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Getting ready for Lehigh/Lafayette

Every year, my personal tagline for this game is, "Harvard/Yale is that OTHER game; Lehigh/Lafayette is THE Game". It's not too early to start talking about the 141st meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette the most-played college football rivalry. Yeah, I know, it's not time to forget the great play of the Lehigh defensive line from last Saturday - 8 sacks, helping force 3 turnovers. But Lehigh/Lafayette week starts now, and there's an army of students, alumni, and fans that are solidifying their tailgating plans right now.

To the uninformed, the dull, and the most of the national college football media circuit, many folks think that Harvard/Yale is to be considered "The Game". Ha! Lehigh/Lafayette has more on the line (especially this year), is more historic, and has a longer and richer history than that "other" game. Witness the statistics:

Number of meetings:
Harvard/Yale: 121 (through 2004)
Lehigh/Lafayette: 140 (through 2004)

Streak of consecutive years with at least 1 game played:
Harvard/Yale: 1945-2004
Lehigh/Lafayette: 1897-2004

I-AA Playoff implications:
Harvard/Yale: none
Lehigh/Lafayette: Lehigh is in if they win; Lafayette has a chance if they win

Also worthy of mention is: No two schools' rivalry has as long an unbroken yearly streak as Lehigh/Lafayette. Also, no two schools' rivalry has played as many games as Lehigh/Lafayette.

So, what's to debate? Lehigh/Lafayette's "The Game". Harvard/Yale is clearly "the other game".

I'll be writing more about the gameday traditions and my own personal Lehigh/Lafayette experiences later this week. If you want to brush up on more of the history of the game, two excellent sources are "The Lehigh/Lafayette Legacy", a PBS documentary on the rivalry (which may be replayed sometume this week in the Lehigh Valley), and the terrific book "Legends of Lehigh-Lafayette: College Football’s Most Played Rivalry,” written by Todd Davidson and Bob Donchez.

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