AROUND THE IVIES: Another Week of Mildly Good Football in the Ivy League

Every October the arrival of Halloween makes me confront two questions. First, how many king-sized Snicker bars is too many? Second, is there any truth to those stories about lunatics slipping razor blades into candy bars?

The answer to the first question is that there is no answer. The answer to the second question is equally depressing.

A quick glance at 2015 headlines shows that lunatics did insert a range of objects—including razors, pins, needles, and pills—into sweets. No one was seriously injured, but the incidents affected trick-or-treaters. As one article reported, “Mya Ogg, 11, says she enjoys Halloween as much as any kid, but after seeing pills in her candy, she says she no longer wants to go trick-or-treating.”

It’s a logical reaction, and I wonder if fans of Ancient Eight programs not named Harvard, Princeton, or Penn might feel the same way. Collectively they entered the season with their mouths open, ready for a sugary high. Instead, they chomped down on the razor blade of defeat and the sewing needle of remembering that they lived in New Haven.


But downtrodden fans, fear not—the Ivy League season is no more finished than you-know-who’s fifth beer. Teams have played only three Ivy League games, meaning that more than half the schedule remains.

That’s right, Cornell. There’s still hope. It’s Halloween weekend, after all, meaning the one time that Columbia coach Al Bagnoli can dress up as the Penn coach and pretend that he’s joking.

I’m kidding. Well, kind of. Lest we forget, Columbia is 2-4.

Coach Bagnoli, I get your frustration. Really, I do. Sometimes Ivy League football can be a slog, like taking a bus to Princeton at 2:30 a.m. on the night you celebrate your roommate’s 21st birthday. Maybe one of your friends holds a tropical-themed party, and maybe you show up in shorts and a T-shirt despite forecasts for freezing rain. It’s possible that, when you order your Uber, you forget your comfortable sweatshirt at that tropical-themed party. Assuming you board the bus at South Station on time, you might just regret your lack of warmth for the next nine hours—a period that includes a stop in New York City, a mile-long walk through more freezing rain, a sleepless layover in Port Authority a.k.a the Dungeon of Grunge, another bus ride to New Jersey, and another mile-long walk through freezing rain. At least the stadium press box will have hot chocolate and cookies. Theoretically speaking.

I fear that I’ve already said too much. Let’s move onto the picks.


Earlier this week, the New Haven Police Department added 16 new patrol cars. The brand-new Dodge Chargers replaced a stable of old vehicles, some of which had totaled nearly 140,000 miles. Either that’s thousands and thousands of late-night donut runs, or that’s a lot of crime. You tell me which explanation makes more sense.

All told, the police now boast a fleet of 349 vehicles, meaning just enough to round up all the fugitive students fleeing Yale on foot.

The Bulldogs will draw upon that running spirit Friday when the program’s productive rushing attack (176 yards per game) faces Columbia’s hard-nosed defense.

The Lions may have held Dartmouth to seven points last week in a surprise win, but I don’t expect a repeat feat. After all, following a 42-7 loss to an explosive Penn team, Yale will come out hungry. That appetite alone provides an edge.

Pick: Yale 13, Columbia 10

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