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Potomac River Battle of the George Schools on Orange Line

The Battle of Georges, the Potomac River Shootout, the ax vs. the ‘fax, Outrage on the Orange Line, the mid-season NIT, no matter what you call it, local mid-majors The George Washington University and George Mason University are taking to the hardwood tonight for their annual battle of the haves vs. the have nots to determine who is the third best college basketball team in the D.C. metro.  Both schools lack football programs, so to determine regional superiority for schools named for guys named George they will leave it to one non-conference basketball game; let’s have a look at tail of tape:

Namesake: George Washington vs. George Mason

Both were slaveholders and founding fathers, but despite leaving the world broke, George “The Gentleman Farmer” Washington was the father of the country and and that is a far bigger title than George Mason’s shared title of the Father of the Bill Rights with other regional university namesake James Madison.

Advantage: GW           

Mascot: Colonials vs. Patriots

While both are mascots are sure to be misspelled on Tea Party protest signs, the Patriot reigns far supreme in striking fear into the red coats.  A Patriot connotes drums, a fife and a gun while a Colonial brings to mind images of bonnets, candles and doing your laundry on a rock.

Advantage: Mason

Friends of Mine: Sarah Mathews vs. Travis Valentine

Travis is a loyal good friend who is a proud George Mason alumnus who kind of resembles Prince Harry, however Sarah Mathews, a GW graduate is very attractive and has dated me for two and half years.  Sarah bought me GW season tickets last season for Christmas, and Travis bought a George Mason hat for himself after the Final Four in 2008.

Advantage: GW

Colors: Buff and Blue vs. Green and Gold

Both color schemes achieve a wonderful combination of both being contrasting and alliterative.  But the question remains, what the heck is buff? Are you trying to create alliteration or are you just trying to be elitist by coming up with a fancy color like that other school down M Street did with their mascot the Hoya?

Advantage: Mason

Fans: Colonial Army vs. Green Machine

This will be one of the last games the Colonial Army makes it out to before finals and it is questionable how well they will travel considering they don’t turn out after Christmas break.  The Green Machine of George Mason overtook a large portion of the Charles E. Smith Center for last season’s contest and don’t subject themselves to the same academic pressures as GW students do, you can assume that they will be there through the CAA championship game.

Advantage: Mason

Alumni: Red Auerbach, Scott Wolf, and Colin Powell vs. Gabe Norwood, Chad Dukes and Karl Rove

This one is as easy as the Celtics dynasty, Party of Five, and the first gulf war vs. Pilipino professional basketball, WJFK and the Valarie Plame affair.  Dukes might be the only thing working in favor of the Mason Nation on this one.

Advantage: GW 

Coaches: Karl Hobbs vs. James Larranaga

Hobbs is definitely and up and coming head coach and will soon make his way on to the national stage.  While I applaud Coach Hobbs’ animated sideline style, Larranaga’s Norman Dale style press conferences during Mason’s improbable NCAA tournament run in 2008 easily put him over the top, you can just imagine him asking Jai Lewis to put Jordan Carter on his shoulders to measure the rims in the RCA Dome.  Bonus point for the Dunkin Donuts commercials.

Advantage: Mason

Other people who have played in their gym: Bob Dylan, Jimmy Fallon and Virginia Slims women's professional tennis tournament vs. Muse, Seth Meyers and Disney on Ice

The schools have many contrasts, public vs. private, suburban vs. urban, Atlantic 10 vs. CAA; their gyms are no different.  The Charles E. Smith Center on the campus of The George Washington University is small and intimate while the Patriot Center is a larger multipurpose arena; therefore they have hosted different types of events other than basketball.  In order to break this down we have to look at each event individually.  Dylan vs. Muse: Push – Dylan is a legend well past his prime, Muse has the potential to be the next great band and are on their way up.  Fallon vs. Meyers: Meyers – Seth Meyers, a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, is the best solo Weekend Update host in 30 years, Fallon couldn’t keep a straight face and almost ruined “More Cowbell.”  Virginia Slims Tennis vs. Disney on Ice: Disney – It would be easy to make a joke about women’s tennis being an exhibition or show like Disney on Ice, but I am bigger than that, and will just say that the Patriot Center wins because it has ice underneath the surface.

Advantage: Mason

Safety School for: Brown vs. Old Dominion

At last year’s game the Colonial Army taunted the Mason faithful that paid the $2.75 fare to come to Foggy Bottom with chants of “Safety School, Safety School, Safety School,” which got me thinking, both of these schools are safety schools Brown and Dartmouth for GW and ODU and Salisbury State for Mason.

Advantage: Push

Metro Station: Foggy Bottom vs. Vienna/Fairfax/GMU

As I prepare to go to this years’ installment in Fairfax, which involves a metro, a cab and Sherpa to get to, I reflect on how easy it was to hop on the metro from McPherson Square, go two stops, stop off at Lindy’s Red Lion for a burger and a couple beers before strolling down the street just before tipoff.

Advantage: GW

Tournament Appearances: GW’s Sweet 16 in 1993 vs. Mason Final Four in 2006

The Colonials made their improbable run behind head coach Mike Jarvis and fab frosh Yinka Dare in 1993 all the way to the sweet sixteen before being derailed by the fab five from Michigan.  11th seeded George Mason became America’s team in 2006 with their implausible trek to the Indianapolis and the Final Four with wins over Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State and a thrilling overtime victory over Connecticut before bowing out to Florida; it remained the biggest underdog story in history until Butler almost knocked off Duke last season.

Advantage: Butler

Final Score: GW 4, Mason 5 

On paper this one stacks up in favor of the Patriots, who are off to a 5-2 start and looking to avenge last years’ loss in the Capital City Classic to the Colonials who are out to a slow 2-3 start this season.  I will be heading out the Orange Line tonight for the game thanks to my friend Dan Schiffer and more importantly his season ticket holding parents who are on vacation and didn’t want their tickets to go to waste.  As an extra incentive it’s Folarin Cambell bobble head night.