Friday, December 02, 2016
That doesn't mean that I've totally tuned out the college football landscape, though.
Starting tonight, there's some terrific games on TV and online streaming that I'll be watching, both at the FCS and the FBS level. Happily, the FCS Round of 16 games are not all going up against each other like last week, so the opportunity is there to catch one or more of those games - and you can bet that I will be.
Below the flip, starting with the MAC championship game tonight, are my picks for games to watch, and - why not? - some picks as to who I think will win.
(Yes, it includes Penn State. Stop asking.)
Thursday, December 01, 2016
It was at Fisher Field, and I had just spent my first game ever in the press box.
I had gone into that press box hoping to cover an expected Lehigh victory over Lafayette, the final crowning glory to yet another Lehigh football season.
I barely knew what I was doing, how I should act, or how to set up a computer in the press box. But there I was, taking notes for a "game diary" for a national website called I-AA.org.
I had proven my bona fides for writing by penning a very long, very detailed summary of the Lehigh/Colgate game a few weeks prior. That game, a Lehigh victory that went down to the wire, was sort-of a precursor to the type of coverage I do now during Lehigh games in terms of tweeting, except rather than tweet it out instantly to followers, I would write all the observations down, shuffle them up, edit them, and put them in a thousand-word article. (Trust me when I say it made sense at the time.)
But Lehigh did not beat Lafayette in 2004.
Instead, fourth year head coach Frank Tavani's team would dominate the Mountain Hawks on both lines of scrimmage to secure a well-deserved 24-10 victory, and in so doing punched their first-ever ticket to the I-AA Playoffs.
It was in this environment where I would first ask a question of Frank Tavani, that year a finalist for the Eddie Robinson award for the best head coach in I-AA football.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
If the players were pixels, with easy-to-read sliders with their statistics on them.
Then the FCS playoffs would be easy. You'd plug in the teams, they'd hit each other virtually on the screen, and there would be a result, quantifying the relative strengths and weaknesses of each team. A representative score would come out, and there would be one side bursting with victory, and the other in agony in defeat.
There would be bitterness, some teeth-gnashing, but at least you'd have figured out that the teams gave it their best shot.
But real life is not a video game. Sometimes, star players go hunting, and come down with an illness. It keeps them out of practice, and on the day of the big game, they're not 100%, or even 75%. Sometimes, foot injuries do not heal, as much as you wish that they would.
And then a team like Lehigh travels up to New Hampshire, not able to put their absolute best foot forward.
Not that it's an excuse - injuries, and all sorts of other things, happen during a football season. New Hampshire exposed what may have actually been weaknesses hiding in plain sight for this Lehigh team, exposing the soft white underbelly of the Mountain Hawks - the ability to stop an elite running game.
But it was heartbreaking to have Lehigh not be able to put their absolute best foot forward, to not be able to go down with two of their four team captains at full strength.
Instead, all that Lehigh fans got to see were tiny glimpses of the team they had gotten to know so well over the last couple of months, sandwiched around a lot of evidence on how much better the Mountain Hawks need to be in order to compete for a national championship.