My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Week 3: Prognosticating the Patriot

After an exciting start to the season, the mid-major and A-10 games are over for the most part, and now begins the yearly slate of games from our conference cousin the Ivy. Every Patriot League team faces off against one of the Ancient Eight with the exception of Lehigh who has the week off. While these games are always important for interconference bragging rights, this is also a good week to see if any trends are developing. Can Holy Cross and Lafayette start out 3-0? Will Bucknell or Fordham start out 0-3? There are plenty of stories here worth following.

Colgate @ Dartmouth

In probably the biggest Patriot League win last weekend, the Raiders from Hamilton upset newly formed rival UMass by the score of 17-14 in a game that feature numerous turnovers. The defense scored the majority of points for Colgate and Jared Nepa was recognized for his outstanding performance with the Defensive Player of the Week award. It was a stunning victory that may have refocused Colgate to its winning ways.

This week places the Raiders on the road for the first time and making the trip to Hanover, New Hampshire to face the Big Green of Dartmouth. In what has become (and will continue to be at least until 2011) a yearly opening match for the Big Green, this year will have Dartmouth searching for a taste of victory under the direction of returning coach Buddy Teevans.

Colgate has had Dartmouth's number for several years, and coming off of a 1-9 season doesn't bode too well for the Big Green's chances. Teevans may ultimately turn this program around, but for a team that hasn't had a winning record since 1997, it will be an upset if they start out this year 1-0. I think Colgate will begin to find an offense this week, and the defense will continue to impress.

Predicted outcome: Colgate 24 Dartmouth 10

Bucknell @ Cornell

Not many (including myself) would have predicted that the Bison would be starting off this season 0-2. After last week's loss to Stony Brook, and with the number of injuries to key personnel sustained in the past few weeks, it might not get better for some time either. This is serious gut check time for this program, because while after Cornell comes Marist, the rest of the schedule gets very tough. Without wins in these two weeks, Bucknell could be struggling for the better part of this year.

Cornell took down Bucknell last year during their return to respectability, and frankly, they appear to be a program heading in the right direction. A new coach last year got the players excited and performing well, ultimately winning 3 out of their last 4 games and never being out of a single contest. This time around, I think the Big Red will be starting out 1-0 as Bucknell starts to feel their season spiraling downward.

Predicted outcome: Cornell 20 Bucknell 10

Brown @ Georgetown

After flying high from taking down Bucknell in week one, Georgetown got brought back down to earth in a harsh way with a 48-6 thumping at the hands of the Crusaders of Holy Cross. It sounds like nothing went right for the Hoyas and their first home game will be a welcome event for their players and fans as it christens their new facility.

Brown comes off a 6-4 season last year as the dark horse Ivy contender looking to knock off Harvard and Penn from their perches. They boast one of the nations better running backs in Nick Hartigan and will be out to get the season started on the right foot. One has to assume it has been a long week of practice for the Hoyas as neither side of the ball did much against Holy Cross. I think it will be a more respectable game than last week, but the Georgetown might be back to square one.

Predicted Outcome: Brown 27 Georgetown 18

Harvard @ Holy Cross

The Crusaders continued to fire on all cylinders as they took down Georgetown with relative ease and slid into a tie atop the Patriot League standings. This week will bring the Crimson to town for a much bigger test of this fledging resurgence.

Harvard has lost standout quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but has retained a superb running back in Clifton Dawson. They boast a long unbeaten streak and even have some pollsters convinced their the top team in the nation. They looked poised to win many games this year; however, looking at last week's I-AA scores, one has to wonder if they are also poised for an upset.

In this week's "Going Out on a Limb" tangent, I see a scenario panning out where Harvard, playing their first game, comes out rusty and one dimensional. Holy Cross on the other hand plays some inspired ball in front of a large Fitton crowd that feels the upset juices flowing. Gilmore has the troops focused on stopping Dawson and they get the job done. Holy Cross wins in a watershed game for the program.

It will either be a brilliant prediction, or I'll look like a fool come Sunday. It's time to take some chances with my picks, so it's all aboard the Sader Train for this one. Chu-chu!

Predicted outcome: Holy Cross 24 Harvard 21

Princeton @ Lafayette

This week's "Feline Battle" has the Tigers and Leopards going toe to toe in Easton. Lafayette continues to knock off opponents by virtue of shutting out Richmond last week, while Princeton is hoping for a similar start as last year when they took out Lafayette 35-18. Princeton has been an inconsistent program since the mid-90's and one never really knows what to expect from them. They can take down Colgate in 2002 but lose to Columbia and Dartmouth in 2003.

Unfortunately for Princeton fans, I don't think lightning will strike twice in this one. Lafayette has grown immensely as a team since last year's loss and has looked just as good as the team that made an appearance in the I-AA playoffs last year. I look for them to join Holy Cross at the 3-0 mark.

Predicted Outcome: Lafayette 35 Princeton 17

Columbia @ Fordham

The Rams from Fordham find themselves in a similar position as Bucknell sitting at 0-2 to start the season. They've lost by two touchdowns or more in both contests and appear to have a bit of the injury bug themselves. Columbia could be just what Fordham needs, as they are coming off a 1-9 season and haven't seen the win column over 7 since 1996.

While there are parallels to Bucknell, my sense is that there are different issues at play here. Fordham is in need of leadership, from both the players that were asked to step up this year and from the coaching staff that is now in their second year and saw some major stars graduate last year. There is plenty on the line for the Rams, and if they are not hungry enough to pull out the 'W' here, it could be a long season in the Bronx. I'm not bailing on Fordham yet; I think they'll get their act together starting this week.

Predicted outcome: Fordham 20 Columbia 14

Lehigh is idle this week and will need it from the sounds of some injuries obtained in their valiant effort against Delaware. Great job Mountain Hawks.

Last week's picks weren't so hot (although I at least got overtime right in LU/UD), but I'll take being wrong on Colgate any day if it means a Raider win!

Last week's record 2-4. Season record 5-7. Ouch!


  • 13, nice job...BTW, HC has sole possession of 1st place, not tied

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:37 PM  

  • The the Crusaders knock off the Crimson, then I'll concede that HC will be a 'for real' contender this year. Harvard has a good core back and virtually picked with Penn to win the Ivy. First game rust could be a problem, and Gilmore is always good at getting a defensive scheme going for a big opponent. Still gotta pick the Crimson, but won't be shocked if HC can pull it off. Harvard 24-20.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:12 PM  

  • HC is 1/2 a game ahead of G'Town. My bad there. I put it as they both had one win... forgot about the loss!

    By Blogger colgate13, at 8:13 AM  

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