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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tryhard Trophy

The Tryhard Trophy of the moment goes to the University of Connecticut.

The American Athletic Conference - né Big East - was left with the island of misfit teams following the last round of realignment. When teams share a conference affiliation but no history, geography or other cultural markers, sometimes dumb things happen. And the latest dumb thing is UConn erecting a rivalry trophy with Central Florida.

Find it odd? Funny, so does their "rival."

UConn and C. Florida have played a total of twice, both as conferencemates in the American. Their record is 1-1; last year UConn stunned the Knights who apparently forgot to board the plane to Connecticut, handing them what has to date been their only conference loss in the American. Perhaps that win was why they started with Central Florida. I have to believe the conversation went something like this.

"Alright, youse guys, we need a rivalry game to get this fanbase fired up. Who ya got?"
"How about Boston College?"
*all glare, speaker shrinks in his chair*
"Hey, how about Central Florida, they were conference co-champs last year, and champs the year before. And we beat 'em!"
"I like it! What do we call it?"
"We're from the north, they're from the south, how about 'The Civil War?'"
"Whoawhoawhoa. You can just throw the word 'war' around in times like these. Besides, that name's already taken. But I like where you're head's at. What else?"
*pulls out thesaurus*
"How about 'Civil Conflict?'"
"I like it! It says 'we got beef' cuz it's a conflict. But it says 'cool it with the nonsense,' cuz we're civil, so maybe Warde won't get his tires slashed. Let's do it!"
"Hey, we just ordered participation trophies for my kid's little league team. Lemme see if they can work something up for us. We might get a discount."

And there you have it, the birth of a trophy game.

Except it's really, really dumb.

No seriously. I think UConn can find more of a reason for a rivalry with just about anyone else in the conference. There's at least a bit of conference longevity with USF and Cincinnati. With an ECU or Navy rivalry, you can at least play up the colonial or even nautical connection. Hell, play Houston for the George W. Bush trophy, at least that makes more sense than this. Frankly, your best bet may be lobbying for a soon-to-be-homeless UMass to join the conference and striking one up with them - it's even winnable. But if you're locked in with the idea of playing your rivalry game in Orlando every other year, fine. At least call a spade a spade and name it the Snowbird Trophy.

C'mon, Huskies. Even Central Florida's laughing at you.
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