I was in New Jersey for part of this summer, which was a hotbed of sports betting activity as it, and nearby Delaware, legalized the activity in one form or another. I considered writing this column with a bunch of New Jersey references sprinkled in, but realistically it would all end up being about Wawa and Bruce Springsteen, so I’ll spare everyone from that.
Speaking of Springsteen, I am taking my first music class since middle school this year so I figured it was an appropriate time for that world to collide with that of Ivy League football instead. When we go Around the Ivies, we hope to keep the focus on the gridiron, but we realize that’s not always as easy as it sounds.
Instead of Springsteen, I figured we could dip into some Led Zeppelin. Let’s Rock and Roll.
YALE AT CORNELL
Somehow, Harvard is looking up at Yale after last season’s defeat in The Game — truly both What Is and What Should Never Be. Looking to defend its Ivy League title, Yale stumbled out of the gate and lost its season opener to Holy Cross on the road. The Bulldogs doubled up the Crusaders in the first half, 28-14, but Holy Cross clawed back to win with a field goal to walk it off in overtime.
Fortunately for Yale, it has a relatively easier matchup to open its Ivy League slate. Cornell lost last weekend to Delaware, 27-10, and has not had a quality season in anyone’s recent memory.
When the Bulldogs travel Over the Hills and Far Away to Ithaca, N.Y., they will grab a win in their first truly meaningful game of the season.
Prediction: Yale by 14.5
HARVARD AT BROWN
I was miffed that Harvard was not Going to California last weekend to face the University of San Diego Toreros, but I guess I will have to settle for a quick road trip to the illustrious Providence, R.I.
Last Saturday, the Bears did get to travel out West, and they were left Dazed and Confused following a visit to Cal Poly. The Mustangs scored in each quarter and shut out Brown in three of the four. Good Times Bad Times, but mostly bad for the Bears.
Prediction: Harvard by 17.5
DARTMOUTH AT HOLY CROSS
When one sees Fitton Field, nestled in the hills surrounding the Holy Cross Crusaders’ campus, the Stairway to Heaven reference is almost too easy to make. Dartmouth will not be ascending those steps this weekend, though. If Holy Cross managed to fend off Yale, it should be able to replicate the feat against the Big Green in its House(s) of the Holy.
And hey, the Crusaders put up 14 against No. 23 Boston College. Yes, they did lose by almost 50, but at least it wasn’t a shutout. Here’s a question for our readers: is BC officially back?
Prediction: Holy Cross by 10
LEHIGH AT PENN
With Penn, there’s only one place to begin: Justin Watson.
The current Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver electrified the Ivy League throughout his storied career at Penn. He is the Quakers’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and all-purpose yards. When comparing him to wideouts in Ancient Eight history, he doesn’t stack up quite as well — Watson falls all the way down to number two in receiving yards, number three in receptions, and number three in receiving touchdowns.
I shouldn’t Ramble On too much about the past, though. Penn will feel Watson’s absence, but it handled business in its week one game against Bucknell, prevailing 34-17. It’s hard to know what to make of these recurring non-conference opponents who play against Ivy League schools, but let’s just assume that the Quakers will transitively receive some FitzMagic because of all the Ivy League connections the Bucs have.
Prediction: Penn by 3
MONMOUTH AT PRINCETON
Monmouth will be lucky not to end up Trampled Under Foot when it visits Powers Field at Princeton Stadium (what a name). If one were to bet on any of these games, this would be the one to go with as it’s taking place in New Jersey. Not sure anyone would take bets on Ivy League football, however. Nonetheless, DraftKings: I Can’t Quit You Baby.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Tigers were picked to catapult up the Ivy League standings this season, and their season opener was nothing short of dominant, as they rolled over Butler, 50-7. Butler isn’t necessarily known as a football school, but any 50-point performance is notable. Like Harvard, Princeton also had a 27-point quarter in its first game. Running back Charles Volker and wide receiver Jesper Horsted combined for 302 all-purpose yards.
Prediction: Princeton by 3.5
COLUMBIA AT GEORGETOWN
As my co-beat writer would say, “Georgetown is really bad at football.” How Many More Times does an Ivy League opponent have to pound this team into the dust to force the Hoyas to disband their program? I’m not sure if there’s an answer to that question, but Columbia will endeavor to prove my point this Saturday.
At least these two teams will not have to face off in the doomed RFK Stadium, where Harvard won, 41-2, last season. Structural integrity issues like you read about.
As I combed through the Lions’ box score to throw in a fact about their offense or their play against Central Connecticut State last weekend, one name stood out above the rest: Drew Schmid. Sure enough, the freshman punter is the younger brother of Zach Schmid, Harvard’s punter in 2017. The younger Schmid saw a lot of game action in his debut, punting nine times for 345 yards.
Prediction: Columbia by 21
—Staff writer Jack Stockless can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.