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Around the Ivies: Awaiting a Plot Twist in an Otherwise Straightforward Sequel

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Greetings, dear reader. Last we met, the 2014 Harvard football team was days away from its climactic showdown with Yale for all the marbles, an undefeated season hanging in the balance.

Much has transpired since. The Crimson sent the Elis home in defeat and captured an Ivy League championship. The team attained perfection for only the third time in the last century. And akin to Globo Gym dominating the competition of the American Dodgeball Association of America, Harvard has blazed its way to an unblemished record through the first five games of 2015.

Let’s think of this current season as a sequel to the 2014 campaign. I need not explain how movie sequels are often predictable. You often know exactly what you’re going to get when you walk into a theater to see the addendum to a moneymaking first rendition.

Take 22 Jump Street. Could that film have adhered any more closely to the plot of its predecessor? Or how about any of the Transformers sequels (somehow, there are three after the original). Did anyone actually enjoy (or even watch) those unsurprising remakes?

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2014 was that chart-topping first hit for Harvard. How can you improve on an undefeated season and an Ivy League championship? Well, you can’t. But you can equal it by pulling off the same feat once more.

The Crimson is intent on making the 2015 season one of those straightforward, predictable sequels to the first moneymaker. It has certainly done a solid job thus far. Harvard’s first five wins have been decided by just over an average of 36 points per game, and the team’s starters haven’t once needed to play a contest from start to finish. That’s a pretty boring sequel if there ever was one.

But some sequels contain a twist. It’s always more fun when things play out in unpredictable fashion, right? Indeed, these are the very best kinds of remakes—the ones that keep you guessing.

For instance, moviegoers may have thought they were getting more of the same action-packed, original Star Wars when they ventured to see The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. But I recall there being a pretty significant plot twist toward the end that threw everyone for a loop.

By now, you probably have a rough understanding of the filmography I indulge in. But that’s not what I’m trying to convey here. Through five games this year, Harvard football is in the same position as it was in 2014—with five wins. So far, the sequel to that championship run has adhered to a predictable script of dominance. But things often change quickly in the Ancient Eight (irony intended).

Will Harvard march to a repeat championship without suspense or drama? Or will the 2015 season contain some type of plot twist, as the great sequels often do? The Crimson suits up against a pair of opponents at home over the next two weeks—Princeton and Dartmouth—that are of a decidedly different caliber than the weaker competition the team has faced so far this year. If there’s ever a time for a classic sequel twist, it’s now.

You may think you know what will transpire, but you don’t. Another Ivy League stretch run begins on Saturday. Welcome back.

BROWN AT CORNELL

Nice. It’s been a while since I last made these predictions, so I appreciate the opportunity to get warmed up with a game that will likely bear no consequences for the rest of the Ivy League. The Crimson football beat braved the trek to Ithaca two weekends ago to see Harvard coast to a 40-3 victory over the Big Red. The most enjoyable part of the trip for me was undoubtedly the stop at Collegetown Bagels on campus where, in case you’re wondering, they serve a mean smoked salmon sandwich. Beyond that, there’s not much to see in Ithaca. Likewise with this game.

Prediction: Brown 34, Cornell 14

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