibilities are limitless. Right now I write for a sports section that covers the 185th best program in the country. According to Sports Illustrated, I would be moving up one market if I transferred to Southwest Texas. I need help. I’d never survive in Southwest Texas.

GW, let’s forget U.S. News and World Report. We need to focus on the Sports Illustrated Top 50. It may seem unrealistic, but with some budget changes, I think it could happen. And at the very least, we need to catch Liberty. It’s Jerry Falwell, for goodness sake! We can’t lose to Jerry Falwell.

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