With the World Series now over (congrats to UC Davis alumnus and Cardinals’ shortstop Daniel Descalso on becoming a world champion) the attention of the American sports public is pointed directly at the NFL.
Every NFL team has a distinct reputation, and with those reputations comes comparisons.
So, without further ado, here is a rundown of which NFL teams correspond to squads in UC Davis athletics.
UC Davis football — St. Louis Rams
It’s been a frustrating season for both UC Davis football and the St. Louis Rams.
Both teams started a first year quarterback last season — Randy Wright for UC Davis and Sam Bradford for the Rams — and both rookie signal-callers progressed as the season went along.
With an extra year of experience at the sport’s most crucial position, UC Davis and St. Louis were both expected to contend in their wide open division (the Big West Conference and the NFC West, respectively).
Neither side has come close to reaching those expectations.
The Aggies are currently 2-6 on the year with an embarrassing loss to Humboldt State marring their resume, while the Rams have started their season with an unimpressive 1-6 record.
UC Davis men’s soccer — San Francisco 49ers
Aggie men’s soccer has provided a remarkable turnaround this season, much in the same way as the one seen by the San Francisco 49ers over the last 12 months.
Both teams have far outperformed expectations, and both are currently holding the second seed in their conference’s playoff bracket.
In addition, the 49ers and the Aggies have each tallied impressive wins over top opposition — with San Francisco defeating the then 5-0 Detroit Lions, and UC Davis beating top-10 nationally ranked UCLA and UC Irvine this season.
Despite their strong seasons so far, however, both the 49ers and the Aggies will need to prove themselves in the postseason before they can convince a wide-spread audience that they are contenders.
UC Davis women’s soccer — Cincinnati Bengals
On the women’s side, UC Davis looks a lot like the Cincinnati Bengals.
Both squads entered the season with low expectations. The Aggies were picked to finish eighth out of nine teams in the Big West Conference preseason poll, while the Bengals were predicted by many to finish last in the AFC North.
Both teams have surprised this year, however, as UC Davis is currently on its way to the Big West Tournament and Cincinnati is contending for a playoff spot.
In addition, while both teams have been sparked by strong offensive performances, the Bengals and Aggies are, at their core, defensive teams.
Cincinnati is ranked second in total defense, while UC Davis has relied on the veteran defensive prowess of seniors center back Aisha Lott and goalkeeper Maria Magana.
UC Davis volleyball — Buffalo Bills
The Aggies surprised many with an incredible start to the 2011 season, just as the Bills shocked the sporting world by coming out of the blocks fast in the NFL season.
While both teams have been up and down on the road over the past few weeks, the UC Davis and Buffalo both boast undefeated home records this season.
And like the Bills traveled across the border to play a home game in Toronto on Sunday, the Aggies have journeyed across campus to play home contests in Hickey Gym at times this year.
UC Davis field hockey — Carolina Panthers
It’s a team lacking in tradition, which has been down over the past few years but is now beginning to grow in power.
The sentence described both the UC Davis field hockey team and the Carolina Panthers.
These two teams present a difficult challenge for any team they face, but neither has been able to finish many close games.
UC Davis played Stanford close in September, and took California to over time just over a week ago, while Carolina came close to beating Green Bay early this year.
While both the Aggies and the Panthers have proven they can provide formidable opposition against quality opponents, both sides need to start winning big games if they plan to garner the respect of fans and experts alike.
TREVOR CRAMER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.