This Tuesday, the 10th episode of the Pearlman Cup is upon us. Revered as one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports, the cup is set to pit UCTV against the Daily Campus yet again.
If you’re a casual fan and are wondering, “What is the Pearlman Cup?” you’ve come to the right place. It’s an annual seven-on-seven flag football game played between two Tier-III organizations: the Daily Campus, UConn’s independent student newspaper, and UCTV, a YouTube channel that routinely features short videos with hundreds of views. UCTV also notably doesn’t have a building to house the producers for their imaginary TV station, a sharp contrast from the Daily Campus building in Downtown Storrs.
The teams met eight times before 2022, with the UCTV Static Channels, named after the static that emerges when you try to turn on their signature channel 14 (seriously though, they should get that fixed or rename themselves to UCYouTube or maybe something catchier), winning all eight matchups. Then came a three-year hiatus for unknown reasons.
Last year saw a revival of the game with a tight contest. The DC Fighting Campus Correspondents made a push at a victory, leading 14-7 at the half, but came up empty the rest of the way. They finished with a 28-14 defeat, but it didn’t come without reason. The Static Channels roughed up the DC, responsible for the breaking of TE Carson Swick’s pinky finger and bloodying QB Zach Wisnefsky’s nose. This year, a new-look DC squad is out for revenge.
“This is my final go at things, my last dance if you will,” noted current sports editor and WR Stratton “Stafford Steve” Stave. “Last year was rough. We put it all out there, and it still wasn’t enough. But I believe we can change that this time. We have some valuable returners, a few great, athletic newcomers, including our secret weapon.”
Out with the old, in with the new. Notables from last year’s roster that are gone are Wisnefsky, Swick and former sports editor Jonathan Synott. All three in the trio were starters, but there’s a buzz around the program that the next generation coming in are just as good, if not better.
“I feel like I bring a unique presence to the DC, and coming from UConn Waterbury, I didn’t play last year,” said newcomer Connor “PPR Merchant” Sargeant of his potential impact. “I’m motivated to bring the DC its first Pearlman Cup victory in program history. When I first laced up for practice, I quickly realized I was surrounded by dogs, hungry for a win. UCTV should be worried about this new influx of talent that coach Maddie [Papcun] recruited. Myself and the new recruits look forward to being UCTV’s worst nightmare.”
Another recruit looking to spoil the Static Channels’ Tuesday is speedster Tomas “The Engine” Hinckley.
“They’re not gonna catch me,” Hinckley attested. “Whether it’s at the beginning when they’re fresh or at the end when they’re tired, they’re just not gonna catch me.”
The second of three Connors on the squad, Connor “Laffy Taffy” Lafferty shares Hinckley’s confidence in his abilities.
“They can’t guard me – free touchdowns every drive,” boldly noted Lafferty. “I feel sad. Sad for the UCTV players who will be walking onto the field undefeated against the DC, yet walking off defeated. Emotionally, physically and mentally.”
In a media release last Monday, event commentator, producer, videographer, oddsmaker and member of both organizations, Cole “Baby Breen” Stefan, released his betting-line for the game, which he created himself. He had the Static Channels favored by 17.5, a massive statement, but he doesn’t know about the Fighting Campus Correspondents’ secret weapon.
“We saw the Vegas odds, and we know how the UConn community views this team,” said associate sports editor and RB Evan “Rod Wave” Rodriguez of Stefan’s line. “These are the same guys that broke our starting receiver’s finger and injured our QB1. They’re gonna play a gritty game, but we feel that we have as good a chance as anyone with our speed and size. Going into this, I know they’re coming in with the utmost confidence, but we’re coming in with a purpose. There’s a necessity for this organization to secure something that belongs at 1266 Storrs Road. We are going to give 110% effort on Tuesday, and you can count on that.”
Stave shared Rodriguez’s sentiment on the line.
“I think it comes from a source that’s uninformed,” Stave added. “Vegas doesn’t know what they’re talking about. They couldn’t tell a grizzly bear from a prickly pear from what I can tell. We’re using that as fuel to the fire. It’s us against the world here. I put that line on the bulletin board in the locker room for everyone in the program to see. If that doesn’t motivate you to go out there and get a win, then I don’t know what will.”
While Papcun, the Fighting Campus Correspondents’ head coach and editor-in-chief, won’t be playing this year after going into retirement, she did offer her analysis for the upcoming contest.
“I’m feeling great about the game; this is our year,” said Papcun. “Our team has put in the work, we’re prepared, we’re confident, we’re ready. We’re enthusiastic, to the point of the team keeping me up all night with Slack messages about play ideas and practice plans. We know the history; we know UCTV has held the cup for a decade. But this is our year. Last year’s defeat struck a chord in us. Much of that squad is returning for Tuesday’s game, and UCTV — we remember. We remember every illegal hit, every injury, every play. We’ve been patiently awaiting our opportunity to take the field once again. Tuesday can’t come soon enough.”
There will be a three-hour “Cole-ge Gameday” prior to the 6:30 p.m. kickoff, but the real action will happen on Cole Stefan’s Facebook feed. Tune in to see the Static Channels get their tails whooped live or come to George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex.