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1994; Weekend Pick Recap

1994
If I were the Lehigh coach, I would pull out a tape of the 1994 Lehigh/Lafayette game and show it to the players. It is the nightmare situation that all Mountain Hawks must guard against.

That year, Lafayette's Erik Marsh ran roughshod over Lehigh for 214 yards in a 54-20 manhandling that wasn't even close. Marsh ran left, right, through the tackles, around the outside - everywhere. It's the ugliest Lehigh/Lafayette game I ever saw - what I saw of it. Lehigh was down 28-7 and half, and midway through the 3rd quarter me and my friends all left, unable to withstand any more. That year in Easton, the Leopards celebrated their last Patriot League title for a long time to come.

Fast forward to 2004. Joe McCourt, as of last week, broke Erik Marsh's all-purpose yards mark last week against Holy Cross. A Leopard team with a very similar style of smashmouth running is on the field in Easton, even if they run the ball more with QB Brad Maurer than the 1994 Lafayette team. It's also the best Lafayette team to put on pads since that 1994 championship-winning team.

Although there have been other years where the Patriot League title was on the line, no Patriot League title match between Lehigh and Lafayette has meant a ticket to the I-AA playoffs for the winner, and a long I-AA selection Sunday for the loser. This will be the first. In a game which means the most for players, alumni, and fans, this one is going to be for even more - punching the winner's ticket for the I-AA playoffs.

For Lehigh, they could still possibly make the playoffs even if they lose on Saturday. They would even still be co-champions. But sharing the title with Lafayette, and losing the I-AA playoff bid to them, on top of losing the game - I don't think any playoff success could make up for that awful trifecta.

Weekend Pick Recap
This isn't a typo: I went (are you ready?) 17-1! Again, I lament that you can't really make money doing this. So many teams to thank: Lehigh (of course), Lafayette, Bucknell, Georgetown, New Hampshire, Delaware, Georgia Southern, Western Kentucky, Hampton, Montana, and Cal Poly.

Really right:
William & Mary/James Madison.
Predicted score: W&M 28, JMU 24. Real score: W&M 27, JMU 24. The Dukes seemed right for the plucking, the Tribe seemed to be the team that could do it - and I nailed it.

Southern Illinois/Indiana St. Predicted score: SIU 51, Indiana St. 9. Real score: SIU 59, Indiana St. 10. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I got lucky with the final score of this blowout over a completely overmatched team.

Kinda right:
Harvard/Penn.
I felt Harvard would come out on top here, but I didn't think Harvard would manhandle Penn so badly. Still, I did predict Harvard would score 34 points against Penn's vaunted "D", and they did get 31. Not bad.

Jacksonville St./Eastern Illinois. I thought this would be a close game, and I largely was right - the Gamecocks were only up 17-13 at half. I had a 2 point squeaker, but I'll take this 10-point win as a close win as well.

Was I ever wrong!
Sam Houston St./Northwestern St.
After leading 17-14 after the 1st quarter, I figure I had this one pegged right as a back-and-forth, nip-and-tuck affair. Then, Northwestern's "D" and special teams got serious. It's the punt return for a TD that put the Demons up by 3 scores to knock this one out, and I'm thinking, Where did the Bearkat offense go?

Would you believe I picked Penn St. over Indiana and Temple over Syracuse to win as well this week, in addition to picking that Muhlenberg would win a 5-way tie to qualify for the Division III playoffs?

Er.. Would you believe.. I picked Pitt over Notre Dame, Boston College over West Virginia and DC United to win soccer's MLS Cup?

How about.. Oklahoma, USC, and Scott Petersen being guilty?

(With apologies to Get Smart.)

Tomorrow: Press; Game Balls; More hype than you can shake a stick at

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