It used to be that the biggest thing in Central New York -- other than salt potatoes, Rochester garbage plates, and losing your job -- was Syracuse-Hobart. And we liked it, dammit! People would get into their automobiles (or, if you were from the North Country, into your boat and wonder why it won't work on land) and drive to the Carrier Dome or The Boz and watch Division III's best against one of Division I's stallions.
Then Dave Urick left the Statesmen and Dave Pietramala ended up at Cornell and Central New York lost its collective minds. Hobart receded a bit in its move to Division I while Cornell -- a bit of a tire fire before Pietramala showed up in 1998 -- started to move back to the position it was in among the national elite during the 1970's and 1980's.
And, of course, Syracuse did what Syracuse does: fist smash.
A weird thing happened in 2000, though. The Big Red hadn't beaten the Orange since the 1987 NCAA Tournament but a cold, rainy, and generally miserable day in Ithaca, New York, totally changed the tenor of the series between the two schools: In a 13-12 victory, Cornell erased over a decade of futility against their rivals from up I-81. It was the flash point for what has become the region's best rivalry and also a marker of my personal stupidity: As a young Syracuse collegian, I had painted myself from noggin to belt in orange and blue paint; I was sick for days afterwards due to the weather and spent weeks trying to get paint out of the seats of my car. (Scholar-Athlete Supporter.)
Here's the full schedule for tonight:.
Leave your comments about the game or anything else (QUERY: Who's excited for the New Jersey lacrosse war in Princeton tonight? (Nobody, that's who.)) in the comments below.