Friday, October 12, 2007

Pre-Nats to Answer Questions

Pre-Nats are tomorrow. Obviously. For those keenly interested in NCAA cross country, it is a chance to sort things out, to get a sense of the pecking order, to see where the chips fall, to align all cosmic aspects of the universe. Who knew such grand things could take place in humble, smelly Terre Haute, Indiana not once but TWICE a year? There's been sniping that the configuration of teams in each race will merely rehash some matchups from earlier in the year. But clearly, these folks have been overlooking the fact that the meet organizers had a greater goal, answering, for once, for all, that age old trivia question: How many Division 1 schools have a nickname that neither ends in the letter 'S' nor includes a color, and WHICH ONE IS THE BEST AT CROSS COUNTRY? Predictions after the jump.

After Saturday, I will finally be able to sleep soundly, for
the stars have truly aligned for us. SIX of the very small handful of colorless, S-less D1 athletic teams will toe the line in the SAME race. How can you not be excited for this? It's at least as big of a deal as Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson teaming up to make a Starsky and Hutch movie. Blue race, your cup truly runneth over. Here is where I see the noble trailblazers of nicknamedom across our country shaking out after this weekend:

1. Stanford Cardinal - Cardinal period. Not a bunch of the birds.
2. NC State Wolfpack - A great name for a cross country team.
3. Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Why no backlash over this racist, racist name?
4. William & Mary Tribe - A classy institution, with the classiest of Indian-themed nicknames.
5. Syracuse Orangemen - Doesn't count as a color; it is the very essence of that little, round man.
6. Navy Midshipmen - Not at Pre-Nats, but they could hold their own there.
7. UMass Minutemen - Nobody likes a Minuteman. Probably why they're skipping Pre-Nats.
8. Illinois Fighting Illini - On this list only until PC lobbyists bring them to their knees.
9. Bucknell Bison - Also too cool for the Blue Race.
10. Georgia Tech Ramblin' Wreck - What's that you say? Yellow Jackets? Sorry, buster - that's their mascot.

So there you have it. It's really pretty staggering how good, on a regional and national level, most of these teams are. In other words, if you want to have a cross country powerhouse, you could hire a pied-piper coach. You could recruit a bunch of international studs. Or you could just lobby your Athletic Department to lop that S off the end of your school's nickname. Simple as that. Finally, by my calculations, there are just three other schools with D1 Cross to share this little quirk. Can anyone name them? Anyone? Bueller?

Oh, and Stanford doesn't really count because Cardinal IS a color. But I'm going to keep pretending otherwise.

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