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Friday Water Cooler: Princeton/Lehigh

I'm undecided as to whether to keep this "Water Cooler" graphic to your left. Maybe it's because I've worked for too many large companies in my time, but there's something about it that reminds me of "harassment training". ("Is Bill is making unwanted advances towards Candy by asking her to see his coffee cup collection in his cubicle tonight?")

Anyway, if you're seeing this graphic it must mean that it's "Friday Water Cooler" time, where we make one last go-around the picks of the week, last-minute news about Lehigh/Princeton, my plans, and maybe even a joke about Kanye West.

Kanye, Where Are Ye?
The answer to that is: Touring with the Stones. That's right, the Rolling Stones. (Brought to you by Cialis and Lipitor.) Hard to understand the motivation behind this. Trying to get break into that "white 50-and-over" market? Granted, the Stones somehow (inexplicably) still sell out concerts, so it is a moneymaker. Still, what could be next? "Coming to an Arena near you! "Rush... and Jay-Z... team up for: "Still Singin' '2112' after all dose yearz!"

Lehigh/Princeton
Your updated weather is calling for showers ending very early... and *ample sunshine* in time for kickoff. Should be a great afternoon for football in the mid-70s. It's going to be Wachovia Community Day, with an appearance by Nextel Cup/ NASCAR driver Mark Martin's No. 6 Ford Fusion car. I'm not a NASCAR fan, but I'm sure there are a lot of NASCAR dads (and NASCAR kids, for that matter) that will want to see that. Lehigh ROTC, the Bethlehem Fire Company, and the local Boy and Cub scouts will also be honored at halftime (as is the Community Day tradition).

As for me...
I'm going to be going to the Fordham/Columbia game in upper Manhattan, making my overdue pilgrimage to this NYC rivalry and maybe even getting somewhat serious in my I-AA.org column regarding 9/11. Since I'll be there, I won't be blogging live about the game. However, I'll be catching the replay on lehighsports.com later in the day as to not miss any action.

This, of course, segways nicely into the...

Water Cooler Picks: Patriot League, Week 3
Fordham over Columbia. I'll be watching this battle for New York City superiority. This game is always close - give me Fordham by a Micah Culkey FG. Fordham 15, Columbia 14.

Harvard over Holy Cross. Another big rivalry game that should get a lot of local interest in the Boston area. If Harvard runs RB Clifton Dawson down the throats of the Crusaders, though, they should pull it out just like Northeastern did. Harvard 21, HC 17.

#21 Lafayette over Penn. It will be close, but it's hard to imagine the Leopards sleepwalking through this, their big "show me" game of their early schedule. Lafayette 24, Penn 21.

Brown over Georgetown. Georgetown is vastly improved, but Brown just seems like a bad matchup for this young team. Brown 27, G'Town 0.

Colgate over Dartmouth. Mix "loss to UMass", "bye week", and "revenge for last year" all together, and you have a major blowout. Colgate 46, Dartmouth 3.

Cornell over Bucknell. Hopefully the Bison will be able to rebound from last week's shutout, but Cornell should prove to be too tough, even on the road. Cornell 35, Bucknell 17.

Water Cooler Picks: Top 25, Week 3
#1 New Hampshire over Stony Brook. This will probably be a letdown game, but it's still pretty lopsided. UNH 31, SB 0.

#2 Appalachian State over Mars Hill (D-II). Another major D-II upset? Nah. ASU 30, Mars Hill 14.

#3 Cal Poly over Sacramento State.
For some games, the less said, the better. Cal Poly 27, Sac State 0.

#5 Furman over I-A North Carolina.
This Tar Heel team is really struggling in the reaches of I-A and will be starting a new QB. I've got to believe the Paladins, hungry for their first I-A win and one of the best teams in I-AA, can dispatch this struggling team handily. Furman 21, NC 10.

I-A Penn State over #6 Youngstown State.
Penn State ain't going to be happy losing to the Irish last week, and Joe Pa will not be afraid to put the hammer down. Should be a long day for Y-Town. PSU 56, YSU 3.

#17 Eastern Illinois over #7 Illinois State.
I like what I'm seeing from these Panthers, and in a hard-fighting game, I think they narrowly squeak this one out. EIU 24, ISU 21.

#8 Richmond over VMI.
Yes, Dick and Jane, I CAN say, "letdown". That means the Spiders "only" win by 27. Richmond 37, VMI 10.

#9 UMass over Villanova.
I don't like what Talley's doing to motivate his troops - basically, calling them unmotivated. Nonetheless, they should come out hard against the Minutemen, but it's hard to see them giving them much of a battle. UMass 37, Nova 20.

#10 North Dakota State over Northeastern.
An intruguing matchup that will probably be closer than most think. When the game is on the line, though, look for the Bison to pull this out. NDSU 24, N'Eastern 18.

#11 Delaware over Albany.
Albany's big crash towards reality continues. Delaware 35, Albany 3.

#12 Northern Iowa over South Dakota State.
Think coach Farley will be motivated to win this one resoundingly after last week's loss to D-II North Dakota? UNI 47, SDSU 3.

I-A California over #14 Portland State.
Portland State already has a I-A scalp (New Mexico) and a conference win (Northern Colorado), but California... I mean, UC-Berkeley... is a different matter altogether. Since they won't be overlooked, look for the Bears to cruise. UC-Berkeley 31, PSU 10.

#15 Hampton over North Carolina A & T.
Take the points in a "letdown" game, but this is looking like a part of the "Hampton MEAC Coronation Tour" more than anything else. Hampton 41, NC A&T 7.

I-A Indiana over #17 Southern Illinois.
Take the points, but I think Indiana takes this game. Coach Kill will undoubtedly make this one interesting, though. Indiana 28, SIU 20.

#20 Montana State over #19 UC-Davis.
The most intriguing matchup of the young season. Will the real Slim Shady.. I mean Bobcat team.. please stand up? You hate to call it a must-win game, but the Bobcats really have more to prove here than the Aggies - which would seem to spell a close quality win for them. MSU 31, UC-D 28.

Western Carolina over #22 Eastern Kentucky.
Even though the Catamounts are notoriously slow starters, I give the ever-so-slight edge of this battle of playoff contenders to the home side. The Catamount "D" should save the day. WCU 28, EKU 27.

I-A Louisiana Tech over #23 Nicholls State.
Although I'm not a La Blech fan, I can't see a I-AA triple-option team (with single-digit passing attempts combined in two games) take it to them. La Blech 28, Nicholls State 14.

#24 Idaho State over I-A Idaho.
The Vandals had better watch out - I think the Bengals will be highly motivated to stick it to them. They will, emphatically. ISU 34, Idaho 13.

Coastal Carolina over #25 Georgia Southern
. The Chantiecleers righted the ship with a big win last week over South Carolina State, and the Eagles could not have more questions after a loss 17-13 to Central Connecticut State of the NEC and a distracting drug arrest involving two of their players this week. I think Coastal continues to make this a season of questions for Georgia Southern. CCU 38, GSU 20.

Press Roundup and Mash-up

Finally, here's the pregame press for the game. Enjoy the game! It should be a great mid-September tailgate (and hopefully a Lehigh win)!

Allentown Morning Call:
Lehigh Facing Unfamiliar Skid, Unfamiliar Foe

Easton Express-Times:
Mountain Hawks Struggle At Home

Brown & White:
Hawks Look to Quiet Tigers' Roar

Trenton Times:
Tigers Have Pride

Mash-up:

They've won on the road, beat a highly-respected full-scholarship team and rallied back from three deficits to find victory -- all in one marvelous night at Villanova.

“The fact that we could come back three times against a good opponent shows trust,” junior offensive lineman Jimmy Kehs said.

Now the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks want to experience a similar feeling of success at home. "Coach Coen made it known," said wide receiver Frank Trovato, a former athlete at Bethlehem Catholic. "He allowed us to celebrate it for one more night. Now we have the Princeton Tigers on our mind.

"He wants us to have fun and wants it to be a great memory but that's what it is, a memory," he said.

"Coach told us that he's been having people come up to him and say, 'Great game. Now you just have to win at home,' " Trovato said. "Down at Villanova, we had just as many fans as they did. We have great fans, great alumni. What better way to reward them than with a win at home."

"I know how upset the kids were the way last season ended," Coen said, "and with us not playing well enough to win the first week (this season). We need to win a home game."

"It's important for us to establish ourselves at home," Fabre said. "We enjoy being at home, but there's always more pressure being at home. Quite honestly, you're on a bigger stage at home. You know there's going to be a lot more of your fans there, you know it's being televised locally. You know there's more media there, so yes, there's more pressure."

“It was my fault that we lost [against Albany],” senior defensive lineman Eric Rakus said. “You have to do your job, and I didn’t. I did better against Villanova and hope to continue my progress against Princeton.”

(Dude, Eric, last I checked there you had 21 other teammates that started that day. It's past. Keep getting better.)

“Our attitude has to remain the same,” Head Coach Andy Coen said. “We have seen already this season that the underdog can come out on top.”

...
Fifteen senior starters have departed from last year's 7-3 breakout season for head coach Roger Hughes, but the Tigers believe they can reload, not rebuild, with a number of players anxious to take leading roles.

On ivyleaguesports.com, Princeton’s Head Coach Roger Hughes said his team lacked experience at offensive line and linebacker.

"From what I heard, it's a fairly young team," Fabre said. "They don't have a lot of returning starters and they are starting one true freshman on the offensive line. Their quarterback is a senior [Jeff Terrell] who has played for a while and they have a really good receiving corps.

“Their center is a converted defensive lineman, which makes him smaller than your average offensive lineman,” Rakus said. “Hopefully I will have a better chance of pushing the packet.”

"It's a team we have to respect. Whether they've played no games or 10 games, we have to expect that they're going to come out and play their best football. They're probably like we were two weeks ago and are just anxious to hit somebody in a different colored jersey."

"Some people might look at us and say we're a no-name team, but for us we're going to make a name for ourselves," [sophomore DL Tom] Methvin said at Princeton's football media day. "We're young and we're happy and we're proud. What some may see as a weakness, we see it as a strength. We have a lot of great guys that people don't even know about and we're looking to really see those guys shine this year."

"[Tom is] a big, lovable-type guy," Princeton defensive coordinator Steve Verbit said, "who flips a switch when he's on the football field and basically destroys people. But when he's off the field, he's deeply religious and he cares a lot about people."

"We have to make sure," Hughes said, "that they have the mindset that, 'Hey, it's on me now and I have to make the play. I can't stand around and wait for someone else to do it.'"

Of course, head coach Andy Coen has a better handle on Princeton than his players since he saw them every year while he was the offensive coordinator at Penn. "Their defensive scheme will likely be similar to what it has been, because they've got the same coaches," Coen said. "[Hughes] always does a great job with the offense. They have a new offensive line coach who had been with Tubby Raymond at Delaware and it'll be interesting to see if he brings some new ideas. They do a good job with the play-action pass, they run some option and always have a few tricks up their sleeve.

"It's a hard team to prepare for. It may be a game where at halftime we go in the locker room and say we have to fix some things."

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