My rants and insight into Colgate athletics and Patriot League sports

Thursday, December 29, 2005

2006 Preseason Poll Results

Thank you to everyone who voted in my most recent poll, asking who will be the 2006 preseason Patriot League football favorite. The results:

Lehigh 39%
Colgate 28%
Lafayette 22%
Holy Cross 5%
Bucknell 4%
Georgetown 1%
Fordham 0%

As I'm sure it's no surprise to readers, the same three teams find themselves at the top again. I can only wonder though if anyone would have changed their votes if they voted before all of the coaching changes that have taken place. Anyone want to recant their vote?

A new poll is up, this time its very 'Colgate specific'. What era of Colgate football was better: the 1930's... or the 1995-2005 'Biddle Years'? (Thanks to Tunkmaster for the idea!)
My personal opinion: The Biddle Years. You cannot undervalue the 1932 season or the general greatness of Andy Kerr's teams back then. Wins against teams like Syracuse, Penn State or Brown (back in the day) are amazing accomplishments. But when I think of the consistency that Biddle has brought to Colgate and the feats that have been accomplished in a 'modern' era of football, the present time gets the nod by a nose.


  • This is a little beside the point but let's not forget the Fred Dunlap era. For those who played under Fred, and for those of us who were at Colgate during those years, he was a terrific coach and human being. I feel that in some ways he was the "Biddle" before there was a Dick Biddle.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:32 PM  

  • I would agree with that assessment. I played for Fred at Lehigh and he certainly got Colgate back into the mix in the late 70's. He is a classy guy. He's currently under consideration to the Penske Athletics Hall of Fame at Lehigh--which is something, considering he had an overall losing record with the Brown and White. Our program was in such disaray when he took over, it was 5 years before the wins started coming in bunches; but once they did, they haven't really stopped for 35 years. He is really credited with creating what Lehigh football has become since 1970.

    By Blogger Ngineer, at 4:33 PM  

  • I would take those comments a step further. By not including the Dunlap era in the poll, I can only conclude that Colgate13 is not old enough to have lived through it. With no disrespect to the amazing achievements of the 2003 team and Dick Biddle over the past 10 years, in my opinion the Dunlap teams of the early 1980s were the strongest Colgate teams of the modern era. Don't be fooled by the less stellar won/lost records - Colgate played a MUCH stronger schedule then. They usually played 3 bona fide I-A teams each year, and most of their losses were to these teams (though there were memorable wins as well). Teams like Bucknell and Lafayette were being weaned off the schedule, and teams such as Cenn Conn St would never have been considered. Games against Atlantic-10 teams were usually wins, not "stretch games" as they are today. Dunlap was 17-10 against A-10/Yankee Conf teams (7-1 from '81-'83, only loss to Delaware in 2nd round of playoffs); Biddle is 3-11.

    Another indicator of the strength of those teams is the number of players in the early and mid-80s who went on to successful pro careers at skill positions. RBs Rich Erenberg and Kenny Gamble each played 4 yrs with the Steelers and Chiefs. Greg Manusky was an NFL middle linebacker for 12 years, and Eugene Robinson a safety for 16 yrs (last time I looked he was still in the top-10 career interceptions in the NFL). Steve Calabria was rated the 2nd highest QB (behind Bernie Kosar) coming out in 1985 by a pro scouting service, and signed a lucrative contract with the WFL. Tom Burgess didn't start for Colgate for 3 years, then went on to become one of the best QBs in CFL history.

    As someone who lived through and enjoyed both the Dunlap and Biddle eras, I think there was more buzz and big-time feel during the former. I remember nearly 13,000 fans being shoehorned into Andy Kerr for the 1977 game with Rutgers. In contrast, I was at critical home games that determined league titles such as Bucknell in 1997, Lehigh in 1999, and Fordham in 2003, where a smaller Andy Kerr was at least half empty. During the Dunlap era I attended at least 10 games where the attendance was at least 30,000, including such venues as the Carrier Dome, Beaver Stadium and Giants Stadium. There was more consistent mention of Colgate football in the national sports press back then. We were not a Cinderella team in the I-AA playoffs but Sports Illustrated's pick to win the title in 1983. If not for ill-timed injuries to Rich Erenberg that kept him out of the 1982 and 1983 playoffs Colgate could well have won the titles those years. (Without Erenberg, we lost 7 and 1 point games to teams that played in the championship game.) And remember the players had to threaten litigation against the Colgate administration to even play in the playoffs!

    The attention gained by the Colgate football program in the early 1980s led to the wrongheaded campaign by the administration to downgrade the program, which unfortunately was all too successful. It is amazing that Dick Biddle was able to rescue the program from the death spiral it was in the the mid-90s, and for that we can all be very grateful.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 AM  

  • Wow, some passionate Fred Dunlap defense! Thank you all for the contributions.

    In my own defense, the question I posed came straight from the Colgate fan board. It was a simple this or that; it was not meant to be a slight to the teams from that era.

    I will though, stand by my choice. I was 'alive' during the Dunlap era but admittedly I was a youngster before my time. I have met Dunlap and players from that era, so I am not completely out of touch with what happened then.

    I will say this though: My measure of 'greatness' is how the Colgate team stacked up against the nation within their division. Colgate football, for better and worse, has changed since the Dunlap years. All of Division I has. Some of the fond memories of games in the late 70s are frankly from a different era in Division I football. Measuring Colgate up to the best in our division under Fred Dunlap as compared to the 1930s teams or what Biddle has accomplished (especially in 2003) says to me those eras were 'better'. Now, take Colgate's team from 1977 and put them in the Patriot League in 2005 and we all know it would be a great team capable of 2003 or better. But times change, and that's not the standard for me - nor is crowd size or press.

    The 1930 teams were some of the top teams in the nation. Biddle's teams are ranked top nationally most years and have even made it all the way to the final game. I can say great things about the Dunlap teams, but I can't really say that. That's why I choose between those two and why the current team takes first place in my book.

    Seriously, thanks again for the great comments.

    By Blogger colgate13, at 9:23 PM  

  • Amen to all the comments here and on the Colgate board. Let's never forget that Colgate is a unique and special place, and the determination of its athletic program to test itself against the best is something to be proud of!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:02 PM  

  • Since the dead can't speak for themselves, I would like to point out that from 1929-1934 Andy Kerr's teams went 47-5-1 against schedules that included Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Indiana, in addition to Penn State and Syracuse. During that span they also played 6 games at Yankee Stadium against then-national powers Tulane and NYU. The greatness of Andy Kerr and those Colgate teams is widely acknowledged by non-Colgate football historians. Kerr is a charter inductee in the College Football Hall of Fame. He is cited as being responsible, along with Pop Warner and Amos Alonzo Stagg, for the evolution of football to the game we know today.

    I question the propriety of favorably comparing current teams to those legendary Colgate squads, especially following a year in which Colgate 1) lost to a Central Connecticut State at home, 2) lost to a Dartmouth team which then went 1-8 following their opening win against us, 3) gave up 50 points at home for the first time in the 115-year history of Colgate football, and in a critical league game, and finally 4) suffered an embarrassingly lopsided defeat (34-0 at halftime) on national TV in the first round of the I-AA playoffs to a team that then lost in the second round.

    Humility, and respect for those in the past who blazed trails before you, are virtues. Greatness is not self-proclaimed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:15 AM  

  • Fair points - but IMO there is some definite historical shine to that point of view. In addition to Big Ten schools, Penn State and SU, those years included games against teams like St. Lawrence, Hampden-Syndey, Bethany, Niagra, Mississippi College, Case Institute, Ohio Northern and Saint Bonaventure.

    Also, the names today might carry more weight then they did back then. Penn State was 2-5 in that 1932 year, with its two wins against Sewanee and Lebanon Valley. Syracuse was a better 4-4, but against the same types of teams Colgate was playing. Not to mention games again Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State were all losses.

    So you chose to single out this past year as an example of how much lesser these current teams are? If you want to play that game, you're selectively choosing to ignore the end of the 1930s and Colgate football.

    1937 3-5
    1938 2-5
    1939 2-5-1

    Last time I checked in 'Biddle's' decade we haven't had a losing season. What's even funnier about using this past season as an example of 1930's greatness is the fact no one picked us to win! For 95% of I-AA programs the 2005 season would have been a rebuilding year. For Colgate, it was another league championship and trip to the playoffs! That's a great program!

    Most importantly though, you seem to miss the purpose of the poll was plain old fun. A 'what if' that could never have a real answer. No one is disrespecting the Colgate teams of yore, nor is any current player extolling their own greatness. The people who have voted have split the poll almost 50/50. What's the problem again?

    By Blogger colgate13, at 8:56 PM  

  • What a bunch of below the belt garbage. Did Kerr not have losing seasons? You old timers should learn some humility yourself!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:56 PM  

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