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Know Your 2017 Opponents: Yale

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Know Your 2017 Opponents: Monmouth

Monmouth and Lehigh have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

They don't share a conference - the Mountain Hawks are in the Patriot League in all sports, while the Jersey Hawks (my name for Monmouth's mascot) compete in the Big South in football, and the MAAC in all other sports.

But athletically, in terms of everything from enrollment, participation to overall athletic department spending, Monmouth and Lehigh are like peas in a pod.  They are both universities; they both have between 4,000 and 5,000 undergrads; and the size of their athletic departments are similar as well.

The Mountain Hawks and the Jersey Hawks have also been frequent opponents of the other in football and men's basketball as well.  Since 2010, Lehigh has played Monmouth twice in men's basketball and five times on the gridiron.  (Recently, it was announced that Monmouth's hoop squad and their wacky bench antics will be headed to Stabler this fall to play Lehigh hoops as well.)

But in footba…

Know Your 2017 Opponents: Villanova

(Photo Credit: Akira Suwa/Philly.com)

Writing a season preview about Villanova used to be the easiest job in the world.

Just grab your boilerplate biographical information about future hall-of-fame head coach Andy Talley, do a little Googling of the Wildcat's next up-and-coming NFL prospects, come up with a dozen synonyms for the words "tough" and "challenge", and the preview basically writes itself.

But this season's task of facing Villanova is simply different than all of those other years.  Talley, the only coach Villanova has ever known since restarting their football program in 1985 after a failed attempt to pull the plug on it in 1981 in the middle of spring practice, has finally retired from the head coaching ranks.  While the same familiar trappings of high preseason rankings and potential NFL prospects remain, their new head coach, longtime Talley assistant Mark Ferrante, is now running the Wildcats and will be seeking his first win as a collegiat…

Five Burning Questions For Lehigh Heading Into Preseason Camp

There's a pretty good chance that senior WR Troy Pelletier, who made the Patriot League's preseason all-Conference team and is on the Walter Payton Award watch list to start the year, will be the starter in the season opener vs. Villanova.

It's also not a headline that junior RB Dominick Bragalone, also on the Patriot League's preseason all-Conference team, is likely to -shocker! - be a starter on September 2nd.

But that doesn't mean that there still aren't plenty of questions as the Mountain Hawks enter into their fall training camp for fans to think about.

Preseason Camp Starts Next Week, But Lehigh Student-Athletes Have Been Preparing All Summer

(Photo Credit: New Hampshire Union-Leader)

It's easy to tune in to college football coverage at the beginning of fall practices, to see the accolades like preseason all-America teams and preseason all-Conference teams and not think about all the hard work that has been put in to prepare for the upcoming season.

Try telling that to the family of senior WR Troy Pelletier, though.

"My family is in New Hampshire and my parents are able to make almost every game," he told me my email.  "[But] with my summer job and my commitment to the offseason workout program, I have only been able to spend four days at home since the past Christmas break."

Football players "appreciate the recognition" of preseason awards and nominations, senior OL Zach Duffy told me last week, but they also understand that most fans also don't see or appreciate the amount of work it takes to become the best football players they can be when there's no crowds, no reporters, and …

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 1, Holy Cross

The pie-eating contests were what I loved the best about the Worcester Patsy Parties.

Maybe it was the Purple People Eater moniker, the fact that they coincided with a particularly busy party weekend, it wasn't abundantly clear, but they always made for a great shindig.

I remembered the undergrads, lined up, eating the blueberry pies one after another.  It never ended well, but for some reason all the unsuspecting young people, waiting for the starting gun to go off, made me smile, as if they didn't know what they were really getting into.

It wasn't just about the pies: there was all sorts of great food and drink there: the blueberry crush cocktails, of which I had too many on multiple occasions, stood out.

Today, however, the only crush experienced in the offices were the ones of Holy Cross' Patsy Rating spreadsheets hitting me in the head.

Patriot League Media Day: Duffy: "No Congratulations Are Needed"

(Photo Credit: Brown and White)

With this year's Patriot League Media Day being a Patriot League Media Conference call instead, the opportunity is there for media folks to tweet out things like preseason all-Conference lists and the preseason polls.

When the league posted their preseason all-Patriot League team, unsurprisingly there were seven Lehigh football players on it, one of whom was senior OL Zach Duffy.
I sent out a tweet congratulating the seven - Duffy, junior RB Dom Bragalone, junior P/K Ed Mish, senior OL Tim O'Hara, senior WR Gatlin Casey, senior WR Troy Pelletier, and senior DE Tyler Cavenas - and almost immediately Zach responded. No congratulations are needed since we haven't accomplished a single thing yet. Sorry if that sounds sour. We appreciate the recognition. — Zachary John Duffy (@ZachDuffy72) July 27, 2017 In the span of a tweet, Zach established immediately that re-reading one's press clippings from the 2016 season is not something this 2017 e…