Monday, January 12, 2009

Good Cal or bad? Find out Wednesday

When reviewing Cal's results for this season, it's hard to get past Game #1 on the schedule. Here's how it reads: 11/22/08 @Lake Erie L 46-50. That's the same Lake Erie that:
  • Gannon has already hammered twice, by 20 and 26 points
  • went 0-2 in their own Lake Erie Tip-Off Classic, falling to Alderson-Broaddus and Point Park
  • has other losses to Goshen and Grace (sounds like a couple from Albion celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary)
  • is 5-14 this season with its only wins over Malone, Ohio Dominican, Cincinnati Christian, Brock, and ... Cal U.

Cal must be gawd-awful, right? Not so fast. To give the Vulcans credit, they did rebound to beat Lake Erie by 9 last week. Plus they were 2-2 in their PSAC East crossover games, with respectable wins over Cheney and Shippensburg and close losses at West Chester (by 1) and at Millersville (by 6). The Rams just beat #21 Mercyhurst -- it still hurts to say that -- and the Marauders just took the Lakers to OT in Erie.

I'm not even going to attempt to predict which Cal team will show up against Gannon Wednesday night. But I can predict how many fans will show up: very few. Cal used to be a powerhouse and a big draw, but apparently those days are way behind them. In 5 home games this year, they've drawn only 926 fans, an average of 185 humans per contest.

If you are a longtime Gannon fan, you might recall these names from great Cal teams of the past: Kenny Toomer, Dana Zajicek, Ray Gutierrez, and Coach Jim Boone. In the 1988 NCAA East Regional Final, Gannon thumped Cal, 93-75, in front of a noisy Audi crowd. The Vulcans exacted revenge in the 1994 NCAA's at Cal, banking in a running one-hander just before the buzzer to pull out a 65-64 victory over Bob Dukiet's scrappy Knights.

I know Cal had more than 185 people at the home game, and I think at least that many traveled to Erie 21 years ago. You have to give Gannon fans credit for showing up year-in and year-out. Even when stinky Lake Erie arrived one weekday evening in a snowstorm this season, over 600 Knight fans were in attendance.

1 comment:

  1. The 1988 California edition that traveled to Erie for the NCAA's also featured the best pep band that I've ever seen at the Hammermill Center. Their rendition of Chariots of Fire when the team came out for warm-ups was excellent.

    GU used to have a decent pep band decades ago, but nowhere the level of Cal. Their quantity and quality dropped off the map in recent years.