Sept. 30, 2011
GoRhody.com Senior Staff Writer
Throughout the course of a college football season, heated and intense rivalries exist that - unfortunately for both fans and players - can only be revisited one time each year.
"You're playing for the Governor's Cup, and in terms of importance to the school, this is as big as it gets. It's such a great rivalry, I don't know if there's a better one in the country. I don't know if it's because of the proximity of the schools but this is certainly one of the more heated rivalries between two great programs."
Rhody head coach Joe Trainer on the URI/Brown rivalry
In the state of Rhode Island - and with the players and coaches most directly involved - the rivalry that exists on the gridiron between Brown and Rhode Island is no different than the aforementioned. While performing under the confines of the country's smallest state, URI and Brown put on perhaps the biggest show of the year for college football fans living in the 401.
Fortunately for such fans, this passionate and storied rivalry will be revisited tomorrow night under the lights at Brown Stadium.
"You're playing for the Governor's Cup, and in terms of importance to the school, this is as big as it gets," head coach Joe Trainer said. "It's such a great rivalry, I don't know if there's a better one in the country. I don't know if it's because of the proximity of the schools but this is certainly one of the more heated rivalries between two great programs."
"When Rhode Island and Brown come to play, they come to play," Brown head coach Phil Estes added. "It isn't about the records of the past, it's all about the present and this is just going to be a terrific venue to play this game."
Saturday's game will kickoff at 6 p.m. and will mark just the second time Brown has hosted a night game. The first time came last year on September 25 in a game which saw the Bears host Harvard in front of 18,000 fans and pick up a 29-14 victory to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
"The atmosphere was terrific," Scott Cordischi, the voice of the Brown Bears said referring to last year's Brown-Harvard game during a press conference held at the State House Tuesday morning. "We expect the same type of excitement this year, and even more so. We're expecting a lot of Rhody fans to make their way up Route 95 for this game."
The Rams and Bears will meet for the 96th time Saturday, with Brown holding a 67-26-2 series advantage to this point. As Trainer was quick to point out, however, Rhode Island has won 16 of the last 29 games, all of which were played for the covenant Governors Cup Trophy.
"We're hoping to make it two in a row," Trainer said, recalling the Rams overtime victory last season against the Bears. "There's just been a ton of parody the last 30 years, and certainly the last four games. It's just one of those games you leave records aside and it's going to be a heavyweight fight."
Rhody captain Willie McGinnis was there two years ago in Providence against the Bears when the Rams suffered what Trainer commonly refers to as Rhode Island's most disheartening loss during his tenure as head coach. The senior tackle was also a part of URI's overtime win last year against the Bears in front of the biggest crowd Mead Stadium has welcomed in 10 years.
"It'll be a great atmosphere under the lights," McGinnis said. "The spotlight is on you, you've had all day to think about it, you're amped up and just ready to go by the time you reach kickoff."
Despite his commitment to treating each game as the most important for the simple reason that it's the next one, even Trainer admitted he'd be lying to you if he said he, his staff and his players don't always keep the matchup against Brown in the back of their collective minds until the game has come and gone.
He went on to say that throughout the course of the year, he talks on the phone with countless alumni, and their last words to him are always, "Hey, Beat Brown." Tomorrow afternoon, Trainer will lead his Rams up north about 45 minutes to Providence with the intentions of pleasing the URI alums and continuing one of college football's best rivalries.
Matt Swiss is a senior journalism major at the University of Rhode Island. Follow him on Twitter at @mswissbeats.