Getting you ready for the 2012 college lacrosse season. What, the season already started? Drats.
There's something magical about the abysmal. Hell, Edgar Allen Poe built a career on the macabre and pallid, so there's certainly a market for tales of the horrible. Granted, Poe lived a life of poverty and died penniless, stricken throughout most of his existence with alcoholism and a marriage to his cousin (who was 13 when they got hitched).
But, he sure sold a lot of free e-reader books while stuck in the ground. So, that's something.
This, I think, is why I have such affection for the absolute dregs of Division I men's lacrosse. It's not that these schools aren't trying -- they are (I think) -- it's just that they're so interestingly terrible. Lacrosse has never been as popular as it is right now, churning out more and more players each year; yet, there are still clubs that couldn't win if you spotted them six goals and made their opponents play in Rascal scooters.
It's for these reasons that College Crosse gives out the Wagner Cup and crowns a Reverse Survivor champion each year. The former honor goes to the absolute worst team in Division I lacrosse; the most tired of the tired, the most impoverished the poor, the most ass-reddened of the summarily beaten. The latter award is bestowed upon the last team to win a regular season Division I game, if at all. Wagner, in pure "no doink" fashion, was the 2011 Wagner Cup champion while also sharing Reverse Survivor honors with St. Joseph's. They both had awesomely terrible seasons and were worthy honorees.
This season, there look to be five teams that have a legitimate shot at one or both honors: Wagner, St. Joseph's, VMI, Mercer, and Holy Cross.* Providence is an interesting darkhorse in the race, but we'll put just the aforementioned five on the early-season watch list. What's especially fun about the races this year is that there are seven (!!!) regular season games pitting one of these clubs against each other. This makes me extremely happy.
Here's your games of note in case you want to hang them on your refrigerator or something:
- St. Joseph's at VMI: February 25, 2012. #shotsfired
- St. Joseph's at Wagner: March 3, 2012. Somebody is breaking their winless streak. Unless, of course, there is an awesome outbreak of robot violence in Staten Island that day that forces cancellation of the game.
- Mercer at Holy Cross: March 6, 2012. Holy Cross is the favorite here, but Reverse Survivor and Wagner Cup don't cotton to betting lines.
- Wagner at VMI: March 13, 2012. Do you smell that? Yup, it smells like accidental victory.
- Wagner at Mercer: March 16, 2012. Outside of Michigan-Mercer, this may be the worst game played in Division I this year. I can't wait.
- Mercer at VMI: April 14, 2012. The winner of this takes home honors comparable to being named "Skinniest" at The National Obesity Competition.
- St. Joseph's at VMI: April 21, 2012. Just dreadful.
I wish all the competitors the worst possible luck in their quest for horribleness.
* Michigan, as a first-year program, is ineligible for either award. Mercer, as a second-year program, is only eligible for Reverse Survivor honors. Even I have a heart about this stuff.