I kind of want one line Kevin Warne's Twitter bio to be engraved onto my headstone: "Don't talk about the labor, just show me the baby!!!" (Except I'd want the phrase on my headstone with only one exclamation point. I'm a one exclamation point kind of guy, even in this extra exclamation point Internet universe that I inhabit and ruin on a daily basis.) That's kind of thing about Georgetown this season, right? Folks aren't going to care that it's Warne's first season or that the schedule is littered with difficult spots or that the talent on The Hilltop is/isn't where it should be; all that matters is that Georgetown -- having received its lifting to the national elite under Dave Urick, earning its first (and only) Championship Weekend appearance in 1999 -- needs to become a legitimate contender in the Big East (and wherever the program ultimately ends up after all of this conference realignment).
That's a hard spot to operate in, balancing internal and external pressures simultaneously. The Hoyas have a chance to surprise some folks this season after a fairly pedestrian effort in 2012, but it's ultimately up to Georgetown as to where they go in 2013.
Let's rip this to pieces.
Break Out the Boom
March 20: Loyola; March 23: @ Duke; April 14: @ Notre Dame
Anything is possible, I suppose; upsets -- given the growth of many programs around the country -- have become more and more prominent over the last few years, noted especially in UMBC's defeat of Maryland in 2012. I don't know right now whether the Hoyas have it in them to drop any of these three teams in late-March and mid-April -- this is a program that is coming off a season in which things kind of went in the opposite direction, seeing Georgetown nearly lose to a horrible Providence team and struggle against a bad Rutgers squad -- but this I do know: If there's a guy on the sideline that is going to scrap and fight and grab a win where one probably doesn't belong, Warne has all the traits to make that happen. These are three of the strongest six or so teams in the country entering the spring, and where the Hoyas will see them -- when they should be hitting their stride, preparing for a May run -- makes the task even more difficult for a Georgetown team that is expected to sit right around the dead center of the country in terms of performance.
But, again, anything is possible. At the least, these games will provide everyone the opportunity to see just how far the Hoyas need to go to move back to their former position within the nation's elite.
Fighting for Inches
February 24: Navy; March 8: @ Harvard; March 12: @ Mount St. Mary's; April 3: Villanova; April 6: v. St. John's; April 20: Syracuse
I haven't run a detailed projection analysis on the 2013 season, but it's a pretty safe bet that these six schools will all start somewhere between five-to-ten spots -- behind or ahead -- of where Georgetown will begin the season in terms of performance rankings. It's these games -- games against relatively competitive equals -- that drives the momentum and face of a season: Drop these games and there are questions as to the volition of the program and where it should find itself in the college lacrosse hierarchy; win these games and the buzz starts to build, potentially leading to greater results. Georgetown has been violently uneven in these kind of contests over the last two years, trading solid wins -- Syracuse (2012), Harvard (2012), Villanova (2011), and Mount St. Mary's (2011 and 2012) -- with hurtful losses -- Harvard (2011), Loyola (2011), Yale (2011), Villanova (2012), and St. John's (2012). It's that duplicity that has made Georgetown so frustrating to follow over the last two seasons, the Hoyas being continually unsure of what they want to be and what they're capable of. A better showing in these kinds of games will go a long way to proving that Warne has everything under control.
February 16: Lafayette; March 2: v. Dartmouth; March 16: Providence; March 29: Marquette; April 27: @ Rutgers
Georgetown should enter these games as favorites, but I'll mitigate that assumption with this: As above, anything can -- and sometimes does -- happen. Dartmouth and Rutgers look like the most potent opportunities for something to go sideways, and the Hoyas will need to keep their heads on a swivel.