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Friday Water Cooler: The Bye Week

It's a special "Bye Week" version of the Water Cooler this week. It remains to be seen if anyone even reads this today since there's no Lehigh game, but there will be a lot of Patriot League and I-AA action this week, so it should be another exciting Saturday as we patiently await Lehigh/Harvard in eight days.

Where's Chuck Going This Weekend?
Ralph Wallace from I-AA.org is flying out east, and he's going to be attending the Hampton/Morgan State game with me at 4:00PM, and then we will be hightailing it out of there so we can catch (at least) the second half of the Lafayette/Princeton game. With Matt Dougherty of the Sports Network also heading over to Princeton, it's quite possible that the game in Princeton, NJ will be the "best covered coverage of a matchup of unranked I-AA teams in history", as Matt said this past week on I-AA Waves.

Ralph and I will be taking pictures at this game, and I will also be keeping a "I-AA Diary" on the entire event (as I always do for I-AA.org). Aside from lamenting the fact that I won't be up in Albany (seriously, THERE'S a sentence I never thought I'd utter) to see the Central Connecticut State/Albany matchup, I will also have the challenge in trying to find some common thread between these two games we're attending.

Speaking of Shameless Self-Promotion...
I'm glad you asked. This past week saw I-AA.org publish my latest diary on the Fordham/Columbia game. In a way, it builds from my I-AA Diary column the week before talking about 9/11 and its effect on Georgetown and Fordham's football programs. Even if you're just a Patriot League fan you may want to check these out, as it shows the effect that the attacks had on schools in our league.

I also had an extended conversation on I-AA Waves this past week. You can check the 9/19 show in the I-AA Waves Archives and download it to your mp3 player of choice.

T-Shirts
This is perfect for a bye week: The question for the class this weekend is: If you were to buy a fan T-shirt with a slogan on the back, what would that slogan be?

"Fly Higher"
"Do It On The Mountain"
"I Like My Leopard Well Done"

Feel free to comment on this thread - add your own!

Water Cooler Picks: Patriot League, Week 4
My picks last week were 3-4 - pretty pathetic, especially when I also pictured Colgate to whomp on Dartmouth by more than 6 TDs. And that was one of my "wins." Hopefully this week, I can do a little better. At 10-8 on the year, I really need to get "Championship Level", and fast.

Columbia over Georgetown. I saw this Lion team last week, and I saw a pretty darned good football team. We won't know who's the starting Hoya QB, but I think we're going to see another strong effort from Columbia - especially defensively - and that should be enough. Columbia 21, Georgetown 9.

Monmouth over Colgate. I really really hope I'm wrong about this one. But Monmouth's defense completely shut down their three opponents this year in a huge way, and Colgate will have to be on their toes against the Hawks. Furthermore, the Raiders haven't shown me that they're a championship team yet. I'm not sure NEC wins should still be considered "shockers", but this one may be considered another. Monmouth 28, Colgate 24.

#7 Richmond over Bucknell. If Bucknell can score any points against the Spiders, I'll be impressed. Richmond 54, Bucknell 0.

Princeton over Lafayette. How many times can I say that Princeton is good? They will give Lafayette a battle over 4 quarters once again, and can you say: 4-35-3 lifetime against the Tigers? It will be another close game - and another Leopard loss. (And here's another prediction: I'll be saying again next week that I told you so.) Princeton 24, Lafayette 20.

Holy Cross over Marist. After getting beat up by Northeastern and Harvard, the Crusaders should right the ship against Marist of the MAAC. HC 31, Marist 14.

Water Cooler Picks: I-AA Top 25, Week 4
So far this year (not counting Patriot League games, which I can't pick at at all), I'm 45-15 with the rest of the Top 25. I can live with that. I still think about those games I should have won, like picking Central Connecticut State over Georgia Southern and then reversing it since "Erk" Russell passed away, and last week's game where Furman's chance to upset I-A North Carolina was overturned in a very controversial replay call. Oh well. Hopefully I keep things up this week.

#1 New Hampshire over Dartmouth. You've got to believe that New Hampshire will stumble sometime - but not here. See Dartmouth get their best crowd of the year - with more than half the stands packed with UNH fans. UNH 44, Dartmouth 15.

#2 Appalachian State over Gardner-Webb. It's just so hard to see the "heavyweights" lose these types of games. App St. 35, G-W 10.

I-A San Jose State over #3 Cal Poly. This is an extremely interesting matchup. The I-A Spartans can't stop anyone, but have a potent offense, while the 'Stangs have one of the best defenses in I-AA but have had trouble scoring. To me, it's a bad matchup. The Spartans take this round. SJSU 24, Cal Poly 7.

#4 Montana over Sacramento State. Someday, the Hornets will pull a huge Big Sky upset, but not here. Montana 34, Sac St. 9.

#5 Illinois State over Murray State. The OVC's Murray State is in disarray, and having the red-hot Redbirds come to town is no way to get better. ISU 54, Murray 6.

#20 Western Carolina over #6 Furman. Watch out for these Catamounts. They're pretty good, and with Furman stung by an all-out effort against I-A North Carolina this week, they are ripe for an upset. WCU 31, Furman 28.

#8 Youngstown State over #15 UC-Davis. Another great matchup between two beat-up schools that have had a great September. Y-Town is fresh off a pasting by I-A Penn State, and UC-Davis is fresh off their shellacking of Montana State 45-0... on the road! This time, I think their fourth game which requires a flight will take its toll on the Aggies, though, as a fresher Y-Town takes this game in a close game. YSU 34, UC-D 32.

#9 UMass over Stony Brook. Stony Brook continues their "Theater of Pain" tour. UMass 56, SB 7.

I-A Ball State over #10 North Dakota State. This is neither here nor there, but don't you think there are way too many Great West teams in the Top 10? I do; and it seems like the most overrated of the bunch will probably fall here. Ball St. 48, NDSU 19.

#11 McNeese State over I-A Toledo. McNeese is the toughest team to figure in the whole Top 25, with a loss to I-A USF and huge win over D-II West Virginia Tech. Are they really the best in the Southland? With Toledo's suspect defense, I think they will break out in a close game that they just pull out. McNeese 41, Toledo 30.

#12 Southern Illinois over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. A big road game after a huge win at I-A Indiana is a recipie for a "letdown", but hey, this is Arkansas-Pine Bluff. SIU 41, Ark-PB 10.

#14 Hampton over Morgan State. I'll be at this game and it will be a lot of fun to attend my first real "Classic". Hampton has not one, but two, great rushers in Alonzo Coleman and Kevin Beverly, and both should run all over the Bears. Hampton 48, Morgan State 7.

Weber State over #16 Portland State. Upset special. A classic letdown situation: a brutal early schedule, playing an underrated team on the road, with #4 Montana the following week. Weber wins. Weber St. 27, PSU 24.

#17 James Madison over Northeastern. James Madison is searching for their identity, but Northeastern has found theirs: They can't beat the better teams. With a week off, give me the Dukes. JMU 24, N'Eastern 21.

#18 Eastern Illinois over Samford. The Bulldogs' 17-10 near-loss to Austin Peay tells me a lot more than the Panther's near-win over Illinois State 44-30. EIU 38, Samford 21.

#19 Delaware over Rhode Island. If *every* Delaware fan is picking Delaware to lose this game, you've got to beleive there's something fishy going on. On paper, Delaware wins handily; it really is a must-win game; therefore, Delaware wins... big. Delaware 44, Rhody 9.

Chattanooga over #21 Georgia Southern. Ultimately, everyone will figure out that this Georgia Southern team isn't that good. Chatty 36, GSU 20.

Hofstra over #22 Towson. Towson, ranked for the first time ever, will find out how hard it is to stay ranked after losing to a team that has had two weeks to prepare for them. Hofstra 29, Towson 14.

Brown over #23 Harvard. Harvard's on their third-string QB, and Brown is looking for revenge for their only league loss last year. Clifton Dawson won't be able to keep the Crimson in the Top 25 alone. Brown 38, Harvard 16.

#24 Nicholls State over South Dakota State. The less said, the better. NSU 49, SDSU 3.

Albany over #25 Central Connecticut State. The NEC game of the year, and it will be a good game between CCSU's spread option and Albany's big running game and powerful defense. From this reporter's viewpoint, it will be a tough battle - the winner may, just may, have a shot at the I-AA playoffs, and both teams know it. I wish this game was on TV - it will be great theater. My feeling? I think Albany wins this in the closing seconds in a clean, well-fought game with a FG. Albany 16, CCSU 13.

That's it for this week! See you Monday!

Comments

Ngineer said…
"I like my Leopard medium rare" ;-)
Anonymous said…
so all of a sudden is the NEC taking over the patriot league. They now have a team ranked in top 25, PL has none. They have many good wins this year v. the PL. You predict another big one today. Are we seeing the NEC do what the PL did? I dont know how this is happening, just in the last two years PL has had 2 teams make the playoffs and play well. Unbelievable
Anonymous said…
the patriot is officially horrible. if lehigh doesnt win this league they need to do some MAJOR rebuilding.
Anonymous said…
It's a shame, but I'll have to agree with some of the posters. I am not in favor of the player and coach bashing and I believe those people to be ignorant. The problem clearly lies with the administrations of all patriot league members. It is what it is. The NEC has passed the Patriot in talent, not caught up with. It seemingly happened overnight which is disturbing. I know that Lafayette supporters are really pushing the scholarship issue and rightfully so. Its been a long time coming. The grant in aid program that so many compare to scholarships and call it a disguise is a joke. Grant in aid is not scholarships by any stretch of the imagination. I just don't see the harm in becoming full scholarship programs. There is plenty of money to go around at all of these schools. It has gotten to the point of embarassment. The NEC schools were the patsies, the scheduled win padder. Now it appears as if the Patriot teams are the patsies and that is sad. I could never in a million years expect to hear Central Connecticut, Albany and the like mentioned in the same company as Lehigh. The changing landscape will require the Lehigh faithful to recite the serenity prayer often. The patriot league administrators don't really care, it's the loyalists that were spoiled for years that are the most affected. The NEC teams and Princeton are not actually good football teams they are not, that is a fact. To suggest that they are is ludicrous. I believe that Lehigh is the best of the lot. There are a couple of injured players that upon their return will help with depth, at least those players are of the rugged and tough minded types that Coach Coen desires. We may see a shift to a WEST COAST style of offense which seems to be what a Sedale led team is more suited for, but Im not the coach. I think with little tweaks here and there, the ship for this year will be righted. It is not unreasonable to still expect the last game of the year to have large playoff potential and it is not at all unreasonable to think thet Lehigh can't run the tables. If the team can get into the Villanova win mindset and not allow in fighting and back biting to affect them, they will be fine. In the long run it will be up to the administrators to either shit or get the hell off the pot. I have faith in Coach Coen, the staff and the Lehigh players. At this point if you don't have anything positive to contribute, you should think a couple of times before posting, it doesn't do you or the team any good. With that said, LEHIGH 21 NEW HAMPSHIRE 20...God grant me the serenity....
Ngineer said…
Kudos on your call in the Monmouth/Colgate game. I didn't see anyone else calling that one.
THe PL will definitely have to make a decision SOON on the scholarship issue IF they want to stay competitive. WE did it with wrestling, basketball and some other sports--so why not football? If teams like Stanford, Rice, Duke, and Notre Dame can have excellent academics with athletic scholarships, so can we.
Anonymous said…
cheers to the last two messages. After five decades of watching Lehigh footbal, I began to believe we'll need scholarships way back in the golden days of late 90's. If we chose to stay local in the east, thenno. But if there is national goals, then without question. It's interesting that Lafayette who just a few years back almost dropped or downgraded the sport, now is putting big bucks into a fiels upgrade and it is there the under current of scholarships is bubbling away. Fact is we came to this conclusion for wrestling years back. Football is no different. Look around us. As a league the PL is razor thin to remain as a playoff berth league. Too many other teams and leagues around the coutry want in and are upgrading to earn that status. I think Joe has done a heck odf a job to keep the league in contintion, but there will come a time (sooner or later) when that battle is lost. Heck, we the league) cannot even consistently beat non-conf teams any more. So we beat each other up during the last half of the season. nationally that doesn't impress any one, except maybe us. Bottom line with the league is no different than any other activity in this competitive world, grow/improve or fall back. We have a minimum number of league games and several of those are just football members. We need at least one/tow more football only keague members and we'll need to begin introducing scholarships sooner than later. I've never understood the concept that scholarships somehome dilute the classroom aspect of team members, or the school for that matter. Does it in wrestling? Of course not. It's not an either or thing, have both. If the PL intends to remain a nationally reconized league we need to review ourselves. Heck, we cannot even keep even one member in the top 25 anymore. Used to have two, sometimes three. Others are moveing forward and we are running in place. Nothing here is intended to degrade the coaches or current players. Not their fault. Lets get serious about this league in football or in no small amount of time we'll be off the radar screen nationally. But I don't see how that'll help the university. Some people simply don't choose to understand that a quality foot ball team brings national arttention to the school in other areas too. Keep quality, give scholarships to those who work so hard, bt in the classroom and on the field, and we'll be a better school for it. Beat Harvard An Old Grad
Drunken Engineer said…
Help, I've fallen and can't get to my beer
Anonymous said…
Two comments on this thread of discussion:

1 - The Patriot League teams are mediocre this year. It's a down year in the entire league - these things do happen sometimes. I doubt that anybody will run the table thru the league. It is quite possible that Lehigh, unable to continue their 8-wins-in-a-season streak, and unable to go 6-0 in the league, would still win the title and go to the playoffs. Way too rearly to give up, if your goal is the playoffs and a trip to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving.

2 - The scholarships will come eventually in this league. If they do it for other sports, it's ludicrous to say no for football only. The presidents started down this path in the late 90s, after Fordham dropped out of the league (except for football, hanece the desire to latch onto that one-sport exception) and Holy Cross nearly dropped out. I don't know if Dr. Gast has any personal opinions yet on the subject, but eventually the other presidents will be swept along into the scholarship mode.
As for the Ivy League "scholarships only" mode, I cannot count how often I have heard a student-athlete brag that they won a "sholarship" to Princeton, Brown, etc. to play a certain sport. Certainly the disctinction between grant-in-aid and scholarship is lost on them.

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