My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Week 2: Prognosticating the Patriot

(Maestro, que the Aretha)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T... The concept abounds in Division I-AA football. As a whole, our sub-classification is always looking for some respect from the I-A community. Last week, the mid-major schools were looking for, and earning in some cases, respect from Patriot League schools. This week, it's time for the yearly attempt for the Patriot League to earn some respect from our local scholarship friends, the Atlantic 10 conference.

Going up against the A-10 is never an easy thing to do. While as a conference we've enjoyed some success in the playoffs, it has generally been tougher for the Patriot League to win that critical mass of regular season games that we all desire. After Fordham's failed opening salvo last weekend against URI, this week essentially represents the biggest shot our conference has to make some noise in I-AA land and bolster our collective GPI's.

UMass @ Colgate
The first Patriot League team to step up to the A-10 challenge will be Colgate. Coming off a shocking upset to Central Connecticut, the Colgate Raiders will be a decided underdog even at home. UMass, a highly ranked preseason team, comes into Hamilton with one win against Richmond under their collective belts.

On paper, UMass should have a ton of reasons to dominate this game. The defense returns intact and the tailback is a Payton candidate by the name of Steve Baylark. One really has to struggle to find a down side to this team. Colgate by comparison has some solid things to bring to the table, but many question marks as well. If Colgate is to win this game, some solid answers have to arise. It will be an uphill battle for Colgate all day, and in the end, the odds are likely that Colgate will be starting the season at 0-2.

Predicted Outcome: UMass 35 Colgate 18.

Georgetown @ Holy Cross
After an exciting overtime win against Bucknell last weekend, the sole league game of the week again involves Georgetown and puts the Hoyas in the position to claim a two game head start in the league standings. However, Holy Cross made an opening statement of their own last week with an impressive offensive manhandling of Sacred Heart and will definitely have something to say about it.

This match up will most likely hinge on the senior led Crusader offense vs. a talented and confidence gaining Hoya defense. If last year's overtime contest was an indication of what happens when these two Jesuit schools get together, it could be a barn burner in Worcester. And it is precisely because this game is at Fitton Field that makes me think it will be the Saders who will ultimately be victorious on Saturday. I believe this game will go down to the wire, but in the end Holy Cross might just have too much offense for this respectable Georgetown defense to contain.

Predicted Outcome: Holy Cross 24 Georgetown 21

Fordham @ Duquense
One of two mid-major games on tap this weekend, Fordham will be looking to get the win column started after dropping a decision to Rhode Island on Saturday. Much like the boys from Hamilton, the Rams have several question marks that need addressing this week. Their opponent, Duquense, lost a lot of talent from last year's team but were pleasantly surprised last weekend by the play of a rookie quarterback. If this quarterback can pick up where Loebig left off, Duquense could continue their recent run of taking down Patriot League teams.

Still, Fordham didn't lose to Duquense last year when they had all of their stars in place and a significant portion of this Fordham team returns for another go this year. Both teams have a good shot at winning this game, so I'll look to history to decide the outcome. Another year of experience for the Fordham Ram offense should produce a similar outcome as last year, even though this game is in Pittsburgh.

Predicted Outcome: Fordham 34 Duquense 28

Richmond @ Lafayette

Richmond comes to Easton clearly wanting some pay back from last year's controversial loss. They fell last weekend to UMass in a fairly close game, but appear to be still looking for a quarterback to lead the team to victory. Lafayette hosts the Spiders fresh off a to be expected win against Marist and are just as anxious to prove last year was no fluke.

They key to this game for the Leopards will be containing Stacy Tutt and controlling the ball on offense so they can win the time of possession battle. The same defensive unit is back for Lafayette and this time around the game is at home. It will be a tough, close battle, but remember that bit earlier about respect? The Leopards stand a good chance of earning some more right here.

Predicted Outcome: Lafayette 18 Richmond 16

Bucknell @ Stony Brook

Bucknell comes off an overtime loss to aforementioned Georgetown and after only scoring 16 points are still looking for an offense to take shape. The defense is still a force to contend with and will always keep Bucknell in the game. Stony Brook squares off against a Patriot League team for the third year in a row, having lost to Lehigh and Georgetown in season's past. It will be their opening game and the Seawolves will be looking to further press the case for NEC respect.

Bucknell should enjoy the trip to Stony Brook's new stadium as it is evidence of the commitment some of these NEC teams are making. Having learned some lessons from CCSU and Monmouth, this game could be close. However, the Seawolves will have plenty of trouble finding ways to score this weekend. Bucknell should pull this one out after some hard work.

Predicted Outcome: Bucknell 25 Stony Brook 12

Lehigh @ Delaware

Saving what could be the best for last, this is probably the marquee Patriot League game of the weekend, and is one of national significance as well. No. 12 Lehigh is out to bolster their out of conference record and to make a statement for the rest of I-AA to hear. Throw in a little payback factor for their last visit to the Tub, a 2000 playoff quarterfinal loss, and you begin to understand why Mountain Hawk fans are pumped up for this game against No. 8 Delaware. For those interested in tuning in, the game is being broadcast online through CN-8's website.


Lehigh got some of the off season rust out last week with a convincing win against a top mid-major program in Monmouth while Delaware will be opening the season on Saturday. The Blue Hens have some (capable) replacements to break in but will be just as tough as always. Picking a winner here is not an easy task. This might be more with my heart than my head, but the Mountain Hawks have a legitimate shot in this one, so I'm going with it.

Predicted Outcome: Lehigh 27 Delaware 21 OT

Last week's record 3-3. Season record 3-3

4 Comments:

  • Excellent as always. I think you slightly underestimate the Hoyas' defense. The offense gave away the game to HC last season and tried (unsuccessfully)to do the same at Bucknell last week. If the offense can take better care of the ball, the Hoyas should win. If not, that HC offense will be a beast to stop on a short field.

    For the same reason (your underestimation of the Georgetown 'D'), I think Bucknell will put up big numbers vs. Stony Brook. That young QB is dangerous and now has learned a lesson or two (like not reaching out with the ball for a first down).

    Whether the Hoyas win or not, I think their defense will gain some real respect this week. It will come both from their performance in Worcester and the Bucknell performance at Stony Brook.

    By Blogger LBPop, at 12:19 PM  

  • hey pop -

    The Hoya defense is tough for me to gauge from afar, especially after my run in with them last year up here at Andy Kerr. I sensed they had some good ball players last year but didn't gel completely, AND had to deal with being on the field a lot. If they've come together more as a group and if they can get a breather now and again from the 'O', then I might just be underestimating them. I think the HC game is up to them to win. They've got a nice triple threat up there at QB, RB and WR. Bucknell just had a QB threat. The Hoyas can do it, but Holy Cross might actually be a tougher test.

    As for Stony Brook, I still don't know if Bucknell can put up large numbers like last year just yet. Stony Brook is picked pretty low in the NEC, but if they focus on doing their jobs to stop the option, they can hang for a while...

    By Blogger colgate13, at 1:35 PM  

  • I will be watching the Bucknell/Stony Brook score with some interest. The Hoyas go up to Long Island in week #4. Kind of unusual, I would think, that by the fourth week each team in an OOC game will have film vs. a common opponent. Of course, since nobody but Navy & Air Force run that Bucknell offense, I'm not sure how useful that film will be. Good luck vs. U Mass.

    By Blogger LBPop, at 1:59 PM  

  • Good analysis.

    Right now, I believe that the PL is being perceived as a one-bid conference. Winning 2 of 3 games with the A10 could change that, as it would even the interconference record at 2-2.

    LC has high chance, LU has an average chance, and CU has a low chance of winning. It should prove interesting. Go 'Pards! Go Engineers! Go 'Gate!

    By Blogger Raider Redhead, at 4:26 PM  

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