Ladies and gentleman, we live in a new era of Ivy League football.
When we last took stock of the Ancient Eight, a green-and-crimson striped question mark inhabited first place.
But Harvard and Dartmouth settled their differences this past Saturday in a mind-bending, take-the-red-pill, there-is-no-spoon, is-he-actually-dreaming 14-13 win for the Crimson. Now the Big Green has fallen to second, giving needed definition to the title race.
To all those with high-blood pressure: relax. Somehow, despite persistent warnings from Harvard coach Tim Murphy that the preseason is over, that it was over several weeks ago, and that it was never coming back, preseason action returns this week as the Crimson plays Columbia, and the Big Green plays Cornell.
Competition lurks in netherworld matchups involving teams other than Harvard and Dartmouth, but these games involve teams other than Harvard and Dartmouth.
In short, it’s a vacation weekend. Find a seat, crack a beer, and watch responsibily.
HARVARD AT COLUMBIA
For years and years, the annual Harvard-Columbia matchup has been the equivalent of a Lil B music video: unwatchable, incomprehensible, and more than a little perverse.
This year is different. For starters the Lions have actually won—not just once but twice! Even the team’s most recent loss, a 13-9 squeaker to Dartmouth, indicated real progress.
Let’s all take a moment, then, to appreciate the charity work of Lions coach Al Bagnoli. Bless the man’s heart. I don’t know what it takes to get canonized in 2015, but coming out of retirement to coach Columbia ranks right up there.
However, neither divine intervention nor the decision to start kicker Kenny Smart at linebacker can knock Harvard from its post as overwhelming favorite. Heck, if the Crimson was only allowed to score off blocked punts, I’d still choose the team as 7-0 winner. (This is an official prediction, by the way: Harvard will score a special-teams touchdown.)
As loath as I am to trust conventional wisdom, the truth is that the mob is often right. Just ask Lions quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg, who promises to spend his Saturday dodging groups of Crimson jerseys.
Final verdict? Not quite a Lil B video, but not far off.
Prediction: Harvard 31, Columbia 7
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