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William C. Altreuter
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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Back in the 80's, when we were living in Brooklyn, the Columbia University Lions football team was mired in what was shaping up to be the longest losing streak in NCAA Division 1 history. Reasoning that it would be a shame to allow history to be made without witnessing it we started going up to Morningside Heights on Saturday mornings, where we found that losing teams resemble Tolstoy's unhappy families. It may be true that success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan, it is also true that there are a million ways to lose, and we got a good look at quite a few. Blowouts, squeakers, muffs, botches. Off days, trainwrecks, dumpster fires- we saw them all. After a while we even started going to road games, fearing that we might miss The Moment. We did see them set the record-- as I recall it was at a Princeton game, and Brooke Shields was in the stands, because she was dating the Princeton quarterback-- but we moved away before they won, in 1988.
That was my last college football exposure until yesterday, when I went to watch the University at Buffalo Bulls take on the Ohio University Bobcats. One of my students this semester is in the trombone section of the martching band, so I thought I'd go check it out, and it was kinda fun.


It was also kind of empty, which was sad. There weren't a lot of students at all. It is possible that they were all in the library, but somehow I doubt that. The stands seemed to be mostly full of older alumni, which is odd. UB hasn't had a football tradition for very long, so nobody around here is really in the habit of going to college football-- the argument that was made back when then UB President Bill Greiner decided that the school should go D1. 

It was a decent game. Ohio rolled down field on its first possesion, never establishing the run, but converting third downs with sharp looking passing, ending in a touchdown. The Bulls went three and out, but their punter pinned the Bobcats' returner on the ten yard line, and on the next play the Bulls DE intercepted an Ohio pass and ran the ball in for a score. It was never that close again, as Buffalo rolled to a 41-17 win, including another pick six.



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