Morning Jac: The Second Season is Here
Examining scores this season, it's an incontrovertible fact that surprises are waiting with each weekend and Wednesday (and Tuesday). It's certainly not a phenomenon unique to this spring, as the potential for upsets is a constant, and is what keeps us going to the games and checking scores. At a fundamental level, it's what drives the popularity of sports as a spectator pastime.
As it does every year, the upset is about to take on larger role in our sport.
The upsets in the regular season are titillating, and sometimes debilitating, but they are rarely terminal. No. 1 Tufts traveling to Endicott and dropping a one-goal game to the No. 18 Gulls will cost the Jumbos a couple of (unimportant) spots in the weekly poll and potentially a seed in the NCAA tournament, but was more of a wake-up call than anything.
Same holds true for Endicott's loss to a 3-6 Bowdoin team last night. It might temper some of the excitement in Beverly, but doesn't alter the fact that the Gulls are the overwhelming favorites to win the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Would a win over Bowdoin insulate Endicott a bit more for an at-large bid if they needed it? Sure, but Sean Quirk's team still controls its own destiny.
If No. 6 Michigan State shocks No. 1 Michigan this weekend in the MCLA, it will cause a tsunami of conjecture throughout the association, but the impact of the result itself will be a pebble thrown in the ocean in the grand scheme of the non-varsity season. The Wolverines will still be the top seed in the tournament and massive favorites to win it all.
It all changes this month, and it starts this weekend with the advent of the first conference tournaments. Granted, the impact of Conference Carolinas and Deep South Conference tournaments are minimal -- there are no automatic qualifiers in Division II -- but these two leagues inaugurate the playoff season that gives 'the upset' a special place in our hearts.
Now a semifinal loss can keep a contending coach from sleeping for two weeks. An upset in a championship game can have a ripple effect through other conferences, and even regions. Teams once thought to be locks can find themselves barely on the bubble.
For my money, the conference tournament races are the best time of year. I, for one, am ready for it to begin.
Best & Worst
Best part about today: Speaking of upsets, how about Florida women's win over Northwestern? No fun for the Wildcats, but it's nice to see that status quo shaken.
Worst part about today: After officiating four games last weekend, I'm off completely this weekend. It was nice to get out and run around.