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IN LEHMAN'S TERMS: Let the Games, Gambling Begin on Ivy League Gridiron

Here is your first installment of Ivy football picks. Now I say first hopefully, because if I’m at all decent at this, maybe they’ll let me do it every week. As if that’s not enough pressure, I didn’t re-enter my NFL betting pool and Chris Simms apparently is not a good fantasy quarterback. So this column may be all that’s left for me in this world in terms of proving my football acumen.

I can already hear the grumbling: “Picking 1-AA football games? What does that prove? Who cares?” And to you I say fie! Because a five-year-old could tell you the Colts are good and the Browns are bad. But how many people can promise that the Leopards are good and the Big Green is bad? Huh?

Without further ado…

HARVARD VS. HOLY CROSS (1-1)

Rule No. 112 of forecasting football: Never bet against a six-foot-five redhead quarterback like Harvard’s Chris Pizzotti. But here’s the catch: You know how I know he’s a carrot top? ‘Cause he was standing on the sidelines last season in jeans and no helmet, out for the year with a back injury. So while I’m mesmerized by his orange locks, maybe green is the more operative color, as in inexperienced.

Fortunately, the Crusaders run defense is suspect, allowing Northeastern nearly 200 rushing yards in a home loss on Saturday, and the Crimson has a little tailback who goes by the name of Clifton Dawson. He’s basically the greatest. Give him a lead in the second half and he’ll wear these guys out eating the clock. It says here Pizzotti gets him one.

Prediction: Harvard 31, Holy Cross 17

BROWN VS. GEORGETOWN (1-1)

I took my little sister to visit Georgetown this past Saturday and after the tour we stopped by the football game. I didn’t think college pigskin existed on a level conspicuously worse than the Ivies. Until I saw the Hoyas facing Stony Brook. We were lucky to see two minutes go by without a punt. They were awful.

Plus, Phil Estes’ Brown squad is eager to send a message to the Crimson before their Week Two showdown and defy the pollsters who slotted the defending champion Bears third in the preseason Ivy poll. If a 34-3 stomping in the nation’s capital last season is any indication, Brown should cover with room to spare.

Prediction: Brown 41, Georgetown 7

COLUMBIA VS. FORDHAM (1-1)

It’s the beginning of the Norries Wilson Era in New York as Columbia meets a squad almost as pitiful as it is. Vegas set the over/under for this contest as i. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a math joke. Good vibes and home field carry Columbia to perhaps its only win of the year.

Prediction: Columbia 13, Fordham 10

CORNELL AT BUCKNELL (1-1)

If you don’t already know the name Luke Siwula, take some time to learn it now. Now that I mention it though, I’m not quite sure I know it. Is the “w” pronounced like a “v”? Is it a silent “a”? Anyway, the junior tailback quietly gained over 1,000 yards on the ground for Cornell last season. He’ll be the closest thing Dawson has to a foil in his quest for another rushing title.

The improved Big Red knocked off the Bison, which won a single game in 2005, by a 24-7 count in Ithaca last year and should stampede yet again to move to 1-0.

Prediction: Cornell 30, Bucknell 14

DARTMOUTH AT COLGATE (0-1)

Dartmouth signal-caller Josh Cohen was suspended for the entire year due to academic ineligibility. Dammit, Josh, just when Jewish quarterbacks were starting to make some inroads. Long story short: The Big Green are playing a far better team on the road.

Prediction: Colgate 21, Dartmouth 9

PENN AT NO. 25 LAFAYETTE (2-0)

Game of the Week, hands down. The Quakers are hoping for a rebound season after a disappointing, tragedy-tinged 5-5 finish last season, including four straight losses to end the year. To get back to winning, Penn needs to topple a Lafayette team that pushed both Harvard and Princeton to the brink a year ago and currently sits on the curb of the 1-AA Top 25. The Leopards tote a workhorse running back named Jonathan Hurt, who ran for 141 in their opener, and a competent QB in Brad Maurer. Penn counters with what could be the Ancient Eight’s best defense. The losing streak moves to five in a nail-biter.

Prediction: Lafayette 23, Penn 17

PRINCETON AT LEHIGH (1-1)

This is a diminished Princeton side from a year ago and the Mountain Hawks are usually among the best the Patriot League has to offer. Lehigh quarterback Sedale Threatt is a legitimate one—threat, that is—and the Tigers lost the heart of their D in three departed standout linebackers and Jay McCareins. Princeton lacks the firepower to make this a shootout.

Prediction: Lehigh 27, Princeton 10

YALE VS. SAN DIEGO (2-0)

Know how you can root against the Braves all year because they win the division every freaking time, until they reach the World Series and play a team from the 10-player league like the accursed Yankees and then all of a sudden you’re rooting for them? That’s kind of what it’s like with Yale in a non-conference game. Oh, except the Bulldogs haven’t won an outright league title since 1980. Ha.

Prediction: Yale 34, San Diego 28

—Staff writer Jonathan Lehman can be reached at jlehman@fas.harvard.edu.

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