Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lehigh 0, Villanova 35, Final

Last year, Lehigh was shut out at home 7-0 against a Yale team that had no business shutting out the Mountain Hawks.

This year, once again Lehigh was shut out at home - but this time it was to Villanova - the defending national champs, and arguably the most powerful team in the most powerful FCS conference in America.

Not even an unnaturally warm summer day could slow down Villanova WR Matt Szczur and the Villanova offense, which would rack up more than 300 yards rushing on the afternoon.

Going into the game, some thought that the Mountain Hawks would be able to hang with the national champs and the team that ought to be the No. 1 team in the country.  They were proven spectacularly wrong by halftime.  (more)


Week 2 Football Predictions, 9/11/2010

For those who are interested - here's my selection of picks for tomorrow's Division I FCS games being played. Last week's picks - Patriot League and Top 25 included - I started out a gaudy 8-0 but was a much more humbling 19-9 the rest of the way, starting me off at 26-9 or 74% on the year.

I missed the biggest upset of the day (Jacksonville State over FBS Ole Miss), just missed picking what would have been the second biggest (Chattanooga over Appalachian State) and made some completely boneheaded picks (UC Davis over Cal?  Labmuth over Alcorn State?) making it an awfully bittersweet week despite the record.  I did predict Southern Utah would make it within ten points of FBS Wyoming (the actual deficit was eight) and picking Tennessee State over Alabama A&M and Southern over Delaware State were the highlights of the rest of the weekend.

I've got a game to go to (guess which one?), but below the flip are my picks.  Just the picks today.  (more)


Friday, September 10, 2010

Patriot League Football Predictions, 9/11/2010

For those who are interested - below the flip are my selection of picks tomorrow's Patriot League football games being played.

Last weekend, I went 4-2 - picking Lehigh over Drake, Duquesne over Bucknell, Holy Cross over Howard (almost picking the score perfectly: 35-7 instead of 38-7), and picking Georgetown over Davidson (again, almost picking the score exactly: 20-13 instead of 20-10).

I never dreamed Bryant would crush Fordham the way they did (44-30), and while I picked a potential upset by Monmouth over Colgate, in the end it wasn't meant to be (by 30-29 score, and a missed two-point conversion by the Hawks).

You already know my Villanova/Lehigh prediction: let's see the rest.  (more)

Friday Water Cooler: The Year of the Big Announcement

(Graphic Credit: VUHoops.com)

What is it about the week before a Lehigh game that makes schools want to make major, earth-shattering announcements?

Ever since a tumultuous summer where rumors were flying fast and furious about the Big East losing schools because of football, another rumor has been picking up steam that the Wildcats, fresh off their FCS national championship, might consider joining the Big East in football as well.

The day before today's game at Lehigh, Villanova's president, Father Peter Donohue, sent out a letter that was reprinted by VUHoops that confirms that, no, Temple will not be the team to fit into the map of Big East football, and yes, a feasibility study is under way to determine if Villanova football is right for the Big East.

Just in case this game on Saturday for Lehigh wasn't big enough, it's now, suddenly, become about beating a team that might be going to the Big East.  All of a sudden, it feels like Lehigh is hosting an FBS team - well, a national champion, and likely future FBS team, anyway, in our place.  (more)


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Game Preview: Villanova at Lehigh, 9/11/2010

(Photo Credit: andrew7459, Flickr)

So what's better if you're a Lehigh fan?

It sure seemed like most Lehigh fans were hoping for Villanova to hold onto the "Mayor's Cup" against FBS Temple last Friday - hoping that the Wildcats would be coming into Murray Goodman stadium brimming with confidence - and perhaps overlooking the home team with the new uniforms.

Instead, Lehigh will be receiving a Villanova team that coulda, woulda, shoulda beat a vastly improved Temple team - and could be looking for an FCS team to be a punching bag to reclaim their No. 1 ranking - which was inexplicably stripped from them when they lost after leading the Owls the great majority of the game last weekend.

But which is better?  A Wildcat team brimming with confidence after yet another win over Temple?  Or a team that cannot afford to start the year 0-2 and needs to reclaim momentum?  (more)


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

LFN Players of the Week, Lehigh at Drake

This week's LFN Players of the Week Go To:

Offense: Senior RB Jay Campbell (112 all-purpose yards, 3 TDs)
Defense: Senior LB Al Pierce (9 tackles, 2 1/2 tackles for loss including 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble to clinch the game)
Special Teams: Junior P Alex Smith (4 punts, 37.8 yard average, all punts landed inside the 20)
Underclassman: Sophomore WR Ryan Spadola (6 catches, 99 yards, led Lehigh in receiving)

Congratulations to the winners!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

FCS East Wrapup: Jacksonville State Enters App Territory

(Photo Credit: Sports Newscaster)

Normally I wouldn't lead my "FCS East Wrapup" with a battle from the Deep South.  But Jacksonville State, aside from thrilling folks nationally as ESPN cut to their game, has enough of a history with Lehigh to justify them being the lead this week.

And boy did they earn their place atop my column, with a brass balls performance in their 42-41 upset win over Darth Miss.  The plucky Gamecocks ended up strangling the Rebels, much the same way a little team from Boone, North Carolina captured the imagination of the sporting world a couple of years ago.  (more)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Last Look: Lehigh vs. Drake

(Photo Credit: Bill Neibergall/The Des Moines Register)

On Mondays during the regular season in the past, I've offered up a "Press Roundup" of the week that was in Lehigh football.  I'll continue to do that this year, with just a slight modification: I'll post the wrap-ups with pertinent quotes, as I did before, but I'll also empty out my notebook and add my brain droppings to the mix as well.

The reactions to the game were a strange mixture of highs and lows.  Highs with the play of senior RB Jay Campbell and senior LB Al Pierce (who was Defensive Player of the Week in the Patriot League), but lows in the way that the Mountain Hawks let the Bulldogs back in the game.  (more)


Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sunday's Word: Phobophilia

On June 4th, 2010. my wife and I were nerve-wrackingly watching the Flyers play the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup.  Uncle Tony, who was born and raised in Philly, was text messaging us back and forth furiously from his home south of the Mason/Dixon line.

Up 4-1, I thought the Flyers were in terrific shape.   They had manhandled the Blackhawks all game, and had a three goal lead.  At home in the Wachovia center.  "They're definitely going to win now," I told my wife, who had followed the Broad Street Bullies in their Stanley Cups of the 1970s, thinking - foolishly - that it would make her smile.

Instead, she looked at me as if I had told her I had gone bankrupt. "DON'T SAY THAT!," she said, as if my uttering those words would create an epic meltdown.

She and Uncle Tony had a field day with that, as the Blackhawks got two quick goals late in the game to make the game 4-3.  "Can they do anything easy?" Uncle Tony messaged.  "He doesn't understand," she texted back, even though the Flyers would hold on and win the game 5-3, and keep the Orange and Black in the Cup.

She was right.  I didn't understand - until this weekend.  Watching Lehigh cruise to a big lead this weekend, almost give it up, and then hold on to win made me realize that I didn't understand a key element of Philadelphia teams and Eastern Pennsylvania fan angst: "phobophilia".  (more)


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