Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PSU-EWU: Time to give a Dam?

Posted on Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 4:41 PM

College football is well-known for its storied rivalries: Ohio State-Michigan, Army-Navy, even goody-two-shoes like BYU-Utah get in on the fun. According to the media apparatuses at Eastern and Portland State, it's time to add one more name to that list.

Yes, that's right, in a frenzied fit of marketing, the two schools have announced the 2010-2011 Dam Cup, to be competed for in five different sports; soccer, volleyball, football, men's basketball and women's basketball.

The stated purpose of the Dam Cup is to "create a rivalry between Portland State University and Eastern Washington University and provide a sense of pride between alumni in the Portland and Spokane areas," according to the news release. Because nothing spells "artificial rivalry" like "inventing a trophy that holds no significance."

The Dam thing is named as such in honor of the four different dams (so naturally they would use five different sports) one passes on the drive between the two campuses. But how does one award a cup that involves five different sports? Why, by devaluing certain sports, of course. The breakdown is as follows:

Women's soccer (1 pt x 1 game) = 1 point
Volleyball (2 pts x 2 matches) = 4 points
Men's basketball (2 pts x 2 games) = 4 points
Women's basketball (2 pts x 2 games) = 4 points
Football (4 pts x 1 game) = 4 points

The winner will be whoever receives a majority (nine of a possible 17) during the course of the Dam competition period. For those of you following at home, you'll notice they made a foolproof formula — except soccer can end in ties, like the EWU-PSU game did last year. Though last year's scoring wound up at 10.5-6.5, all it would have taken was one EWU win in men's basketball to finish the Dam competition in a deadlock.

Ridiculous arbitrary point systems aside, there's also the arbitrary rivalry quotient of this Dam plan. Though the teams have faced off against each other on the gridiron 32 times (the first in 1968, a 19-13 PSU victory), they did not do so steadily until 1990. And call me an old-timey curmudgeon if you must (you damn kid, you), but a 20-year-history is not enough to warrant the creation of a trophy-bestowing series. Especially since PSU's men's basketball team has only existed continually since 1986.

Hey, Eastern? Isn't it bad enough we have to hear you constantly harp about your Redrum Stadium? Maybe you should let some of the Dam ephemera slide.

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