Column: Top dogs, at least for a day

By By Jared Sugerman, News Staff

Northeastern will host the Maine Black Bears Sept. 12 in a game that would generate greater fanfare if the players were carrying sticks and wearing skates.
‘ But the Winter Classic will not be coming to Parsons Field. Instead, the teams will don cleats and helmets to begin the battle for Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) supremacy.
‘ After a 2008 campaign that included only one CAA victory and a 2-10 record overall, Northeastern will be attempting, again, to establish itself as a contender in one of the College Football Championship Sub-Division’s most well-respected conferences. This year, they are predicted by league coaches to finish fifth in the six-team CAA north division, a shovel pass’s length ahead of lowly Rhode Island and a Hail Mary’s distance behind league powerhouse New Hampshire.
‘ As all of the returning Huskies (48 total, including 12 starters) attempted to recuperate after a 2008 season filled with bumps, bruises and 10 losses, they learned that their ballyhooed ‘new’ home may in fact be an old stadium in Franklin Park, no closer to campus than Parsons Field in Brookline.
‘ The Huskies will begin their new season Sept. 5 by traveling to Boston College’s Alumni Stadium, where they will compete against the Eagles for the first time since 1999. We should hope that this game is as competitive as their last contest, which the Eagles won 33-22. If, however, the game does become a joke at Northeastern’s expense, the punch-line will be written across the scoreboard on Chestnut Hill for all to read.
‘ The Northeastern Huskies and Boston College Eagles are football teams moving in different directions;’ the Eagles fly about the country in chartered planes, playing for an opportunity to land at the site of college football’s greatest game, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., or in New Orleans, site of the annual Sugar Bowl, or perhaps in Miami, where the Orange Bowl is played each January. On Sept. 19, the Eagles will be welcomed back to the Atlantic Coast Conference by 80,000 orange-clad locals in Clemson, S.C., committed to a fine display of southern hospitality. It will be an event imbued with the pomp and circumstance of Bowl Subdivision College Football, featuring choreographed cheers, marching bands and, of course, plenty of spirit. When the contest ends, the winner will be one step closer to a BCS bowl game.
‘ Meanwhile, the Huskies simply hope to ride their team bus away from Parsons Field, to a place where they might discover a bit of sustained success. Northeastern’s football program has fallen to depths beyond mediocrity and has continued to sink into that detestable hole called irrelevancy.
‘ But, Sept.5, they could begin to crawl upward and out of that dank pit dug through so many losing seasons. If Northeastern could triumph that day, it would send a tremor across New England’s football landscape, a seismographic wave that would register across the New England Sports Newtork Sportsdesk’s bottom line. It may not alter Boston’s college football hierarchy, but, for at least one day, the Huskies would be kings of Beantown.

‘- Jared Sugerman can be reached ‘

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