Friday, December 06, 2013
For college football fans, though, there's a different sense of anticipation in December - the recruitment of high school seniors to come play for their school.
I'm just one guy among a whole lot of Lehigh fans, of course, but - what would I like under Lehigh's holiday tree in terms of new recruits?
Find out - below the flip.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
When I look back at Lehigh's football program over the last four years, I can't think of a single game that wasn't meaningful.
And when you think about this fact, that's a powerful thing to say about this group of seniors that will graduate this season.
So many programs have off years, years in between quality starting quarterbacks, years when players who find themselves in NFL training camps graduate, and the number of holes to fill are too great to compete for championships, let alone playoff spots.
But that didn't happen for this group of Lehigh athletes in 2013.
Despite needing to replace two players who found themselves in NFL training camps, WR Ryan Spadola and LB Billy Boyko, a starting quarterback, QB Michael Colvin, and an all-Patriot League secondary consisting of CB Bryan Andrews and S Billy O'Brien, the expectations on this year's team was great: Win the Patriot League. Build off a 10-1 season. Make the playoffs.
That's what going to Lehigh to play football is all about: Winning. High expectations, on and off the field. And despite the rebuilding, and despite the gigantic injury to QB Brandon Bialkowski, this team made every game meaningful.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
"You didn't cry or anything when Lehigh lost this weekend, did you?"
That was the greeting I got when I came back into the office (from another Lehigh football fan, interestingly) this Monday, as if he knew that I would be taking the loss this weekend especially hard.
I did not cry. But I did hurt. And I know not a few men that I respect that I know cried on Saturday.
This is probably not a revelation to most people who know me through this writing vehicle or in person, but yes, I took the loss hard.
Believe me, if you saw my wife and son recently, they'd probably tell you that I was not a pleasant person to be in the car with on Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday.
The truth is, I take every loss hard, and losses to what is the biggest rival in football, Lafayette, hurt especially hard. It is an occupational hazard of caring too much about a sports team.
To me, losses to Lafayette are supposed to suck. To me, losses to Lafayette are supposed to hurt. It's the very nature of the thing, winning and losing.
And for me, I guess, it sucks more than most of my friends and acquaintances. I have an inability to put it behind me in an evening, or even a weekend, even though I put in a good front, I think, to friends and family.
Most people move on pretty quickly, especially in this era of social media and distractions. In a way, I envy them, but in another way I don't.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
The ball squirted loose from the line - where a Lehigh player might have fallen on it - and instead nudged in the direction of junior RB Ross Scheuerman, who found himself with the ball in his hands, and, on the broken goal line play, wide open space to get into the end zone.
It was that type of day for the Mountain Hawks - a day when five years of Rivalry frustrations, five years of balls bouncing the wrong way, and five years of Lehigh victories came crashing to an end.
It was a game where Lehigh never led. It was a game when the Mountain Hawks came close to coming back - and clearly believing that it could, and would, happen. But it wasn't meant to be, as Lafayette took home all the marbles on Saturday - the Patriot League Trophy, the Patriot League championship and autobid, and the win over Lehigh that the players, and the many people that follow the Lafayette football program, have been hungering for the last five years.
Saturday, November 23, 2013
We break down the Lafayette game, the 149th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette - and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.
Some key things you'll need to know before the Game of the Year:
* The Lehigh Football Partnership will be opening at 9:00 AM for tailgating at the Rust Pavillion with former football players and families, and at 10:00 AM there will be a "special guest".
* Out of town and want to watch Rivalry 149 with friendly Lehigh fans? Click here and find a telecast party across the country. There's even one in London!
* The game will be on the following TV/Radio and streaming places:
Patriot League Network (Lehigh Broadcast: Free)
ESPN3 (Lafayette Broadcast: Free if ISP provides it)
WMFZ 69 in the Lehigh Valley
Lafayette Sports Network (WBPH-60 in the Lehigh Valley Area and other networks across the country)
Fox College Sports Pacific (Live; Lehigh Broadcast; Available Nationally On Many Cable Systems)
Radio: AM 1230/1320 with Matt Kerr, Marty Horn, and Tom Fallon, Stream Here
I'd list other games that are being broadcast this day but - let's get real - there's only one game this weekend, right???
Thursday, November 21, 2013
If there's one word we've heard a lot in the media, and from both schools this week, it's "marbles".
"We're playing for all the marbles," head coach Andy Coen said in the Lehigh Football Report this week, echoing what seems to be anyone following the game in the Lehigh Valley.
It is true that the winner of the game this weekend will be Patriot League champions, with a 4-1 conference record.
It is also true that the winner will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, head to the FCS playoffs this weekend. (While Lehigh could sneak in the field with a loss, it seems real unlikely.)
But more than that, the winner of this yearly Rivalry battle will indeed win something more than just a Patriot League Championship trophy to keep in Bethlehem or Easton another year.
It really does feel like an old-fashioned game of marbles, where the winner really does take everything they were looking to achieve that season, and the loser comes away with none of the goals they set out to achieve and instead the have to wait until next season.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Twenty-five years ago, I went to my first Lehigh/Lafayette game and almost saw a record held by Sean Payton fall.
As a part of Eastern Illinois' high-powered passing offense, Payton owned a I-AA record for most passing yards in a half.
Lehigh QB Jim Harris came - incredibly - one yard short of the record of passing yards in a single half, 372 yards.
And while the potent battle of great Engineer and Leopard offenses (or, perhaps, the struggle of two subpar Engineer and Leopard defenses) would end up in a 52-45 win for Lafayette in Easton, it served as my first-ever view of The Rivalry as an undergrad.
You could say it's the reason why I'm doing this today.