Johns Hopkins-Maryland is probably college lacrosse's best rivalry -- there is little that tops the underlying aspects to Jays-Terps, with geography, institutional differences, and over a hundred years of heated competition underlying a series that operates at maximum capacity -- but Johns Hopkins-Syracuse may be the nation's most interesting rivalry:
- It embodies the old regional differences in lacrosse, pitting Central New York's most decorated program against the hyper-elite of the old Baltimore guard.
- It attempts to square Hopkins' "old money" lacrosse tradition -- dozens and dozens of conferred USILA national championships -- against Syracuse's "new money" lacrosse tradition -- almost a dozen NCAA national championships since 1983, the most titles won by a program in the modern era.
- The stylistic dichotomy between the two programs in how they want to go about their business on the lacrosse field -- Syracuse's warp-speed mentality groomed under Slugger Simmons and the grind-it-out, technically sound approach that Hopkins has traditionally taken -- makes the clashes between the schools a kind of high-functioning war game.
- There aren't two fanbases that are more sociopathic about their college lacrosse -- specifically, their team of preference as neither fanbase prefers to recognize that other college lacrosse programs exist except in instances of taking a boot to the face from their preferred team -- and the support that they show is above all others.
Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome should be another impressive chapter in the rivalry. ESPNU has the broadcast at 1:00, and a big crowd is expected in the bubble. Here's an infographic to get you ready for the game:
(Click to grow!)