Dake vs. Taylor II: What we learned

Right now is the best moment in the history of college wrestling. The sport is featured on ESPN and the Big Ten Network. We have articles in Sports Illustrated and the New York Times. Our wrestlers and their fans are crazy for Twitter and Facebook. We have productive debates, accessible superstars, podcasts and streaming video.

The wrestling community, after years battering ourselves for not doing enough and wallowing in the recesses of the sports kingdom, has matured into a sport worthy of mainstream media and events complete with the high pageantry normally reserved for revenue sports.

Kyle Dake earned a 3-2 decision over David Taylor in the finals of the Southern Scuffle (Photo/Bob Mayeri)
There are myriad influences that have helped grow college wrestling over the past few years, but nothing in the sport has helped drive interest and create income more than the hotly contested rivalry between Cornell's Kyle Dake and Penn State's David Taylor.

We shouldn't heap all the praise on these two men, but we should be thankful. What they are giving us this season is without comparison. Each hi-crotch, funky scramble and controversial reversal brings us one step closer to becoming a self-sustainable and mainstream sport.

Thanks to Dake and Taylor for their courage on the mat, and for giving fans the best product we've ever had the pleasure to enjoy.

Dake vs. Taylor III: Keys to victory

Kyle Dake

1. Maintain offensive posture in neutral

That opening double leg was a bold pre-match decision. According to Kid Dynamite his nearly off-the-whistle double was a reaction to several fans' critique of the first match. More action is what the fans wanted and that's exactly what Dake gave them. Dake was able to get in so deep because he kept his head up when wrestling from his knees against the lankier Taylor.

To win in March Dake will have to keep his knees bent and his butt down to prevent Taylor's front head attacks including his Cael-inspired ankle picks. Dake could also force Taylor into a Russian, and if Taylor's hips float out of position it should create an opportunity for the Cornell wrestler to score from his feet.

It'll be important for Dake to keep his butt to the center. As he noted after the match, one step out of bounds and fans will be calling for a stall warning, a call that could hurt later in the match.

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