The Colonials are feeling the consequence of playing eight of its 13 regular season games in Moon Township in 2013. A five-game home slate is a painful way to romp through existence, but the situation isn't all bad: Half of Robert Morris' Northeast Conference games are on its home field, an especially important fact as the three teams it will host just outside of Pittsburgh -- St. Joseph's, Sacred Heart, and Bryant -- all must make long road trips to face the Colonials. On the whole, this is a manageable scenario even if does mean that Bobby Mo is going to watch lots of bad movies in cramped quarters throughout the spring.
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
April 12: @Notre Dame
This is purely stylistic dissonance: Drew McMinn wants the Colonials to play like a particle accelerator, bending physics in their favor; the Irish have an established identity build on pragmatism and dictating results through trench warfare. Robert Morris is likely going to enter this game as a heavy underdog and is going to need a lot of nonsense to work in their favor to drop what should be a top 10 team on the road, but simply watching the Colonials and Irish attempt to impose their preferred styles of play on each other is going to be an interesting flashpoint of human endeavor.
I See You
March 1: @Drexel; April 2: @Maryland; April 12: @Notre Dame
Robert Morris' last big win against a nationally-elite team came in 2011 when the Colonials beat Bucknell, a 7-5 victory for Bobby Mo (the Bison were ranked 17/18 at the time that the two teams would meet, but Bucknell would finish the season ranked 9/7). Since that time, Bobby Mo has competed well against strong competition -- the victory in 2012 against Ohio State on the road was a nice win, but that Buckeyes team was on the edges of being a top 20 team -- but hasn't bag a trophy kill since its defeat of Bucknell. 2014 provides the Colonials with three opportunities to assert itself in a notable capacity: Three road trips against teams with top 15-type ceilings (some higher) are on the agenda for Robert Morris, opportunities to show the nation that Bobby Mo is more than a colorful brushstroke on Division I lacrosse's canvas.
The Path to Salvation
March 9: St. Joseph's; March 15: @Hobart; March 25: @Mount St. Mary's; March 29: Sacred Heart; April 5: @Wagner; April 19: Bryant
Bobby Mo hasn't taken advantage of the Northeast Conference since the league earned an automatic invitation to the NCAA Tournament starting with the 2012 season: In 2012, the Colonials went unbeaten in regular season conference play but fell to a decidedly average Mount St. Mary's team in the tournament semifinals (Robert Morris had, just a few weeks prior, beaten the Mountaineers by three goals); in 2013, the Colonials -- in rebuilding mode -- went 3-2 in the league regular season (with an odd loss to Sacred Heart) and fell to Bryant -- an average team that improved as the season progressed -- in the tournament final. For Bobby Mo to take the next step in its progression -- a trip to The Big Barbecue -- the Colonials need to take care of its business in league play, especially in the conference tournament. This is often the most difficult thing for a program to accomplish, but Robert Morris is as capable as any program in the NEC to make that move.