What would Comic Book Guy think, if he was a Hofstra grad?
“This is the worst ten dollars I’ve ever spent,” my wife said sometime in the second quarter Saturday as we huddled underneath an umbrella that was too small to shield us both and too wet to be of much help anyway. Someday someone is going to invent an umbrella that either absorbs all the water it collects without becoming too heavy or dispenses it so that it makes everyone else around you wet instead of dripping on your legs and making you even colder. Sure it might annoy my neighbors, but hey, more room for me.
Where was I? Oh yes. I think her words were an example of this, because I know she spent 10 dollars in far worse ways on campus in the mid-90s. I’m sure she consumed rock-hard Hofstra burgers older than the Bits and Bytes cats. And I remember ordering one truly awful meal from Campus Pizza that turned us off that otherwise sensational restaurant.
But in the context of the moment, I really couldn’t blame her. It was cold, it was wet—thanks again, local weathermen, for your super awesome accurate forecast; I guess when you said “50% chance of rain” you left off the second zero, or meant a 50% chance that we wouldn’t be able to get home without an ark, keep up the good work!—and the Flying Dutchmen football team was just getting hammered by Richmond. I mean, there-should-be-a-mercy-rule hammered. I mean, Tex Cobb-by-Larry Holmes hammered.
At halftime, Richmond running back Josh Vaughan—who played last season behind new Cardinals starting running back Tim Hightower—had 166 yards rushing. Hofstra had 71 yards. Total.
It got a little better in the second half, when Hofstra scored a pair of touchdowns without us in attendance to turn a potentially historic bludgeoning into a mere 34-14 rout. (The link is from Newsday, here’s the recap from the Richmond Times-Dispatch) But it was still the fourth straight loss for the Flying Dutchmen, the third straight by at least 17 points and the latest bit of evidence that this is shaping up as one of the worst seasons in the 68-year history of the program.
The current skid is only the third time the Flying Dutchmen have lost at least three consecutive games by 17 or more points. The 1974 team lost four in a row by at least that margin on its way to a 1-9-1 finish, a mere 25 years after the 1949 club lost three in a row by at least 17 points during a 1-5-1 season.
Of course, upgrades to the program and the caliber of competition make it impossible to compare 2008 to 1974 or 1949 or even 1981, when the Dutchmen lost four in a row by at least 14 points. Nor can we hold this team to the standard of the peak Gardi-era teams, because those years are gone and may never return.
But we can compare this team to some recent editions—like the 2003 team, which went 2-10 but lost four games by a touchdown or less. The Dutchmen lost 23 games between 2004 and 2007, but only five by 17 or more. The 2006 team went 2-9 and lost its last seven games—but none by more than 11 points and only two by more than seven points.
Is this year’s lack of competitiveness a result of a perfect storm of inexperience and injury? If so, maybe Saturday was rock bottom. Newsday reports Dave Cohen will return next season, much to the chagrin of the angry fans who want Hofstra to fire him, and Cohen sounded embarrassed by how Richmond dwarfed the Dutchmen in all facets of the game.
But what if the 4-11 record since a 6-0 start last year the sign of something worse—symbolic of the continued decline of a program that was never a moneymaker even during its prime years but one whose standing within the athletic department never waned with a school president and athletic director who played for the program?
We won’t begin to find out until next year. In the meantime, take solace in two things: Four days until basketball starts. And no matter how bad the football team is faring, it’s still better off than Iona!
Email Jerry at firstname.lastname@example.org.