My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Monday, October 31, 2005

Women's Soccer Shout Out


The women won their ninth title (sharing it with Lehigh) by virtue of beating American 3-1 on a cold Saturday night.

Good luck against Army in the tournament. Let's win it and head to the NCAA's again!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

My AGS Top 25

1. Furman (2)
2. New Hampshire (4)
3. Appalachian St. (7)
4. Hampton (5)
5. Montana (12)
6. Southern Illinois (16)
7. Western Kentucky (1)
8. Massachuesetts (6)
9. Coastal Carolina (13)
10. Brown (14)
11. Lehigh (15)
12. Richmond (NR)
13. William & Mary (3)
14. Northern Iowa (20)
15. Georgia Southern (21)
16. Eastern Washington (22)
17. Texas State (8)
18. Youngstown State (9)
19. UC Davis (NR)
20. Cal Poly (10)
21. Lafayette (NR)
22. Eastern Illinois (NR)
23. Montana State (NR)
24. McNeese State (NR)
25. Alabama State (11)

Biggest Win: Southern Illinois
Biggest Loss: James Madison

This season is really getting crazy. The one good thing that is coming out of these upsets though, is that an 8-3 Patriot League team suddenly doesn't look like such a longshot as an at-large bid for the playoffs. Let's hope that team is Colgate.

Damn Turnovers

What a frustrating game to watch today. I will allow myself a one paragraph pity party to express my disgust. Colgate's three losses this season all come as a result of turnovers. If this team could hold on to the ball, the Raiders would be 8-0 and a force to be reckoned with. Instead, we're 5-3 and no longer in control of our own destiny for the autobid. We still control our fates in terms of league champions, but without some help, it will be a season of 'almost' or 'what-if'. This is the kind of stuff to make a fan's hair turn gray.
Now that I've got that off my chest, let me extend a hearty congratulations to Lehigh. You matched Colgate blow for blow and showed us what happens when you don't turn the ball over. You played solid football and came away with a tough win at Andy Kerr. I also believe the 50 points scored at home are the most ever by at Andy Kerr by a visiting team. The Mountain Hawks are a fine club, and let me tell you all this here and now: Sedale Threatt will be a name we all remember years from now. He looked better today than Borda when I saw him in last year's game - and Threatt is only a sophomore. That kid has talent, and is a containment nightmare. If he has the supporting cast to go with him, look out Patriot League and look out I-AA. I think he's the real deal.
Now on to Colgate, turnovers aside, the offense did outstanding. If you just look at the stats alone, we had over 500 yards of offense! We truly did have a coming out type of game on the offensive side of the ball. Our receivers are top notch, Jordan Scott is, much like Threatt, a name to remember. He will be a big one in my opinion. Mike Saraceno, even though he tried to do a bit too much sometimes and turned the ball over, has come a long way since Central Connecticut. To put it bluntly, our offense is good.
I was dissappointed that our defense did not have a bigger day; but with turnovers and Threatt emerging as a star, I am not that surprised. We did a pretty darn good job on pass defense by holding this outfit to under 200 yards in the air. However, several stupid personal fouls really hurt us as well. This defense is better than that. They have 3 games left to prove it.
I hope we rebound from this loss well. We still have PLENTY to play for. After last year's loss to Lehigh, we had the worst game of our season against Bucknell. I surely hope that does not happen again. A win against Lafayette would put us right back in first - and then we would become huge Lafayette fans for the rest of the year. With Holy Cross losing, it's up to the Leopards to open up the door to the playoffs for us... of course, only if we win. If we don't turn the ball over, I love our chances. If we do, I'll be right back here shaking my head.
Oh well, now, off to the message boards and score boards to see what everyone is talking about. At least hockey and women's soccer won!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Blog Bowl I

Yes dear fans, there is a new tradition beginning right here: The Blog Bowl.

It occured to me that Colgate and Lehigh have two pretty active bloggers and we might be the only match up like this in I-AA. So why not celebrate it? From now on, the yearly winner between colgate13 (The 13 Yard Line) and LFN (Lehigh Football Nation) will get to keep "The Engine 13 Cup" within their blogosphere.
LFN has unearthed some very important documents about this cup that I thought was worthy of sharing with my Colgate brethern. The story of The Engine 13 Cup goes something like this:

"On a cold November day in 1922, Engine #13 of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR arrived in Binghamton with a 2-2-1 Lehigh team ready to play a 3-2 Colgate team in the first-ever meeting with the two schools. Colgate students saw that as a sign that their Indians would be able to handle Lehigh's Engineers with no problem - 13 is Colgate's lucky number, as Colgate was founded by '13 Men with 13 dollars and 13 prayers'. Colgate did indeed demolish Lehigh in their first-ever meeting, 37-6, and there's many a Colgate fan at the time who said that it was the good fortune of Lehigh coming in on Engine #13 that gave Colgate the victory.

"Legend has it after Lehigh boarded the train to return to Bethlehem after their sound defeat, Engine #13 broke down pulling out of the station in its last-ever trip, causing the Engineers to stay in Binghamton in a fierce snowstorm an extra day before catching the next train home. Lehigh coach "Tom" Keady was rumored to have said that the experience on Engine #13 rattled the players so much that they lost to Bucknell and to hated Lafayette to close the year, not scoring a single point in both games.

As a result of this experience, Lehigh didn't play Colgate again until much later, in 1960. Coach "Bill" Leckonby is rumored to have insisted on taking a bus up to Hamilton to play Colgate, not wanting to repeat the cursed experience of riding the train up to Binghamton once again.

"Sometimes, in late October, folks living along the old DL&W line have heard strange noises along the tracks. Rumor has it that it's old "Engine #13", running up the tracks on its final journey to Colgate - or is it finally making its return from Hamilton, finally with a Lehigh win?
So there you have it. Colgate and Lehigh now play for The Engine 13 Cup. 24 hours until game time. Let's get it on!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lehigh Scouting Report

It is hard to believe we're already at the Lehigh game. No matter what the year or circumstances, this game is always pivotal for both teams. This time around is no different. Regardless of the outcome on Saturday, I will be a bit sad because it means we're closing in on the end of the season with this one. Of course, a win will surely ease my pain just a little...

Here's what we've got on tap folks:


The pass happy, high octane Lehigh offense has been in full effect so far this year. This team puts up a lot of points and has multiple weapons to call upon. This week's addition though will feature sophomore quarterback #18 Sedale Threatt making his second start in place of senior Mark Borda who unfortunately ended his career early against Yale with a season ending injury. Hats off to Borda for a nice run at the helm of the Mountain Hawks.

Threatt brings with him some hype as the future of Lehigh football. He's taking the reigns earlier than anticipated, but there are many that feel he is up to the task now. Threatt already has one win as a starter under his belt in the form of Bucknell last week, and one overtime victory against Yale when Borda went down. Against Bucknell, he threw for two touchdowns and ran for another. He is an athlete that will deserve Colgate's full attention.

The other names to know start with tailback #2 Eric Rath. Rath ran for just over 1,000 yards last year, including 94 and a touchdown against the Raiders in Bethlehem. He is a key cog in the offensive machine for the Mountain Hawks and provides the balance needed to keep defenses honest. His stable mate, junior #22 Marques Thompson, is also no stranger to big games against the Raiders, as he tallied up 86 yards of his own and two touchdowns that day. Clearly, the running game deserves considerable respect.

In the air, Threatt will have a host of receivers to attempt completions with. The fastest and most dangerous of the group is #9 Gerran Walker. Walker is the first of three Lehigh receivers that are averaging just over 50 yards per game. #83 Lee Thomas and #5 Kevin Zebluim are just as frequent a target as Walker. #6 Adam Kovacs and #21 Winifred Porter are two additional targets the Mountain Hawks posses.

These skill positions all operate behind a fairly seasoned offensive line that leads the Patriot League in scoring, passing offense, passing efficiency and total offense. The Raider defense will have its hands full.

With that in mind, Colgate does match up fairly well in this one and if they can get to Threatt early, it is unlikely that he will have as good of a day as he did against Bucknell. It will be up to the defensive line to continue to get a nice pass rush and perhaps a few sacks, although Threatt is probably the most mobile quarterback we've seen so far this year. It will be a big test.

It will also be a big test for the Raider secondary. We've seen our share of good receivers; I'm just not sure we've seen this many on the field at the same time. I like our defensive backs against anyone, but it may come down to the play of our linebackers in coverage underneath to take away those short passes that make this Mountain Hawk team move downfield so well.

Finally, those very same linebackers will need to respect the run first and be sure to wrap up a shifty Rath who plays with a ton of heart. I do like the fact that this crew has already had to deal with Steve Silva of Holy Cross in preparation.


While getting less press than the Lehigh offense, the defense is cut from the same mold of many a previous Mountain Hawk/Engineer squad. They've got a couple of big names that will certainly be causing some problems for our offense. It starts on the line with #56 Royce Morgan at tackle. Morgan is a big foe to contend with and may require double teams and help from the full back at times. Behind Morgan looms #26 Anthony Graziani in the middle. "Graz" is the leading tackler for the Mountain Hawks and in many ways is the heart of the defensive. Taking it to the final level, #3 Kaloma Cardwell at the free safety position might just be the best in the league.

These three standouts are supported by a very able cast. #32 Owen Breininger and #92 Matt Mohler at the end positions are one of the leagues better tandems. The other linebackers are all doing very well and the other defensive backs, while a bit on the young side, are certainly not losing games for the Mountain Hawks.

Again, I am comforted by the fact that Colgate has already seen one of the best defenses in the land in UMass. That said, our offense did sputter for the most part that day and it was the defense that brought that victory home. What makes me happy again though is the fact that our starting quarterback and tailback combination that has led us to four straight victories did not play that day. They will get their big chance this weekend.

Lehigh does a great job of stopping the run, and will no doubt be preparing for the smash mouth Colgate offense that will often run until it hurts. We've seen some inspired play calling of late and our wide receivers have done a great job for us all season long. It is the matchup of our receivers versus the Lehigh secondary that I think will be one of the major decisive battles of this game. If we can exploit some of the corners with DeWayne Long, Erik Burke or a healthy Kenny Parker, it will go a long way to opening up many other options for the Raider offense. Ultimately though, it will come down the Colgate offensive line and their ability to do two things: give Jordan Scott that first hole up between the tackles so he can do the rest, and give Mike Saraceno time to throw the football. They do those two things, and the Raiders will be heading to Easton still on top of the Patriot League.

Special Teams

While this area of the game is always important, I think this week's focus will be a little different that previous weeks. Both teams certainly have the talent to come up with a big return, however they are also very well coached. I expect Lehigh to kick away from Geoff Bean most of the time and I think both teams will cover well.

The real interesting story here will be in the kicking game. Fortunately for Colgate, Lehigh has had some issues with their kicking. Most of us know about the loss to Delaware in overtime; however the problems have a longer history than that. With Jacob Stein being fairly untested at long range, in a tight game both sides have some questions about being able to kick themselves to victory.

The Skinny

Boy, am I excited about this one! Whether you're a Lehigh fan or a Colgate fan, these games are always exciting and always have some great football to be seen. I don't think this year is any different. So strap on your seatbelts fans, it should be a hell of a ride.

The Colgate defense will need to continue its dominance in order for a win. Rath is a good runner and Threatt provides another dimension that perhaps Borda did not; however, without Borda we might be able to get away with more honest coverage by our very able defensive backs. We've seen a great back in Silva and Steve Baylark from UMass, not to mention an up and comer from Cornell, Luke Siwala, so I'm not concerned about that fact as much as the fact that we haven't seen a team this balanced with running and passing.

The Colgate offense will need to play its type of game: ball control, few penalties, Jordan Scott for a lot of yards and big time plays from receivers. We will also need to come away with more than field goals when we get down in the red zone. I think we need to score 24 to win this one in regulation.

Ultimately, of course, I think the home field, the Parent's Weekend crowd, the momentum we've built and the gravity of this game will all prove to produce the best performance we've seen all year from our Raiders.

As always, Let's Go 'Gate!

Prognosticating the Patriot: Week 9

Once again life gets in the way of a blog, so here is my 'Prognosticating' piece a day or so late. I hope the wait is worth it!

Getting right down to business, the Patriot League race got a little clearer last weekend, but it is a far from settled contest. Four teams still have shots at winning the league, although two control their destiny outright while two will need some help along the way. One big game this weekend might make the race clearer... or even muddier.

Bucknell at Lafayette

Lafayette comes off a bye week to welcome the Bison to town in hopes of maintaining their standing at the top of the Patriot League. The Leopards boast one of the best defenses in all of I-AA and should have a field day against a hurting Bucknell squad. The Lafayette offense has had some trouble putting points on the board this season, so a chance to work out some kinks against Bucknell should be a welcome experience before facing Colgate next week.

Frankly, it might take a miracle for Bucknell to win this one. Strange things have happened in I-AA this year, but I'm not about to go picking a Bison win in this one.

Predicted outcome: Lafayette 27 Bucknell 7

Lehigh at Colgate

Like many a match up in the past decade, the annual Lehigh/Colgate game could be the deciding contest of this 2005 Patriot League season (no offense meant to Lafayette or Holy Cross). While the winner of this game will still have a few important battles ahead, they will also be that much closer to claiming the Patriot League title.

Lehigh spent last weekend beating up on Bucknell while breaking in a new sophomore quarterback, Sedale Threatt, in place of injured Mark Borda. Threatt performed admirably however this week's mission will be a more difficult one. Threat will be leading the Mountain Hawks into Andy Kerr to face a Colgate squad that has performed a 180 degree turn since their early season losses. The Raiders made a big statement to the league last Saturday dominating Holy Cross in Worcester.

There will be many match ups worth watching in this one. The Lehigh offense is high octane and diverse and will be facing a Colgate defense that is equally worthy of respect. On the other side of the ball, a stuttering Colgate offense has found some serious legs as of late, led by the outstanding play of Mike Saraceno at quarterback and freshman Jordan Scott at the tailback position. It is my opinion that the Lehigh defense, which is always a solid unit, against a surprisingly potent Colgate offense, that will be the biggest story of the day. If the Mountain Hawks can contain Scott and get to Saraceno, or cover the Raider receiving corps like glue, then Lehigh will head back to Bethlehem back in the contention for the league title.

However, one cannot deny that Colgate is on a roll. The game is at home for the Raiders and Lehigh will be looking to a mostly untested sophomore for playoff salvation. I also think the Colgate offense is under appreciated at this point.

I expect this game to be very close, very exciting and somewhat unpredictable. I also expect Colgate to continue to roll after being counted out early in the season. Biddle leads his troops to victory in this one behind solid defense and timely offensive play.

Predicted outcome: Colgate 27 Lehigh 24

Holy Cross at Fordham

Holy Cross will be on the road looking for a rebound from last week's loss in order to stay in the hunt for the Patriot League championship. There will be a lot to play for in this one besides the title hopes. Most importantly it will guarantee a winning season for the Crusaders. That in itself will be a huge hurdle overcome for this program.

The Saders face an 0-7 Fordham team that, if it hasn't hit rock bottom yet, is lingering dangerously close to it. After last week's loss to Georgetown that saw the Rams squander away an 18 point lead, it is going to take more than a trip home to for the first time in a month to get a victory. Could an upset happen? Sure, anything is possible on Any Given Saturday. Holy Cross has Lafayette in two weeks in an important league battle and could be looking ahead to their week off. But after watching the Rams against Colgate and hearing about the Georgetown game, I have to go with Holy Cross in this one. The Crusaders will stay in the playoff hunt for one more week, hoping for Colgate to stumble.

Predicted outcome: Holy Cross 31 Fordham 14

Georgetown is idle

Last week's record: 3-0. Season record: 25-17

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Snow in Hamilton

Yes friends, big fat flakes and accumulation on the trees and roads is currently on tap in Hamilton. Weekend weather looks to be good, but for now, it's winter wonderland.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My AGS Top 25

1. Western Kentucky (1)
2. Furman (3)
3. William & Mary (4)
4. New Hampshire (5)
5. Hampton (8)
6. Massachusetts (10)
7. Appalachian St (12)
8. Texas St (15)
9. Youngstown St (17)
10. Cal Poly (2)
11. Alabama St (11)
12. Montana (18)
13. Coastal Carolina (13)
14. Brown (19)
15. Lehigh (20)
16. Southern Illinois (21)
17. Penn (22)
18. Portland St (24)
19. Illinois St (NR)
20. Northern Iowa (6)
21. Georgia Southern (NR)
22. Eastern Washington (7)
23. Colgate (NR)
24. James Madison (14)
25. Grambling (NR)

Biggest Win: Delaware
Biggest Loss: Cal Poly

Once again, this week was filled with upsets. UNI, EWU, JMU, etc. More shaking up at the top and some new faces at the bottom. I think Colgate deserves this nod now, especially given how they are playing and how other teams just keep on losing. We'll see if others agree.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Raiders Continue to Roll

So, first question: Anyone want to change their poll choice about Jordan Scott being the tailback of the future?

Scott puts up 222 yards in today's 27-14 victory over the Crusaders at Fitton Field and does it in more impressive fashion than his previous games. After the first quarter, his runs were of the longer variety and really helped Colgate get on a roll. I'd say we have a potential star in the making here. Keep up the good work Jordan!
I was not at the game but I listened to it via the radio. I'd love to hear thoughts from those that were there, but here's how it sounded filtered through 93.9 WKXZ:
Colgate came out ready to play and continued to improve from week to week. We couldn't pull Holy Cross away as soon as perhaps we would have liked, as turnovers hurt us a few times and, surprisingly, penalties were actually a factor. Still, what more could have you asked from this team?
  • Jordan Scott runs for 222 yards. That's a keep ingredient to Raider success.
  • Multiple receivers are involved in the game. Today, it was Erik Burke making the difference. Great rebound by Erik to come right back and score a touchdown after the first turnover that led to a Crusader score. DeWayne Long was kept in check for most of the day, but boy did he come up big when needed, along with Kenny Parker on a big third down. I hope Kenny is 100% next weekend because we will need all three against Lehigh.
  • Holy cow, what a defense! We held Holy Cross to even less rushing yards than Fordham! Steve Silva was essentially a non-factor with 9 yards on the ground and 63 in the air. He had a few kick returns that set up Holy Cross for good field position, but ultimately, he did not score a touchdown. First time this year he did not I think.
  • Jared Nepa continues to prove he is a force on the inside and in my humble opinion is as good as any other linebacker in the nation. He is a complete package.
  • Our defensive line has truly come of age. How I wish they were juniors! Still, this squad has a few more games to continue to make a name for themselves.
  • Mike Saraceno continues to make us all forget about Central Connecticut. I've got some confidence he will only get better as this season moves on. And, we get him for another year!
  • The offensive line sounded like the finally hit on all cylinders today. Holy Cross is no pushover, and yet for more than one series on offense it sounded like we had our way with them.
That's all for now. Solid Colgate win against a good Holy Cross squad. This one should be savoured until tomorrow, when it becomes all about those Brown and White Engin... er... Mountain Hawks who will want to put themselves in control of their own destiny with a victory at Andy Kerr. Right now, Homer says there's no way in hell that's happening!
Oh, and I will need to make a short trip to the hospital right after this. I seemed to have broken my elbow patting myself on my back for my picks this week: 3-0 and my scores were VERY close to being correct. I had Colgate over Holy Cross 28-17 (ended up 27-14) and Lehigh over Bucknell 38-7 (ended up 40-10) and I had Georgetown over Fordham and the Hoyas pulled it out in the fourth quarter.
Until tomorrow, time to watch the I-AA scoreboard for those upsets. Delaware has already taken down JMU and Montana has shot down Cal Poly. I'm thinking those Raiders might sneak in the others receiving votes category.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Holy Cross Scouting Report

I apologize for the lateness of this post and perhaps its brevity. Life has a funny way of getting in the way of football sometimes! In some ways this piece might be redundant of my "Prognosticating" post, frankly because I got a bit carried away in that write up, but here goes:

Holy Cross comes into this game with a 5-2 record, a win against Lehigh and two strong showings in losses to Delaware and Harvard. Colgate fans, this is not the Crusader team of the past several years. They are playing disciplined football, are aggressive and play with passion, and have a few talented players we should be weary of.

That said, I believe Colgate is more than up to the task of going into Fitton Field on their Parent's Weekend and coming away with a victory.


The Holy Cross offense revolves mostly around multi-purpose threat and Walter Payton Award candidate Steve Silva. Silva is a threat to run the ball, catch the ball, break a big return and even throw a touchdown pass or two. Colgate will need to make containing Silva the #1 priority of the day. Silva runs behind a veteran offensive line that has done a good job opening up some holes against opposing defenses. Fullback Gideon Akande will lead the way for Silva, but is also worthy of respect as a runner himself.

When not going to the ground, the Crusaders look for three year starter and senior quarterback John O'Neill to lead the way. O'Neill is having a very respectable season and does not turn over the ball much (nor does any other member of the Holy Cross squad). O'Neill's main threat to pass to is fellow senior Sean Gruber. Gruber is ranked in most Holy Cross career categories and while he is probably not a huge deep threat, he has proven he can catch the ball and make plays when needed. Bob Turkovich at the other receiver position might see a lot of balls going his way since Gruber will warrant the bulk of Colgate's attention.

As I previously mentioned, Silva is a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield, and this is one area I think Holy Cross might try to exploit and might have some success at. He will be a mismatch problem for our linebackers, so it might be up to Geoff Bean or Sam Breslin to keep Silva from making a big play.

No matter how it plays out, I expect Colgate to defend the run heavily and challenge O'Neill to be the one to beat us. Our secondary matches up well in this one, so patience will be very important if Holy Cross is going to complete the passes they need to move the chains. It will also be imperative for the Crusaders to keep our lineman at bay if they are to have the time to wait for some routes to open up. I do like our defensive line pass rush in this battle. I think we might be a step faster then them here.


Holy Cross has mostly a 'no-name' defense that has been getting the job done this year. They are vastly improved from last year's squad but only feature three senior starters. They are in some ways still a young group and Colgate might be able to take advantage of that fact. This group is in no way a bunch of pushovers, as they have been impressive in the turnover battle.

Linebacker Dan Adams looks to be the leader on defense, with Casey Gough the big name in the secondary. Gough has a few interceptions to his credit and plenty of tackles to his name. However, with two sophomores at the safety positions, the Crusader secondary might have trouble covering all of the Raider receivers. The health of Kenny Parker might be a factor, since if he is not able to play tomorrow that takes away a pretty big threat that Holy Cross would have to contend with.

Special Teams

Holy Cross excels in the special teams area, largely due to the play of Steve Silva. Steve is a legitimate threat to score every time he touches the ball, so the Raider coverage teams will have to have their heads on every down, and the Raider kickers will likely try to keep the ball out of Silva's hands.

If we are able to negate Silva's impact on returns, either by kicking away or with some great coverage by folks like Geoff Bean (who has been very solid in this area), that could be the difference in the game for Colgate.

On our side of the ball, Holy Cross will likely have the same options before them that Colgate does. Geoff Bean may be a notch behind Silva in terms of return ability (he is two years younger by the way) but Bean definitely deserves respect. If the Crusaders take him lightly, Bean will likely help the Colgate cause with some great starting field position.

The Skinny

This is a big game for Colgate, for obvious reasons. A win here puts us that much closer to a Patriot League Championship and it allows ourselves to continue to control our own destiny. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I think Silva is good and will score some points. Our defense should be able to limit his impact from being the difference maker, but if we can't, we just might lose this contest.

I, however, am more confident than that. I think the outcome of the game rests on Colgate's ability to score more than 21 points. We're improving each week on offense, so as long as the defense continues its strong play, we should be in great position to keep on winning.

As always, Let's Go 'Gate!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Some Scoreboard Insight

I just came across this information on South Dakota State's website. They just had a deal with Daktronics similar to ours for next year. Very nice indeed. Here is a picture:

This is their new football scoreboard. The scoreboard is 121 feet wide by 56 feet tall with the video screen being 28 feet wide by 17 feet tall. By comparison, Colgate's scoreboard is supposed to be 64 feet wide by 42 feet tall with a video screen of 22 feet wide by 12 feet tall.

So basically it looks like Colgate's scoreboard will be the main section there of SDSU's, about 10 yards shorter and what, 70% screen size? For Andy Kerr I think that will be just fine. No, in fact, outstanding. Will this mean that Colgate goes from 'worst to first' in terms of Patriot League scoreboards? Does anyone else have this type of set up in our league?

We do not appear to be getting video screens for Cotterell or Starr rink, so the rest of the SDSU site isn't really applicable. Without a TV game feed for each contest like football now enjoys with Time Warner, I guess that makes sense. But don't a lot of hockey games get shown through CUTV? Couldn't they do a feed?

Either way, it's a serious step up for football and a nice step up for the other sports. Good job Dave Roach.

Prognosticating the Patriot: Week 8

Finally, we come to the meat of the Patriot League schedule! Everyone tees off in a league game except Lafayette, who has the week off. The biggest game of the week puts the Raiders at the Crusaders with the winner of the game taking a big step towards winning the league title.

Lehigh at Bucknell

At the beginning of the year, I thought this would be one of the larger contests of the season: Top dog Lehigh facing a tough Bucknell defense at Christy Mathewson. My, how the season has surprised us!

Lehigh had some trouble putting away Yale last weekend, but more importantly they lost starting quarterback Mark Borda for the season in the process. Sophomore Sedale Threatt will be given the ball following a nice pinch hitting performance against the Eli to lead the Mountain Hawks to victory in overtime. I would not be surprised if many Lehigh fans are quietly hoping that Threatt will have with him some Chris Brown magic and begin a great career at Lehigh similar to Brown had at Colgate. They are off to similar starts for sure. Only time will tell on that one, but all reports say Threatt is a very nice athlete (and I will try to avoid the obvious word play - Threatt is a 'threat'. I wonder how many times that's been a headline in high school?).

Bucknell, as amazing as this might have sounded in August, is barely on life support right now with a 1-5 record and 3 out of the last 4 contests not being competitive. One has to wonder how the Bison will be able to get out of this tailspin, and welcoming Lehigh to town is not usually a prescribed method. The Mountain Hawks in many ways have their backs against the wall with one league loss. They must win out and hope for Holy Cross to lose in order to have any control over their once bright post season hopes. Not good news for Bucknell, regardless of whoever is at quarterback for Lehigh.

The offense might be a bit simpler this week and there might be a few miscues or hiccups due to the changed signal caller, but ultimately I think Lehigh continues to get back on track in preparation for an all important showdown in Hamilton next weekend. Lehigh wins big.

Predicted outcome: Lehigh 38 Bucknell 7

Colgate at Holy Cross

I have tried very hard to leave Homer at home for this prediction, but I must warn my readers. He is giddy as a school girl waiting for the prom to come. Feel free to call me out on anything, but this is how I (I think it's me and not Homer) see it going down on Saturday.

Colgate continued to step up their play last week after a few early season stumbles, this time blanking Fordham at home. The crusaders put away one of Colgate's stumbles last weekend, beating the Big Green of Dartmouth for their fifth win of the season. Both teams are comfortably in the win column for the season and have no league losses. Folks, this showdown is huge!

Colgate's has had Holy Cross's number since 2000, but there have been plenty of close games along the way that could have easily gone the Crusaders way. These teams appear to be more evenly matched than in the past, so hopes must be high in Worcester that the Sader Return to Glory will continue to march on this year. Colgate will be equally charged for the contest as nothing will erase those early losses faster than another step towards the Patriot League crown.

The higher profile battle between these teams will be a solid Colgate defense lined up against a potent and mistake free Holy Cross offense that is boasting one of I-AA's best players this season, Walter Payton candidate Steve Silva. It will be a great one to watch as Colgate has done a great job stopping the run so far and Silva has done a great job racking up the yards. In addition to the ground threat, Holy Cross quarterback John O'Neil will be looking for wide receiver Sean Gruber to keep Colgate's defense honest. How O'Neil fares against what could be the best secondary he has seen so far will be a large factor in the outcome of this game.

However, I think it is the other match up that will decide this game: the 'gate offense against the Sader defense. Colgate's offense has quietly come together since quarterback Mike Saraceno returned from injury and ranks only 11 spots behind the more publicized Holy Cross squad. They will be facing a Holy Cross defense that, at least statistically speaking, has not been as tough as the Raider's schedule so far, Fordham excluded - although only by a hair. I know that statistics are often meaningless since the game is played on the field and not with a slide rule, but those numbers jive with my intuition. Can Holy Cross contain Jordan Scott and the 'gate receivers and a newly emerged weapon in Saraceno running it himself?

Of course, it cannot be overlooked just how much special teams might play into this contest. The two best return men in the Patriot League, as well as some of the best in the nation, will face off in the form of Steve Silva and Geoff Bean. If one team can exploit that area better than the other, it could be the touchdown that makes all the difference in this one.

With all that to digest, here's how I see it playing out: Colgate's got a good defense but Holy Cross will find a way to score some points. That is largely a given in my book. Colgate has got to find a way to score more, most likely in the recipe that has worked so well so far: Scott with a lot of carries and multiple receivers burning the Crusader secondary. The fact that it has been working so well is what leads me to believe in a Colgate victory here. Special teams play could swing it the other way, but I wouldn't be surprised if both teams kick away. The weather looks to be a non issue and it is parent's weekend at Holy Cross. How I wish this game was televised!

Predicted outcome: Colgate 28 Holy Cross 17. (Homer might be responsible for a 3-7 point swing in Colgate's favor)

Fordham at Georgetown

Winless Fordham goes to D.C. to try and get that first win against the Hoyas. While Georgetown has a better record on paper, they have been taking their fair share of lumps this season as well, most recently against Cornell. Georgetown would love to have a second Patriot League win under their belt as it would most likely put them solidly out of the basement of the conference in the fifth position - their best Patriot League season ever if I am not mistaken. And this would be with three league games still left to play.

The Fordham team I saw last weekend has a lot of work to do. Derric Daniels doesn't seem to be the answer at quarterback and James Prydatko can't do it all by himself. The defense has some bright spots but it is awfully tough to keep the intensity needed to win when you're 0-6 and the offense is largely spinning its wheels. Georgetown on the other hand has shown sparks of life and attitude could be the major difference in this one. As much as it has been the curse of the Hoyas to pick them to win in this column, I have to go with them again to repeat the win one week, lose the next cycle they've been on the past month.

Georgetown wins in a close one.

Predicted outcome: Georgetown 14 Fordham 10

Last week's record: 4-2. Season record: 22-17.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My AGS Top 25

1. Western Kentucky (1)
2. Cal Poly (3)
3. Furman (5)
4. William & Mary (7)
5. New Hampshire (8)
6. Northern Iowa (9)
7. Eastern Washington (10)
8. Hampton (11)
9. Northwestern St (12)
10. Massachusetts (13)
11. Alabama St (15)
12. Appalachian St (18)
13. Coastal Car (16)
14. James Madison (2)
15. Texas St (17)
16. North Dakota St (19)
17. Youngstown St (20)
18. Montana (4)
19. Brown (22)
20. Lehigh (23)
21. Southern Illinois (6)
22. Penn (25)
23. Holy Cross (NR)
24. Portland St (NR)
25. South Carolina St (NR)

Biggest Win: Massachusetts
Biggest Loss: Georgia Southern

Next team in: McNeese State. After that, if I wasn't a Colgate fan, I'd be tempted to slip us in. I see people voting for Hofstra or Eastern Illinois or Illinois State. Our record is just as good and we've beaten what will be a top 10 team in UMass. Our losses were to the worst teams on our schedule, but we're on a roll now. A win against Holy Cross puts us in around 25 I think. First things first though, we gotta win.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I Believe 3 In a Row Means We're On a Roll

23-0. Very nice game by the Raiders to say the least. They look like they are getting better every week, which is just what we all like to see. I was at the game today, so here are some of my thoughts:
  • First off, the field condition was excellent. Not playing last weekend probably saved Andy Kerr for the season. It was also kind of funny to see the groundscrew break out the John Deere Gators and roll the field at half time - like a Zamboni in hockey! I've never seen that before.
  • Good defense makes all the difference. We had plenty of three and outs, big tackles, sacks, etc. It was great to watch.
  • It is my opinion that right now we're winning games with skill positions on offense along with our defense. Saraceno is most definitely coming into his own. The way he was playing pass and catch so well today made me think I was watching Air Lehigh not Ground It Out Colgate. He is also making good decisions about when to pull the ball down and run it. Our offensive line play was adequate today, but definitely not dominating. We will need to rectify this if we are to win the league. A better defense is going to give us fits if our running game is not there. That said, Jordan Scott is going to be a good one. Nice balance of size and speed.
  • Colgate got to the red zone several times and came up empty. That worries me. It could have easily been 28-0 going into the half, not 10-0. Still, we are making improvements every down. In fact, the way we punched in the final touchdown was growth from the first quarter. We'll get there. I just hope it is soon enough.
  • We did some interesting things flexing Brent Dillingham at the tight end position and he even saw a play that had him end up at fullback. The more I watch him, the more I think he is going to be a big player in this league and a great advantage to us. He is a huge mismatch problem down the road.
  • We used DeWayne Long a lot. Long still looks like a man amongst boys sometimes.
  • Jeff Galletly played phenomenally. He was nursing a pulled hamstring last game, so it looked like it was better today. He led a very solid defensive front today. He plays like that for the rest of the season and he should be first team all Patriot League.
  • Our defensive continue to impress me. The are a solid group and on the young side to boot. Both Lucius Johnson and Raymon Taft saw some action today and if they're our second teamers, we're doing A O-K. I think our D backs can pretty much play with anyone. The biggest benefit being that it frees up our line to get a good rush and get a chance at a sack.
  • Stat wise it was an outstanding performance on defense. The biggest thing I wanted to know leaving the game was how much offense Fordham had. Turns out we held Fordham to 111 yards total offense, 57 rushing and 54 passing. The rushing came on 33 attempts so we held them to an average of 1.7 yards per rush. That's frankly outstanding.
  • The next biggest stat I wanted to know was Saraceno's rushing. He ended up leading the team with 92 yards. He made some very smart decisions out there and showed that he is a multiple threat.
  • There were a few more penalties then I am used to seeing Colgate have. We got nailed for a hit out of bounds that I thought was very questionable. The biggest penalty mistake was on a punt return that brought back another outstanding Geoff Bean return. Otherwise, they kicked away from him most of the time and Andrew Moore saw some time as Bean was hurt for a bit.
  • Kenny Parker was also out with a sprain but should play next week. Even still, Long, Erik Burke and David Morgan looked solid. Throw in Dillingham and Ben Evans, along with Scott even getting something from the backfield, and we've got a lot of weapons coming of age. Seeing Scott catch a pass out of the backfield is something I haven't seen Colgate do much lately.

So pretty much, I'm stoked. Great game by all facets of the team. Next up, Holy Cross, but we'll worry about that on Monday.

Scores around I-AA

Once again this season, plenty of interesting results to note. Within the Patriot League, it was somewhat a rough day. Lehigh was able to beat Yale in overtime and Holy Cross demolished Dartmouth, but Lafayette fell to Harvard, Georgetown was slaughtered by Cornell and Bucknell continues to have major problems, this week at the hands of Villanova.

Outside the Patriot League:

  • App. State takes it to Georgia Southern. That is huge for playoff and Southern Conference purposes. GSU might be done for this year. I have to wonder if the hounds will get a bit louder for their head coach's job.
  • Delaware drops its 3rd straight, all in the A-10. This time it was Richmond. You can pretty much kiss the postseason goodbye for the Hens. I would not count them out though from having something to say about who does win the A-10 this year. They are young and as the season goes on might get back on track.
  • UMass puts themselves in the drivers seat with a close win over JMU. God, I love that we have their own loss to our credit!
  • William & Mary comes back to score 21 in the fourth quarter to eventually win it in overtime against Northeastern. Impressive.
  • Furman needs double overtime to beat The Citadel.
  • Eastern Washington takes down Montana by two touchdowns.
  • Coastal Carolina saves their playoff hopes in an overtime win over Gardner Webb.
  • Youngstown State squeaks by Western Illinois to go to 6-1.

That's all for today. Now I need to recover from that amazing Notre Dame/USC ending!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Fordham Scouting Report

Well, I can only wait so long. I've been delaying this write up because I've been waiting for Fordham to post game notes online. I'm still waiting. Since the game is less than 24 hours away, I don't think I can wait any longer, so please forgive the length of this scouting report. I've got little to go on from Fordham.

(Editor's note: About half way through writing this, game notes came online. I've used them were I could.)

It's been a long time since Fordham won at Andy Kerr Stadium. One has to go back to the dark days of Raider football, the 1995 0-11 season, to find the only Ram win in Central New York. This year's crew from the Bronx comes to Hamilton having graduated some of the biggest names to come through their storied program. With an 0-5 record so far and an average of about 2 touchdowns a game, frankly, it has been noticed. It's also been a season so far full of road trips as this will be the fifth time in six games that the Rams have boarded a bus to play a game.


Fordham has been struggling in this department but does have some talent to be wary of if they can find a way to put it all together. For now, their main threat is running back James Prydatko who has racked up some nice rushing yards and is a threat in other facets as well. Quarterback Derric Daniels has struggled in his starting role this season and his back up could see some time if the day does not go well. Erik Conroy and Rashawn Haynes appear to be his main targets to throw too, as well as Daniels is a threat to run himself.

Part of the Fordham woes this season stem from an offensive line has been battered by injuries, as evidenced by a freshman and a sophomore starting at the guard positions. We may never know, but a healthy offensive line from training camp on out might have produced a different ending to a game or two this year.


Marcus Taylor and Jay Edwards are the big names for the Ram defense. They are a fast crew that matches up in a lot of places with Colgate. But regardless of matchups, Fordham has been giving up per game an average of 168 yards rushing, 220 yards passing and 30 points per game. Whatever the problem(s) is, this is a drop off from last season and if Fordham is to have any chance to win this game, they will need to keep Colgate to less than these averages.

In good news for Colgate, Mark Mushel has snuck back into the two deep after seeing some limited time last weekend against Princeton. As a two year start, Mark's absence has been noticed on the line. Should the need arise, it is good to know that Mushel is ready to go against Fordham.

Special Teams

On a good note, Fordham has probably got the best punter in the Patriot League in Anthony DiFino. They will need some good tackling to go with that punting as the big question will be, can Fordham stop Geoff Bean? Bean is currently 11th in the nation in kick off returns and 12th in punt returns. He is a threat to break a big one every time he touches the ball.

The Skinny

The weather and field conditions might not end up being great, but since when has that hurt Colgate? Run oriented, ball control offense with sure handed receivers seems to me a great formula when playing in less than ideal conditions. I don't see the weather providing Fordham with any opportunities to level the playing field other than if the slippery ball bounces some funny ways.

My biggest worry is that this team had talent on paper coming into the season. For whatever reason, it hasn't panned out that way. This is a team of junior and senior starters that has been beaten but should remember what it was like to win. Will this be the game that the cornered and hurting Rams decides to thrash out with all its got and take Colgate by surprise?

Some spirited play by Prydatko, along with Daniels finding his rhythm and Colgate sputtering because of a bouncy and slippery ball is the recipe for Colgate disaster. I do not think it will happen, but Raider fans should not go into this game too confident. There might be a Ram on the sideline who finally gets his call because the starter isn't producing and we could all watch lightning strike.

The keys to a Colgate victory are, as we are all coming to learn, quite simple. Jordan Scott for 100 yards rushing, multiple receivers touching the ball, significant time of possession advantage, solid run defense and smothering pass coverage, great field position from kick and punt returns, and lastly but most importantly, little to no turnovers. Simple to articulate I should say. Simple to execute? For the past two weeks, yes. Let's hope it continues.

Current weather forecast has Hamilton with a break in the constant drizzle and rain that has plagued the area. There is a chance of actually seeing the sun, but there is a greater chance for some more rain as the day wears on. It will be in the mid 60s, so for anyone who has been to Hamilton, you know it could be worse!

As always, Let's Go 'Gate!

That Wacky Ivory Tower

Sometimes, out of nowhere, a faculty member will show you just how out of touch with reality they are. Now, this faculty member isn't from Colgate (although I know we've got our share) but rather Rutgers. Seems this faculty member heads a group of interested Rutgers folk that want to get Rutgers out of the Big East and in to... hold your breath... The Patriot League!

(I'll give you a moment to compose yourself from laughing so hard.)

Man, that was a hoot, wasn't it? The good thing about this article is that it basically says what we all know: It would have to be a cold day in hell that the Patriot League takes in a public school of 26,000, much less a really cold day in hell when a BCS conference team leaves I-A for I-AA. Bottom line? We wouldn't want them and they wouldn't want us.

But this English professor William Dowling see our conference as the magic pill to ease the vile and dirty world of big time athletics. It's some nice press for our league and I know we've got a good thing going on here, but man, this guy is just clueless. He wants to turn Rutgers back to the way it was in 1961. This quote just might take the cake:

Dowling pointed to the Scarlet Knights' 1961 football season, arguably its most successful, as an example of what he believes should be the model for Rutgers. RU went undefeated, was nationally ranked and had consensus All-American Alex Kroll while facing mostly current Ivy League and Patriot League schools.

As Dowling continues to regroup his efforts and form a new Rutgers 1000, many of the former members continue to believe RU should forsake the lure of television contracts and national exposure and return to the model that worked so well for the university in 1961.
Clueless, absolutely clueless. College athletics of 1961 is nothing like college athletics of 2005. It's time for this man to retire.

Walk On Luck

It sounds like the Women's Ice Hockey team landed a pretty nice walk on player by sheer luck. Her name is Laura Jansen and she was recruited by some Division I schools but chose Colgate on other factors. Since she wasn't recruited, she thought she'd play club hockey here. Turns out Colgate could use another defensemen and after a few emails and a phone call, Laura will see some action this weekend.

If that's not a great story of college athletics, I don't know what is. Good luck this season Laura!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Prognosticating the Patriot: Week 7

Well Patriot League fans, we've got ourselves a Pennant Race. For the first time in a long time, it's not a two team race that is shaping up. It's not even a three team race. Nope, after Holy Cross went to Bethlehem last Saturday and newly minted Walter Payton Award candidate Steve Silva led the Saders to victory, we've got four teams with serious chances of taking home the Patriot League title this year. This is very exciting stuff folks, so hold on to your seats. The ride might get bumpy from here on out.

This week brings a large Patriot/Ivy slate of games to the table and Colgate starts off league play for the first time. Let's keep that out of conference record moving in the right direction, shall we? First up:

Fordham at Colgate

Colgate's first crack at a conference mate comes after beating the Tigers of Princeton for their second straight victory. They welcome the Rams of Fordham to Andy Kerr stadium where the boys from the Bronx will be looking to salvage something from a disappointing 0-5 start. In a season that has seen the Raiders reach the A-10 upset heights and sink to the NEC upset lows, the outcome of this game should largely rest on what Colgate squad comes to play.

In order to pull out the upset, Fordham will need to ride the back of tough nosed running back James Prydatko and find some offensive production that has been sorely lacking so far. More importantly, the coaching staff will need to find something to get team morale upbeat. It is a tall task for the Rams.

Unfortunately for Fordham fans, I think Colgate has turned a corner this season. Freshman tailback Jordan Scott could be on track for three straight 100 yard games, the Colgate offense controls the ball well and the Colgate receivers have become a squad full of threats to contend with. Throw in steady defensive play and great special teams play from Geoff Bean, and I think Colgate rolls to three in a row.

Predicted outcome: Colgate 21 Fordham 10

Villanova at Bucknell

After getting in the win column for the first time two weeks ago, Bucknell went right back down to reality against the University of Pennsylvania last weekend, leaving town with a 53-7 butt whipping. This week's prospects do not look much better, as the Wildcats of Villanova come to town.

Villanova has been a little down this year and dealing with an injury or two, but seeing how Penn dismantled the Bison, and seeing further how Villanova beat Penn, one has to extrapolate a long day for Bucknell. The sole hope for a Bucknell victory lies with one man show Dante Ross having another day for the record books. But Villanova is not Marist. I just don't see it happening.

Predicted outcome: Villanova 42 Bucknell 10

Georgetown at Cornell

This will be a very important game for Georgetown, who travels to Ithaca on the heels of an nice overtime win over perennial mid-major power Duquense. Those are the kinds of wins the Hoyas should be able to pull out, so they fact that they were able to put away the Dukes could mean good things for the team from our nation's capital.

They will face a Cornell team that will be upbeat and confident after notching an important Ivy victory against conference big boy Harvard. Cornell's an improving team that will give an undisciplined defense a long day on the field.
On paper, Cornell should be the favorite. They beat Bucknell by more, just beat a big team in Harvard and are at home. While the readers might think this has to do with the Colgate/Cornell rivalry, I however smell upset here. The Hoya defense should be used to the type of offense Cornell runs. The misdirection and mobile quarterback should not be any type of surprise based on the Hoya 'O'. Stick Georgetown on the schedule between last year's Ivy champ Harvard and a Brown team that is clamouring to get to the top, and the Big Red could be caught looking.

The Hoyas have looked pretty respectable the past three games, going 2-1 in the process. I'm going out on a limb, but I think Georgetown is due.

Predicted outcome: Georgetown 17 Cornell 14 OT

Dartmouth at Holy Cross

When a team has to follow a monumental win like Holy Cross had last weekend, there is a risk of a let down game the following week. Facing the Big Green of Dartmouth only adds to that danger, as Dartmouth has slid right back into familiar ways following their season opening upset of Colgate. Coming to Fitton at 1-3, no matter how hard Gilmore gets the troops fired up, the same juices that were there last Saturday just won't be there against the Big Green. The Saders will have to rely on focus and not adrenaline to get the 'W' here.

The good news is that there is strong reason to believe that one major win isn't going to satisfy this group of seniors who have been through a program that hasn't seen these type of good times in a long time. The Crusader hunger surely must run deep and if they perchance stumble out of the gate on Saturday, I have every bit of faith that they'll get their act together fast. Holy Cross doesn't make a lot of mistakes and they will give Steve Silva plenty of opportunities to beat you.

Holy Cross continues their comeback season.

Predicted outcome: Holy Cross 32 Dartmouth 13

Harvard at Lafayette

The rematch has probably been on Lafayette's players mind this entire week, as last year's loss to Harvard was one of two Ivy losses to mar an otherwise great season. Harvard looks to be on the down swing right now, with injuries and back to back losses to Lehigh and Cornell having this Crimson season turn sour. The Leopards on the other hand have picked up where they left off last season, and boast a league best 5-1 record going into Saturday with Columbia being the most recent victim to add to the list.

Lafayette hasn't been winning by much; but more importantly, they have been winning. Good teams find ways to win ball games in tight situations. Harvard will be some of the toughest competition the Pards have faced in several weeks, especially if some of the injured Crimson find their way onto the field Saturday.

I think that Lafayette is a team that will be just good enough to win many times this year, and this weekend should prove no exception. It won't be a blowout and the game will be competitive throughout. But come the fourth quarter, the Pards will find a way to continue their impressive run to date by sending Harvard spiraling down with three losses in a row.

Predicted outcome: Lafayette 24 Harvard 18

Yale at Lehigh

After last week's loss, Lehigh has got two choices. Start thinking about what could have been or start playing like what still can be. This week's non conference game against the Eli of Yale is step one in a Mountain Hawk six step program of redemption.

Yale has had a split year so far, taking care of Cornell and Dartmouth but losing out of conference to Holy Cross and San Diego. They've unfortunately drawn a match against Lehigh that I think will not go well. I believe Lehigh will not go quietly after last week's loss and will be looking for a big win here to rebound them back into good spirits before some crucial league games ahead.

The condition of the field at Goodman could be a factor in the contest. After last weekend's deluge and the subsequent rain that has continued to fall, even with good weather on tap for Saturday, the field may still not be dried out and the grounds crew may not have had ideal conditions to get the surface ready for Saturday. If conditions are poor, this game could be closer than it should be. However, I'm going to go with the assumption that all's well and Air Lehigh can get back to work.

Lehigh wins in a big one.

Predicted outcome: Lehigh 32 Yale 14

Last week's record: 4-2. Season record 18-15. My upset prediction was 70 miles off last weekend. For Colgate's sake, lets hope that trend doesn't continue!

Fordham Game Notes Up


Normally I look at them to help me with the scouting report and with the Prognosticating piece, but some facts on the sheet really stood out to me so I thought I'd share them. Take a look at these facts I did not realize:

  • Colgate is the least penalized team in the Patriot League (137 yards in 5 games)
  • Colgate leads the league in time of possesion (35:19 per game)
  • Chris Williams leads the Patriot League in interceptions with four (not really a surprise since he's ranked nationally)
  • Mike Rava leads the Patriot League in field goals per game (1.4 per game)
  • Mike Saraceno is second in the Patriot League in passing yardage (175 per game)
  • DeWayne Long is second in the Patriot League in total receptions (23 total)
Those are very interesting stats to me. The first two show that Colgate remains a disciplined team and that they are playing the type of football they are good at: controlling the clock. The last three are interesting to me because we had some offensive troubles to start the year and yet, we're still putting up some numbers league wise. Saraceno's standing really boggles my mind because he was out for a bit and had all of those interceptions. Now that it looks like he's settled down, he might just get that average higher and lead this league.

It's all food for thought, but I think Colgate football is finding its groove and will only be getting better as the season goes on. Next up: Fordham. Let's Go 'Gate!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Two in a Row for Jordan Scott

Jordan Scott earns Patriot League Rookie of the Week for the second week in a row. Nice job Jordan!

Typical Patriot League Disrespect

The more I stew on this, the more I get pissed off. So I thought I'd share. The Sports Network's writer, Matt Dougherty, had some comments in his most recent article that illustrate to me complete and utter unfounded bias.

This year has been a crazy one in I-AA and the upsets have taken place all over. No team has stood out as a clear front runner to win several conferences, much less the national championship. Dougherty makes this point by saying:

The depth in the Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Gateway, Southern and Southland Conferences will keep the races interesting on a weekly basis, and the last playoff spots could leave room for heated debate in November.
Hmm... I thought the Patriot League had a very interesting race going on? Oh, wait, he's making a statement about depth. So why doesn't the Patriot League fit in? Reading later on in the article tells me why:

Holy Cross put a punctuation on its early-season success by stunning Lehigh, 13-10, on Saturday to move to 4-2. The Crusaders’ only losses came against Delaware and Harvard. With a mediocre season for the Patriot League, the Crusaders should be in the hunt for the title down to the wire.
Mediocre season? We've got four teams with a legitimate shot at winning the Patriot League, and it's not because of depth. No, no. It's because we're mediocre this year.

How can you make a statement and not see the ridiculousness of it? Let's look at the A-10: Towson beats Delaware and Rhode Island. Rhode Island beats William & Mary. William and Mary beats New Hampshire. And that's just in conference! James Madison loses to Coastal Carolina, Richmond loses to Lafayette and Massachusetts loses to Colgate. But that's depth dear readers! It's soooo different than mediocrity. Can't you see the difference?

What's that you say? Fordham's 0-5 and Bucknell is 1-4? That's what he's getting at? Well I'll take his Fordham and give him Northeastern. For Bucknell, he can have a pick of Maine, Richmond or Villanova, all sitting at 2-3.

We've got four teams who could all end with six or more wins, all having a shot at the Patriot League Championship. That's depth. That's a great thing for this league. That is not, in any shape or form, mediocrity.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

My AGS Top 25

It was a crazy week filled with upsets. This poll business is getting harder as the season goes on, not easier!

1. Western Kentucky (3)
2. James Madison (4)
3. Cal Poly (5)
4. Montana (7)
5. Furman (8)
6. Southern Illinois (9)
7. William & Mary (13)
8. New Hampshire (1)
9. Northern Iowa (2)
10. Eastern Washington (10)
11. Hampton (12)
12. Northwestern St (16)
13. Massachusetts (17)
14. Georgia Southern (19)
15. Alabama St (18)
16. Coastal Car (21)
17. Texas St (22)
18. Appalachian St (14)
19. North Dakota St (11)
20. Youngstown St (NR)
21. Montana St (24)
22. Brown (25)
23. Lehigh (6)
24. Stephen F. Austin (NR)
25. Penn (NR)


Saturday, October 08, 2005

What a day in I-AA!

First and foremost, great win by the Raiders today down in New Jersey. I was not at the game, but it sounded like a solid effort in pretty bad weather. Jordan Scott puts up another 100 yard game, Erik Burke makes some more big plays, the defense shuts down the Tiger running game and Geoff Bean gets the whole party started with a big return. Who could ask for more?

Still, we've got to take each week as it comes, so after the celebrating tonight, this crew better get their heads on straight to host a Fordham team that would love nothing more than to turn their season around starting against us. I'm quietly optimistic that we've got something special brewing, but we're facing the most important games of the year ahead of us. If any of you fans out there are contemplating the trip up to Andy Kerr, the team would surely love a loud and supportive crowd for the Patriot League opener. Long range forecasts predict mid 60's and a 30% chance of rain, so if that holds it could be a nice drive to see some fall foliage and your favorite college team play!

Colgate's win was hardly the big story of the day though. Big congratulations are in order for the Crusaders as they gut one out against League front runner Lehigh in monsoon conditions. The season is long, but the Saders might be able to look back at this win as the key point to their season. Confidence is high and they've got two of their toughest remaining games at home, Colgate and Lafayette. That said, I think the Patriot League is still wide open. Holy Cross, Lafayette, Colgate and Lehigh all have a chance to still claim the autobid by seasons end. There will be more upsets along the way as well, so don't count out Bucknell, Fordham or Georgetown from having something to say about who gets to go to the playoffs. All in all, it's a very exciting year.
Looking at how everyone else in the Patriot League did, I was happy to see Georgetown come through and beat Duquense in overtime. Those are the kinds of games the Hoyas should win. Lafayette helps improve the Patriot League/Ivy League win loss record as well by besting Columbia, but unfortunately Bucknell and Fordham fell to their Ivy foes pretty hard. No upset bid by Dante Ross and the Bison was in the cards. Oh well, I knew I smelt an upset, I was just off by 70 miles to the south.

Looking at the greater I-AA scoreboard, the Top 25 is littered with more upsets. This year is really outstanding in the way that top teams are getting shot down left and right. Parity reigns in I-AA land. Take a look at some of these shockers:

#1 UNH falls hard to #18 William and Mary 42-10
#4 Northern Iowa loses to unranked Missouri St. 24-21
#8 Cal Poly is smacking down #9 North Dakota St. 30-0 in the 3rd quarter as I write this
#10 Lehigh lost to Holy Cross 13-10
#15 Delaware lost to Hofstra 10-6
#19 Harvard lost to Cornell 27-13
#20 UC-Davis lost to South Dakota St. 16-14

Add to it that #2 Western Kentucky squeaks by Illinois State and there are no safe bets in I-AA this year my friends. That is exactly why 0-5 Fordham coming to town next Saturday should in no way be overlooked by the matchup at Fitton Field that follows. The Raiders need to build on the Princeton win and continue that winning formula of great defense, outstanding special teams, mistake free offense and opportunistic play making. That formula can take us a long way this year.
Now, time to figure out my AGS Top 25 ballot. Definitely one to sleep on.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Looking Good

I was able to get to the men's hockey opener tonight against UMass-Lowell, and boy was I in for a treat! The Raiders manhandled the Riverhawks by the tune of 6-2. Having followed Colgate hockey for some time, tonight was the best I've seen a Colgate team look before the holidays. It was exciting to see.
Some highlights and thoughts:
-Mark Dekanich probably won't be a huge question mark in goal for long. He was solid throughout the contest. In the right place at the right time and not a lot of rebounds for second opportunities for UMass.
-There is a ton of offense on the ice. Six points and our top two scorers didn't get a goal. We've probably got at least six legitimate threats with the puck so far: Both Smyths, Burton, Campaner, Wilson and Fulton. More should emerge too; Tataryn could be the next one to take his game up a notch.
-This freshman class looks goooooood. They all played, and they didn't play like freshman. Torti and St. Pierre in particular stood out. I'm loving scholarships right now.
-The physical condition of the team looked great. They had more juice in their legs than UMass. These guys are in shape.
I'm crossing my fingers that this team keeps up this level of play throughout the year. These early games are important, so getting that first win for the new crew and for Dekanich - especially against the #16 team in the nation - is huge. This could be a good season hockey fans.

Princeton Scouting Report

New year, same situation. Princeton plays Colgate starting out 3-0 and looking for that win to catapult them into the Ivy season. Last year we were able to come from behind with some sheer athleticism and determination. This year could prove to be a similar battle that goes down to the wire.

Princeton comes into this game flying high off a 43-3 thrashing of Columbia. Other wins include a three point win over San Diego and a two point win over the Patriot League's own Lafayette. This is their last game of a three game homestand.

Looking at the Tigers, in many ways they have a lot in common with the Big Red. I can only hope that they will have the outcome in common as well.


Princeton, much like Cornell, has been working two quarterbacks. Jeff Terrell looks to be the main signal caller for the Tigers, with Bill Foran as the other option. Terrell is a junior that probably won't be the one to beat Colgate but is a threat to throw and run and hasn't been making that many mistakes. Terrell enjoys an all senior offensive line that has only allowed one sack so far this year.

The Tigers have a tandem in the backfield as well, with Cleo Kirkland looking to be the larger threat. He ran well last weekend, picking up 130 yards against Columbia. The name Kirkland should be familiar to Colgate fans, as his brother Andrew is a freshman defensive back your very own Raiders (good choice by the way Andrew). Rob Toresco compliments Kirkland in the backfield and gets a large amount of the touches. That one-two punch accounts for a big portion of their offense.

Greg Fields is supposed to be the go to wideout, however Princeton's third receiver, Brenden Circle, is leading the team in most statistics. We've done a great job of keeping Fields under wraps in past games, so if the Tigers need to pass, Circle might be the one moving the chains on third down. Princeton will use their tight end, so our linebackers and safeties will have to keep an eye on John Dekkar underneath.

Although the Tigers erupted for 43 points last weekend, looking a little closer to the details shows that they have had a little trouble finishing off a drive. In eight trips to the red zone against Columbia, five field goals were kicked. Apparently Princeton has burned some time outs trying to get the offense set, so apparently there is still some indecision there.


In another Cornell similarity, Princeton is feeling pretty good about their defense, especially their running stopping capability. They lead the Ivy in run defense and are eighth in all of I-AA. This defense hasn't yet to surrender a first half touchdown this season.

The heart of the Tiger D is Justin Stull; Stull is Princeton's Jared Nepa. He's a two time captain and leads the defense in tackles from his linebacker position. He also had a big game against the 'gate last year with 13 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack. You will probably hear his name a lot.

Brett Barrie at the nose guard position is a force on the defensive line and is joined by mostly veterans on the line. Jay McCareins looks to be leading the defensive backfield and had three picks in the game against San Diego, but lets not all forget about Tim Strickland. Strickland picked off three passes of his own last year right in Hamilton.

All told, this is an experienced defensive group that focuses on stopping the run and can be opportunistic with turnovers (just ask Lafayette).

Special Teams

Colgate might be able to exploit this area of the game much like we did against Cornell. Princeton has given up some big returns in their past two games against Columbia and Lafayette. Geoff Bean is the real deal at the return spot so if they can I expect the Tigers to try and kick away from him.

Senior placekicker Derek Javarone has been solid throughout his career and needs one more field goal to tie the career Princeton record. He had a Ivy record day last Saturday, booting five field goals and scoring 19 points, both records for a kicker.

The Skinny

Colgate will need a similar performance against the Tigers like they did against the Big Red in order to be victorious. It seems like a simple formula: good defense, smart quarterback play, varied play calling, 100+ yards rushing from a tailback and big returns on kicks. Easy, right?

Let's all hope so. Princeton is never an easy game and in fact the loss to them in 2002 is the reason why Colgate sat home for the playoffs. I'm quietly optimistic for some consistency this week, and think that Colgate will be the more athletic team on the field tomorrow. If Saraceno can make the right decisions, they should not have an answer for our receivers. DeWayne Long, Kenny Parker, Erik Burke and Brent Dillingham at tight end have made themselves into a serious offensive threat that will demand respect from Princeton. Hopefully that opens up the running game for Jordan Scott, and Colgate is in business.

On defense, Colgate just needs to bring a quality game with no mental mistakes. I think our defensive backs will be able to keep the Tiger receivers in check, so it could be another eight man in the box day. I'm slightly concerned about Terrell's mobility, but he does not run as much as Kuhn for Cornell. We should be able to contain him.

The weather could be a factor with rain in the forecast.

As always, Let's Go 'Gate!

Patriot League profiles 20 years of Football

The Patriot League website is running a piece about 20 years of Patriot League football. They are profiling Bucknell, Colgate, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh and Fordham. First up is Lafayette. These are nice little history lessons on our league brethern. Give it a read.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Week 6: Prognosticating the Patriot

Redemption! The Patriot League had a great run last weekend, with all teams winning their out of conference match ups. This week brings us one league match up as most teams wrap up their out of conference schedule before league play goes into full swing next weekend. We've got more Patriot League and Ivy League contests, so let's all hope for some more Patriot dominance!

Holy Cross at Lehigh

On the surface, this looks to be one of the easier picks to make. Both teams have played Delaware and Harvard, with Holy Cross losing both and Lehigh splitting with an overtime loss to the Hens. Lehigh looks to be the better team and Lehigh is at home. Easy, right?

But if I'm a Mountain Hawk fan (and even if I'm an Engineer fan), I would be quite concerned about a possible let down game. VMI is probably not as good as Holy Cross this year, and they gave Lehigh plenty to fret about following Lehigh's loss to Delaware. Holy Cross is coming along nicely this year and is led by a senior offense that is very hungry to leave a lasting mark on Holy Cross and the Patriot League before they leave.

I'm not willing to go out on a limb and pick the upset here; nor do I think it will actually happen. Lehigh is gelling at the right time and should be more focused on their first league game then they were against VMI. They can put up a lot of points and have a defense that has shown can play with the best. Holy Cross would need a few funny bounces to pull this one out, but I think in the end it will be a good game that shows just how far Holy Cross has come this year.

Predicted outcome: Lehigh 32 Holy Cross 21

Colgate at Princeton

The Raiders and Tigers tend to always have some hard fought battles, and this year's installment should prove no different. Colgate is coming off a very nice win against Central New York rival Cornell where finally an offense appeared to compliment the very nice defensive play of the Raiders. Princeton spent the past weekend pounding Ivy League doormat Columbia, who was on their way to a 2-0 start before running into the Tigers.

Questions abound about both teams. Can Colgate stay consistent? Are the offensive woes behind the Raiders now that Mike Saraceno has gained some confidence at quarterback and freshman tailback Jordan Scott has emerged as the go to guy? Is Princeton a legitimate Ivy contender this year, or will they start out strong only to fade like last year?

The players, year and the venue might have changed, but I think that 2004's contest will be a good model to base this year on. It will be a tight contest, and might involve Colgate taking advantage of defensive opportunities to come from behind to win. In the end though, I think the difference in this game comes down to the decisions of Saraceno and the potent receiver corps of the Raiders. Geoff Bean on returns might have something to say about it as well.

Predicted outcome: Colgate 28 Princeton 21

Fordham at Brown

Fordham had the week off last weekend, and all of the Patriot League hopes that it was time well served. The Rams are staring in the face of their worst start since 1999, and that 0-11 campaign was not one that the folks in the Bronx are looking to remember. They travel to Rhode Island to face a Brown team coming off of a convincing victory against state rival URI; the same URI team that down the Rams 34-20 to start the season.

A week off can do wonders for a team. Some players that were banged up might be back on the field; some new faces might get some reps in hopes of finding a spark. But if Fordham had to pick opponents to face, this Brown team would likely not have been on of them. The Rams will have their hands full on defense trying to stop Payton Candidate Nick Hartigan. I just don't know if they can get it done.

Predicted outcome: Brown 35 Fordham 17

Duquense at Georgetown

Georgetown, a team that has been hot and cold at times this year, maybe found a bit of consistency in following up a win with a close loss to Lafayette. They welcome the Dukes to their new stadium in hopes of bringing the record up to .500 and maybe a better second half to their season.

Duquense has been a bit hot and cold themselves this season. After starting out 2-0, they've dropped a pair of Ivy games, including one to aforementioned Columbia. The Dukes are young and are on the road. Georgetown earned mid-major redemption with a win against Stony Brook two weekends ago. I hope I'm not kicking myself on this one, Hoyas. Don't let me down!

Predicted outcome: Georgetown 17 Duquense 14

Columbia at Lafayette

In this week's Feline Fight, the Lions and the Leopards going to battle in Easton. Columbia was frankly embarrassed last weekend by another feline, the Tigers of Princeton, and suddenly that 2-0 confidence appears to have withered away like the grass in Delaware this summer. Lion fans could be in for another trip around the bottom of I-AA this year.

Lafayette looks to have had some trouble against the Hoyas, and after losing to Princeton the week before, the Pards cannot rest on any laurels come Saturday. They've had some trouble and injuries on offense, so a botched play here and a turnover there could put them teetering on the verge of upset. I think Lafayette is a better team than Columbia, and even if it is close, they should come out ahead. My gut though tells me the Pard O breaks out this weekend and Columbia starts breaking down at the first sign of trouble. The Leopards win this one in the second half.

Predicted outcome: Lafayette 26 Columbia 7

Bucknell at Penn

The Bison were able to breathe a sigh of relief last weekend, as they finally entered the win column with a solid performance against Marist (damn upset prediction!). More importantly, they found themselves another one man show in Dante Ross. Ross had a game for the ages, as the normal starting cornerback played old school style, and took over the reigns at quarterback as well. He proved so adequate at running the offense (if you can call 268 yards rushing and three touchdowns adequate) that the Bucknell coaching staff has to second guessing themselves for not looking at him in the QB spot sooner.

The Quakers find themselves with a team looking much like 2004 so far. One mid-major win, one Dartmouth win, and a darn close loss to Philly foe Villanova. Talk about consistency!

Penn is a solid Ivy team that will be in the hunt for the league title come November. They're at home and they should be the toughest defense and offense the Bison have faced so far. However, looking at the picks so far, a guy's got to smell an upset every now and again. I-AA is full of parity this year. Bucknell found a spark on offense. They supposedly had an outstanding defense that we haven't heard from this year. This has probably been the best week of practice the Bison have had all year. Throw in the fact that Penn could easily be overlooking this game with the Ivy slate starting up next week, and I see a perfect recipe for an upset. Let it never be said that I was afraid to go out on a limb!

Predicted outcome: Bucknell 27 Penn 18

Last week's record: 4-1. Season record 14-13. Now I'm getting warmed up!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

My AGS Top 25

1. New Hampshire (1)
2. Northern Iowa (3)
3. Western Kentucky (5)
4. James Madison (6)
5. Cal Poly (7)
6. Lehigh (8)
7. Montana (9)
8. Furman (10)
9. Southern Illinois (11)
10. Eastern Washington (12)
11. North Dakota St (13)
12. Hampton (14)
13. William & Mary (15)
14. Appalachian St (16)
15. Delaware (2)
16. Northwestern St (17)
17. Massachusetts (18)
18. Alabama St (21)
19. Georgia Southern (25)
20. Harvard (4)
21. Coastal Car (NR)
22. Texas St (NR)
23. UC Davis (NR)
24. Montana St (NR)
25. Brown (NR)

Biggest Win: Lehigh
Biggest Loss: Delaware

Dropped out: South Carolina St., Western Carolina, Idaho St., Rhode Island, Wofford.
Bubblicious: Lafayette.

Scott looks great for 'Gate

The Post Standard write up on the Cornell game is here.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Women's Basketball Scholarship Commit

Laura Grimm of Serra Catholic out of the Pittsburgh area commits to Colgate.

She's a 5'6" guard that has been a three year starter, scoring 1,395 points and setting a school record 213 3 pointers. Keep in mind she still has a senior year to play.

It is also great to notice she's third in her class with a 4.9 GPA. We won her over Bucknell, Maine, Navy, Vermont, William & Mary and Youngstown State. Great job Colgate and welcome aboard Laura!