Michigan and Ohio State. North Carolina and Duke. Texas and Oklahoma.
These sets of teams have one thing in common: They hate each other.
For schools with historic rivalries, the day the teams meet is the day that every player, fan and coach circles on their calendars.
But there was no mention of the big game against a bitter rival for the men’s basketball team during Colonials Invasion at Fort Myer military base Friday, and that’s because GW doesn’t really have one. It’s a shame there’s no team Colonials can collectively despise.
If the University and its athletic program want to increase the turnout for basketball games this season, the Colonials are going to need a new rival – a team all students can hate. It would give us a reason to rally.
For too long, we’ve assumed Georgetown is our rival. But let’s be honest. That just isn’t the case.
In fact, this season, the men’s basketball team is not scheduled to play Georgetown. The women’s basketball team will play the Hoyas at the Smith Center this season, but it has been several years since the men’s teams met.
We don’t really pose a threat. It’s not GW that will prevent Georgetown from making the NCAA Tournament this season or stop the Hoyas from nabbing the Big East Conference title. And the student section at Hoyas games is likely far more pumped up when their actual rival, Syracuse, comes to D.C.
In the past few years, GW has tried to create animosity with George Mason University by publicizing the two teams’ match up as the Battle of the Orange Line. Despite the University’s best efforts, this attempt at rivalry falls short because it’s out of conference play and there’s nothing really at stake for either team. Students and fans have no reason to care.
Proximity does not create a rivalry. And rather than attempt to rekindle this faux rivalry, GW must find a new opponent.
Who should we hate instead?
University of Dayton.
Think about it. Last year, the Flyers ended the Colonials’ hopes of tournament play after beating us in the first round of the A-10 tournament. This season, the Colonials have something to prove. We need to send the message that we’re not just some team the Flyers can steamroll.
But first we’d have to give them a reason to hate us. I mean really hate us. This wouldn’t be too hard though.
And for inspiration, just look to the USC rivalry with UCLA. Out in southern California, students spend the week leading up to the big football game by protecting their mascots from being vandalized.
In the same vein, Colonials fans could travel to Dayton and steal a trophy or even the head of the rivals’ mascot. It would be a declaration of war and would send the message to Dayton fans that GW is a team to be taken seriously.
Either way, the Flyers would have no choice but to respond. It could even be a part of the University’s rebranding campaign.
With our “What we make is history” slogan, we could add, “And who we hate is Dayton.”
It’s no secret the men’s basketball team has struggled in the past few years and that student turnout to games has dwindled. But a new rival would energize the team and its fans at a time when student interest is low.
We need a common enemy, or at least someone to shout at when the stakes are high and the game is on the line.
Benjamin Krimmel, a junior majoring in international affairs, is a Hatchet columnist.