The 2011 Carrier Classic was a smashing success, but the 2012 result was disastrous. [John W. McDonough/SI]
On the same day that Georgetown and Oregon were announced
as the teams in the second edition of the overseas Armed Forces Classic (location TBD), some bigger and more welcome news may have arrived.
Yahoo's Jeff Eisenberg writes Thursday afternoon that none of the parties involved in the staging (or attempted staging, or partial staging, or two-days-delayed staging) of last season's games have plans to hold a game this November on an aircraft carrier.
To that, I say: Thank heavens. Those games were a complete joke.
The college basketball community is always looking for creative ways to sell what's increasingly become a niche sport, with the national focus almost exclusive on March and the NCAA tournament. The initial Carrier Classic in 2011 provided some outstanding pictures and was a compelling one-time event, complete with a presidential appearance. The game itself was relatively poorly played, but that wasn't really the point.
Then, like with any other decent idea, too many people tried to immediately copy it, with farcical results. The weather in San Diego didn't cooperate at all, and Syracuse and San Diego State eventually played in gusting winds with blinding sun glare. Florida and Georgetown played a half of their game before it was canceled. Marquette and Ohio State never even started theirs.
These were all desirable early-season showdowns between top-25 caliber teams that were either compromised or not played at all. In a season where most teams play 31 regular-season games, losing one contest doesn't seem like a big deal, but when one more big win can have an impact on seeding (or selection) for the national championship, it matters a lot more than losing a buy game. The results of these games can impact location, seeding, matchups, etc.
I'm all for college hoops to continue to find ways to make the regular season more interesting (*cough*, Champions League, *cough*), but it should never be done at the expense of the integrity of competition. Instead of discussing matchups, we were debating the impact of the marine layer. So silly.
The Yahoo piece notes that boat games could make a return to the road, but maybe common sense will continue to prevail. It was fun once. It was a farce after that. To boat games, I say anchors aweigh. This ship has sailed.