Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Such is life in the seven-team Patriot League: you can struggle like a Leopard in a freezer in September and October, yet thaw out in time for league play and make a run to win the Championship.
In fact it was one of the players represented in last year's Patsy Ratings, rising sophomore QB Drew Reed, that was a critical piece to their title run. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he was a two-star rated player by all the major scouting agencies, and was a huge factor in their Patsy Rating.
This season, will the Leopards have another Reed in their class? Will they have several? Will they have more than several? Will they have enough to have one of the best recruiting classes in the Patsy ratings this season?
Thursday, February 27, 2014
There was the last-second-almost-win against Lehigh two years ago, 36-35. There was the almost-miraculous comeback against Harvard, lost in overtime, 41-35. There were almost wins against Colgate. Fordham. The list goes on and on.
For head coach Tom Gilmore, whose Purple Crusaders went 3-9 (1-4), it must be agonizing to see his teams, so close to turning the corner, to just fall short.
The way to rectify the situation, of course, is recruiting.
This recruiting season, did Holy Cross do enough, according to the Patsy Ratings, to start to develop a squad that will start turning these moral victories into actual victories?
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
If you're of a certain age, though - whether you're a figure skating fan or not, and I am decidedly no fan of figure skating - the Shakespearean story of Harding and Kerrigan still engages, and still grabs peoples' attention, twenty years later.
Why, though? Why, twenty years later, in a sport I care little, does the story still grab me? Why did I spend time out of my life watching dueling NBC and ESPN documentaries on the subject, and Google multiple stories about Jeff Gilooly, idiot "bodyguards", and the whole sordid affair?
I think it's because the story, even twenty years later, is like opium.
The addictive story, even now, has everything. Everything. The woman that fought for everything, perhaps crossing over to the dark side to get her chance at Olypic Gold, vs. the woman who, despite her pleas to the contrary, had a well-financed team behind her, especially in the run-up to the Olympics.
A mysterious crime that still isn't completely solved. Idiot criminals. Shakespearean tragedy. Icy rivalry. Flawed heroes. Heroic feats of athleticism. Recovery from tragedy - and a triumph against all odds. There's even a twist of an ending to the story, mired in the weird politics of figure skating judges.
The real tragedy, though, is in the two women - still trapped in the narrative, twenty years later, perhaps never to fully emerge from it.
Friday, February 21, 2014
With a two-year headstart on everyone else, many folks thought that the Lombardis would be stomping on the rest of the Patriot League by the 2012 season - if merit aid would indeed result in FCS championship-caliber teams.
In 2013, head coach Joe Moorhead finally delivered one of those types of teams, delivering an 11-1 regular season record, Fordham's second-ever playoff victory, and a signal to the rest of the FCS of what regular scholarship Patriot League teams might look like in the future.
Yet the success, too, was not completely as it seemed.
Had Fordham been eligible for the Patriot League championship, they would have been no more than co-champions - with their loss to Lafayette, they would have lost the autobid to the Leopards anyway.
And the way they've built their team - as you will see - has not been so much built on Patsy Points, but has been at least partially built... in a way that the Patsy Points does not measure.
With this knowledge, how does Fordham's Patsy point total stack up?
Thursday, February 20, 2014
After very high hopes for the Raiders in 2013 - they had the preseason Patriot League offensive player of the year, QB Gavin McCarney, and were picked as the preseason favorites to win the Patriot League's autobid - the Fightin' Biddles suffered through injuries - none huger than the dogging ones to McCarney - to fall to a 4-8 record.
If there's one thing that the HooDoos were able to do in an outstanding way with Biddle at the helm, it's getting quality, Patriot League championship-caliber athletes to play football in the middle of frigid Hamilton. The Patsy Point system, too, acknowledges this, with the Gate securing a whopping 73 Patsy Points last year.
In Hamilton, Colgate transitions from Biddle (known to Lehigh fans, heretoforth, as "Bobblehead Biddle") to Hunt. How did Dan Hunt's Patsy class measure up to that of his boss?
Monday, February 17, 2014
It's the second over-.500 and second six-win season for head coach Joe Susan in three years.
It's also the first time that coach Susan had a winning record in official Patriot League play. (They also stampeded over Lehigh last season.)
Which leads us to this year's Patsy Ratings.
According to the data, did coach Susan and his staff take their strong finish and translate it into a recruiting class that will shock and awe their Patriot League competition?
Last year, Bucknell finished with a respectable, but not stratospheric, 51 in the Class of 2017 Patsy Ratings for the Bison, which I'll go into below the flip.
According to the numbers, this year's class falls short of this number.
Sunday, February 09, 2014
For years he posted his spreadsheet-based evaluations on the Any Given Saturday message board, and his somewhat dry, humorous description of the methodology and the rating. For hardcore Patriot League fans, it was an important, must-read part of the offseason.
For the second straight season, his Patsy ratings will be published here at LFN.
In the upcoming weeks, I'll be going through the data and coming up with the rankings.
But before I do, I wanted to recap with a quick blog posting to describe exactly what it is we're doing here.