Good morning West Coasties. I was mourning the loss of the seniors and taking a stroll down this past season’s memory lane when I ended up on Concordia’s website and low and behold, what was waiting for me there?

THE SCHEDULE + TRAVEL PARTNER ASSIGNMENTS. Which is only something that’s been obsessed about since last year, so you know, no big deal.

As suspected:

WOU/Concordia is now a thing and Saint Martin’s/SPU is now a thing, with teams playing MSUB during their respective travel partner weeks. This means that MSUB gets to have a super, super, super fun role now. Not that it wasn’t fun being a Yellowjacket before.

Personally, I love the Jackets. There’s an anecdote from reaaally early in the life of this blog about how I fully expected them to beat SPU on the Falcons’ senior night, my senior year, and they did it in OT and I was ridiculously proud of them and very happy they won. I may or may not have been running around yelling “I NEVER HAVE TO SET FOOT IN [the SPU gym] AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Before high-fiving most of the MSUB team. Good times.

All that being said: MSUB goes up and down a fair bit, largely due to the frequently discussed attrition problems they have. It’ll be interesting, because it was also discussed that there’s rarely a terrible week; usually there’s one difficult game, and then one highly winnable game.

UAA/UAF is always brutal on the road.
WWU/SFU should be fine.
SPU/SMU should be fine; this year should be easier than most because the Falcons have less than normal and the Saints return good underclassmen, but we’re talking sophomores. One more gush: The Saints sophomores make me so happy, I cannot wait to see them play this year.
CWU/NNU is usually fine; with the loss of Erik Kinney and Alex Birketoft, NNU shouldn’t be nearly as hard to beat as they were last year.
WOU/CU-P is gonna most likely be brutal. We’ll talk about Concordia more soon and the advantages and disadvantages they have, but… tentatively unpleasant. Figure CWU/NNU from this year on the regular -one will be likely in the conference tournament, the other will be a sure thing.

Around here we believe that anything can happen in a rivalry game, but travel partner week and rivalry week is different in the GNAC, and so in a lot of cases in the GNAC, that doesn’t hold.

UAA/UAF the teams are usually really well matched, so MSUB in addition is gonna suck most of the time.
WWU/SFU should be just fine.
SPU/SMU is actually terrible for both; MSUB and SMU usually match-up pretty well, and then SPU has developed a rivalry with MSUB in the last few years and so if one develops in addition with SMU, the Falcons could have a rough go of it.
CWU/NNU got the flames flaring this year and actually kind of became “real” rivals in a sense (although yes: WWU is your rival, Wildcats, got it) so that should be interesting.

Just because we’re talking about it, GNAC rivalries for those that aren’t aware:

UAA/WOU -Rivalish because both are tier 2 teams and Brian McGill transferred from one to the other.
UAF/WWU -WWU has a really, really hard time winning at Fairbanks.
WWU/CWU -the premier GNAC rivalry.
SPU/WWU -Goliaths, although usually forced to root for one another when not playing due to SOS.
SPU/CWU -Blood is regularly involved, no joke, these games get dirty.

SFU, MSUB, and NNU all have rivalries that are closer geographically that they tend to have their big games against. WOU is a football school and so it’s complicated. Really excited to see them and CU-P hopefully develop a good basketball rivalry. That would be cool.

Thinking about it further, SPU/WWU seems like a stretch as a rivalry; it’s a really recent one because WWU got rid of football in 2010, the same year that Seattle U. left for division one, meaning both schools lost their traditional rivals. WWU and CWU definitely still cling to each other and SPU clings to the WWU rivalry just because there hasn’t really been one to replace Seattle U. yet, and both SPU and WWU have been really good lately so it’s easy to get into a mutually beneficial rivalry.

Still, WOU/SPU could develop. SPU/SMU could develop. MSUB/SPU could continue to cultivate. It all depends on who gets good and can stay good, and again: this is a prime year for wounds to begin festering.

We can’t wait.

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