Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The ACC, the Big 10, and their so-called "challenge."

Deadspin makes timely note of the fact that the yearly ACC-Big 10 Challenge has been, historically, a leetle beet one-sided. The ACC has won all eight of these mini-tourneys, compiling a sick ass 51-28 record going into this year's competition.

Notably, the only Big 10 team that's posted a winning record in the context of the Challenge has been Michigan State, who've gone 4-3. Of course, they manage that only because they never got to finish their 2001 game against Virginia. For some reason, that game was held at the Richmond Coliseum instead of University Hall, and the game was called because of one of the most insane fuck-ups in the history of collegiate athletics. The Coliseum is one of those multipurpose arenas that, at the time, hosted both basketball (VCU played there before the Siegel Center was built) and hockey (it's the home ice for the minor league Richmond Renegades).

The Coliseum is supposed to be staffed by professionals, but on the night UVa matched up against the Spartans, something went horribly wrong. I don't know what is entailed when it comes time to put the basketball court down over top of the hockey rink, but that night, something about the ice caused massive condensation to form on the court. The results were absurdly comic and, ultimately, deadly dangerous, as the towel crew began to lose their battle keeping the court dry. Slowly, as the game wore on, players just started slipping around, and as the conditions grew more unavoidable, the gameplay took on this surreal quality, with athletes conditioned to play hard and push themselves suddenly needing to step gingerly and slowly to avoid crazy-ass injuries.

When the game was finally called in the second half, it was hard to not feel relieved for both teams - it really was starting to look like someone was going to get hurt badly. Naturally, Virginia had been on a 12-0 run and had taken the lead. Since then, Virginia's by and large used the Challenge as the premiere venue for demonstrating our mastery of the Powerhouse That Is Northwestern, which we did again two nights ago, winning by 42 points. That's one thing we do consistently well, anyway!

By the way, the ACC is currently up on the Big Ten, five games to one.

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