My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

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!


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