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The Great 21st Century Division 1 Football Tournament

(Empire region)


Welcome back to the world’s only all-inclusive Division 1 college football tournament. Today we’re going to determine the 6th participant in our Championship bracket, with the winner of the Empire region.


(For those new to this series, the full explanation [and West Coast region results] can be found here, but in a nutshell, it's a tournament that uses randomly-selected real-life 21st-century results between teams when possible, and simulated results when not. All other previously-completed regions can be found here.)


The Empire region consists of the teams from New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. There’s only 4 FBS teams in the region, and coincidentally they all ended up getting their own quadrant of our bracket, which came out thus:


*First Round results*

[2018 Cornell] 21

vs

[2018 Stony Brook] 24

(SIM) I don’t know who’s ducking whom, but this intrastate matchup has never been contested in real life. The Seawolves have the edge on the virtual gridiron.

[2008 Syracuse] 50

vs

[2008 Long Island-Post] 3

(SIM) Fun fact: Division-1 FCS Long Island-Brooklyn and D2 Long Island-Post merged into a single athletics program prior to the 2019 season, and any LIU-Post programs that LIU-Brooklyn didn’t sponsor (like football) got automatically bumped up to D1. Which is why Syracuse gets essentially a free pass, playing what was (at the time) the Division-2 Pioneers, who did not put up any level of fight.

[2005 Wagner] 0

vs

[2005 Army] 48

(SIM) Wagner coaching legend Walt Hameline was smart enough never to put in-state Army on the schedule, and virtual results like this indicate why that was a wise decision.

[2018 Princeton] 51

vs

[2018 Monmouth] 9

In the only-ever meeting of these two Garden State schools, Princeton is led by John Lovett (the guy currently getting a look with the Chiefs as a utilityman, not the podcaster) who throws for 332 yards and 5 TDs.

[2002 Columbia] 6

vs

[2002 Colgate] 38

The Raiders extended their winning streak over the Lions to 10 consecutive games with this 2002 drubbing, which is maybe why these teams haven’t faced each other since then.

[2009 Fordham] 3

vs

[2009 Rutgers] 58

(SIM) These two schools actually had some heated battles back in the ‘40s and ‘50s when the matchup was still a little more competitive than it would be presently.

[2017 Delware State] 3

vs

[2017 Delaware] 22

These two schools actually went decades without facing each other in football, amid accusations of racism directed at Delaware. (Delaware State is an HBCU.) They finally faced off in 2007, and have met 9 times now. The Hornets are still looking for their first win in the series. Thomas Jefferson (no, seriously) leads the Blue Hens with 102 rush yards in this one.

[2010 Buffalo] 49

vs

[2010 Marist] 6

(SIM) Everybody knows if this was a contest to see who knew more about polling, the Red Foxes of Marist would run away with it, but it’s football, so things went very much the other way.


*Second Round results*

[2012 Stony Brook] 17

vs

[2012 Syracuse] 28

The Seawolves broke off a pair of long touchdowns early to take a 17-14 lead into halftime, but a pair of Ryan Nassib TD passes in the second half allowed the Orange to avoid an embarrassing upset.

[2017 Army] 79

vs

[2017 Princeton] 29

(SIM) Army’s first 10-win team in over two decades, unsurprisingly, doesn’t have much trouble with the Tigers. These programs faced off plenty of times in the 19th and 20th centuries, but have yet to go head-to-head in the 21st.

[2019 Colgate] 7

vs

[2019 Rutgers] 24

(SIM) Even the laughably bad 2019 Scarlet Knights had no problem with the (4-8 at the FCS level) Fighting Toothpaste.

[2005 Delaware] 14

vs

[2005 Buffalo] 7

(SIM) Don’t call it an upset! Because it isn’t, the 2005 Bulls were so bad that Massey had them as 4-point underdogs to the Blue Hens, a middling FCS team with a record of 6-5. On the off chance any UB administrator is reading this, whatever you’re paying Lance Leipold right now, it’s not enough.


*Semifinal results*

[2006 Syracuse] 34

vs

[2006 Army] 13

(SIM) This matchup infuriatingly hasn’t been contested this century, so we’re back on the virtual gridiron for this one, which sees the Greg Robinson-led Orange ease past the Black Knights and into the regional final.

[2012 Rutgers] 28

vs

[2012 Delaware] 0

(SIM) It must feel like a lifetime ago for Scarlet Knights fans, but the 2012 version of the team, in their last year in the Big East, won 9 games under first-year head coach Kyle Flood. So the Blue Hens were never likely to threaten in this one.

*Championship match*

[2003 Syracuse] 7

vs

[2003 Rutgers] 24

After a rough first two years at Rutgers, Greg Schiano finally started to show proof of concept in 2003, highlighted by this season-ending win, behind 183 total yards and a score from running back Brian Leonard. The Scarlet Knights, synonymous with football futility in the present moment, emerge victorious from the Empire region, and advance to the Championship bracket.



I appreciate those of you who have stuck it out over the last two regions, which haven't been the most fun. Our next region, Middle America, has 10 FBS teams, 8 of them from P5 conferences, so it promises to be much more competitive. See you on Monday!

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