If you haven't been following it closely, you might have missed the massive amount of hype surrounding Wednesday's GW-George Mason game, which some GW fans have dubbed "The Battle of the Orange Line," possibly marking the first Metro-themed all-local basketball matchup in my lifetime. See the video, above, from the GW Web site Beat George Mason, which very well could be the first Web site dedicated to the defeat of a CAA men's basketball program in my lifetime. Though, heck, I haven't actually searched for "GougeGeorgiaState.com" or "JiltJamesMadison.com," so what do I know?
(Other local Metro battles I'd like to see: Battle of the Red Line, between UDC and American. Battle of the Red Line Too, between UDC and Columbia Union. Battle of the Green Line, between Maryland and Howard. Battle of the Sort of Gree Line, between Maryland and Georgetown, which, after all, plays its home games right above the Green Line. Battle of the DC Circulator between Georgetown and GW. And Battle of the MARC Train Penn Line/VRE Commute between Loyola and Mary Washington.)
It'll be the first time in more than a decade these local Georges have met, and I'd argue that GW actually has more to play for. George Mason has been to the tournament more recently, has been to the Final Four more recently, and is consistently ranked ahead of GW in the Atlantic 11. They're the top mid-major in this market; George Washington might at least re-open the argument with a convincing showing on Wednesday. But here's the key point: George Mason students aren't starting any "Beat GW" Web sites. Always punch up, Colonial fans.
Regardless, this Orange Line tussle has also led to competing blog posts. Rob at the Foggy Bottom Blog notes that GW has hosted more sitting presidents at home games, and also that while George Mason "helped to write the Bill of Rights," George Washington "gave birth to an entire nation without so much as an epidural."
The George Mason Basketball Blog, on the other hand, goes straight nasty about BeatGeorgeMason.com:
Very cute. I'm glad George Mason is their superbowl for this season. It will be interesting to see how many George Mason fans are in attendance because I know plenty are buying up the tickets. Through all of GW's promoting there still seems to be a lot of tickets left for seats in that high school gym of theirs
Dang. As for the Beat George Mason thing, there are also bumper stickers, and a bunch of cars in Fairfax were stickered early this week. And then there's this quote from Nicole M. Early, GW's executive director of Sports Marketing in Creative Management, given to the GW Hatchet:
"There has been a huge human effort by students and staff to market the game with minimal expenditures. As intended, the campaign has gone viral and groups such as the Colonial Army and Student Association are making a major push to get students to the game. One GW student even launched a Facebook group with over 800 fans already posting their commitment to attend this rivalry game."
As to the rivalry, well, the Hatchet also reported this:
The rivalry between the two men's teams dates back to the days when the schools' namesakes were alive and molding the U.S. Constitution.
I'm not sure that's technically correct. I believe the rivalry dates to when the schools' namesakes were alive and building rival Orange Line Metro stations on either side of the Potomac. But either way, this thing is so on.
(George Mason responds to the GW video.)