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Friday Water Cooler: Lehigh/G'Town

It's that time again - you can tell from the cheesy graphic to your left that it's Friday Water Cooler time. It's time for game predictions, what I did last weekend, last minute Lehigh/G'Town notes, press mashups, and (of course) some general misbehavin'.

Of course, despite the presence of North Korea and Iran pursuing nukes, the shocking "Foley and Hastert Congressional Page Scandal", and (of course) dogs in cute costumes, the really big news in the world OUGHT to be: Lehigh Football Nation has now eclipsed the 100,000 hit plateau! Maybe I ought to commemorate this somehow, like printing up some T-shirts?

ESPN/Sports Radio Are Becoming A Bunch Of Teenage Girls
No, really. Have you been following the T.O./McNabb stuff on ESPN, or the "New York Fans Now Hate A-Rod" stuff? I'm all for personal angle stories, but this teenage business has got to be some of the dopiest stuff I've heard in the history of sports reporting. "Coming up next: T.O. seen out in public with Bledsoe, while McNabb stews!" "T.O. was wearing a dapper Louis Vuitton suit, complete with lapels, and... do I see a new diamond earring?"

It's hard to beleive we've gone from "I ain't got no quarrel with no Viet Cong" in Muhammed Ali's boxing career to "I didn't get Donovan's text message, tee hee!". If anything shows how detached from reality we and the members of the professional sports world have become, it's this drivel. Personally, I could give a rat's ass how T.O., McNabb and Yankee fans feel. What I care about is what athletes do on the field of play. Leave the other stuff to Joan Rivers and her daughter.

What Chuck Did Last Week
Speaking of Yankee fans and the "Heart of Darkness", it's true, I went down to Delaware to watch one of the best games I've ever seen with New Hampshire hanging on to beat the Hens 52-49. You can read my I-AA Diary of the game here on I-AA.org. In all seriousness, I had a great time, mostly because Delaware wasn't playing Lehigh, they were playing New Hampshire. It was an incredible game and an incredible atmosphere.

This week, I'm not going to any games as I'm instead going to celebrate my son's birthday at home. You can bet that Lehigh/Georgetown will be involved, though, in some way with my day, and I will also be blogging about it.

Lehigh/Georgetown
Remember when I said that I was hoping that Lehigh will play another "monsoon game"? Well, I'm getting my wish. Forecast for the D.C. area calls for an inch of rain tonight, followed by a half inch of rain tomorrow. So along with your cans of Yuengling, bring your ponchos.

This could be a good thing for our beloved Mountain Hawks, playing in this "weather game". If any team needed a "weather win", it's Lehigh after heartbreakingly losing their last two. I think if we pull out a win here in bad conditions, this could be a great building point for the rest of the year. Really.

For those not making the trip, the Lehigh/Georgetown game is the only game that will not be broadcast on video through LehighSports.com. From the link, however, you can get the audio call on AM 1230 and AM 1320 from the fine team of Matt Kerr and Marty Horn. For those of you who have CSTV XXL, there may be video of this game available through the Hoya website as well, but this is unconfirmed. (Of course, if you're a Lehigh fan, why would you have CSTV XXL?)

Finally, Georgetown finally released their game notes today and announced that Bassuener will be the starter, but don't be surprised to see Hostetler also come in at QB for the Hoyas. In addition, junior LB Stephen Smith is starting at LB over junior Darren Craft. Smith is a bit bigger than Craft, and we'll see if that has any impact.

Water Cooler Picks: Patriot League, Week 6
Duquesne over Fordham. Although Duquesne has a "turnover problem", the Dukes' passing game poses a matchup problem for the Rams, and Fordham's whole offense is still in disarray. Dukes win. Dukes 31, Fordham 24.

#21 Princeton over Colgate. An intriguing matchup, this game pits one of the most fearsome defenses in I-AA against one of the Patriot League's best backs in RB Jordan Scott. But what frightens me more is that Princeton's running game is really starting to get on track. If Colgate breaks the 28 point barrier, I think they win, but I think the Tigers win a, well, typical low-scoring Princeton game. Princeton 19, Colgate 17.

Penn over Bucknell. This is a more intriguing game than meets the eye, and if Bucknell makes a game of it I wouldn't be surprised. After struggling against Dartmouth last week, this is a real test for the Quakers to see if they can establish the run after failing to do so last week. My bet is 'yes'. AFLACers 35, Bison Burgers 21.

Holy Cross over Brown. Brown seems to be a major Ivy disappointment this year, but Holy Cross overcame a plethora of mistakes to beat Fordham last week. More worryingly for the Bears is their inability to stop anybody. This seems like a good spot for the Crusaders to continue their winning streak. HC 28, Brown 21.

Water Cooler Picks: Top 25, Week 6
#1 New Hampshire over #8 Richmond. I should probably know better, since everything about this game points to a "letdown" for the Wildcats and a fired-up Spider squad. But I'm not picking against Santos and Ball. No way. UNH 31, Richmond 10.

#2 Appalachian State over Chattanooga. Just a horrible matchup for the Mocs, who have a weak passing game, facing a fearsome Mountaineer rush defense. App St. 38, Chatty 9.

#3 Montana over Eastern Washington. The Grizzlies' stomp over the rest of the Big Sky continues. Griz 30, EWU 7.

#4 Furman over Coastal Carolina. Felton's rushing means the Paladins should crush the Beach Chickens, as they are unable to contain the run vey well against SoCon foes. Furman 35, Chickens 21.

Western Kentucky over #5 Illinois State. I'm sticking with a team which did me right last week in Western Kentucky. At home, they squeaked a tough 38-35 win over Western Illinois, while the Redbirds are on their second straight road trip off a lackluster performance by QB Luke Drone. It should be another dandy, with the Hilltoppers on top - late. WKU 41, ISU 34.

#16 UC-Davis over #6 Cal Poly. It doesn't matter what the records are; it doesn't matter what the rankings are; it doesn't matter who's in uniform. Davis ALWAYS beats Poly. Bank on it. UC-Davis 23, Cal Poly 21.

#7 Youngstown State over Indiana State. After seeing that the Sycamores got drubbed 55-3 by Southern Illinois, it's hard to see anything but smooth sailing for the Penguins. Y-Town 47, Trees 0.

#24 Georgia Southern over #9 North Dakota State. A tough game to call. The Bison have one of the best, balanced offenses in the nation, while the Eagles are starting to get things together offensively. If the Bison can hang up the Eagle running game, they will win, but I have a hunch that the Eagles, playing at home, get that huge win they need to stay in the playoff chase. The Bison, playing their third straight road game, fall just short. GSU 31, NDSU 29.

#10 UMass over William & Mary. A-10 League games are always dangerous, and the Tribe's defense are surprisingly solid despite their 1-3 record. Still, I think Coen, Baylark and company fins a way to crack this nut. It will be surprisingly close, but the Minutemen pull it out in the end. ZooMass 28, Bill & Mary 27.

#11 Southern Illinois over Western Illinois. I don't care how much the Leathernecks have improved - the Salukis, bar none, are the best 4-0 team you've never heard of. How they're not ranked in the Top 5 I'll never know. SIU 44, WIU 13.

#12 Hampton over D-II Central State. Should be a walkover, but please do me a favor and take the points. Future MEAC Champs 40, Central State 21.

#13 James Madison over Rhode Island. Somehow I think the Dukes' balanced attack will make short work of the Rams, just like they did to the Northeastern Huskies. Dukes roll. JMU 49, Rhody 19.

#14 Northern Iowa over Missouri State. Two teams that are going in opposite directions: the Panthers are getting better and better, and the Bears are getting worse and worse. I figure that trend to continue. UNI 38, Mizzou St. 13.

Montana State over #15 Portland State. A more intriguing matchup than you might think. In a way, this is a must-win for both teams, with the Vikings' tough defense starting to show cracks versus a Bobcat team who seems to have rediscovered their offense. I'm going to go Bobcats here. The Vikings have lost their past two trips to Bozeman, and I think Montana State's resurgence is for real. Kittens 27, Vikings 17.

#17 Towson over Maine. Though Maine isn't a bad team, it's just hard to picture them coming back from their 22-0 whitewash against I-A Boston College and then handling Towson after a bye week. The fresher team - the Tigers - take it. Towson 34, Maine 21.

#18 Harvard over Cornell. The Crimson will take this game, but please, take the points with an improving Cornell squad. Harvard 38, Cornell 22.

#19 Eastern Illinois over Southeast Missouri State. I admit it; I did no research for this OVC game, but watch me predict the right outcome. EIU 43, SEMO 13.

#20 Delaware over Northeastern. An awfully tough game to pick. Are the Hens emotionally up after their loss at home to New Hampshire in a must-win game? Can the Hens stop the Husky running attack? Can the Huskies make fewer mistakes? I think the Hens find a way to pull this out, just like they did against Rhody, and stay "playoff-viable". Hens 24, Puppies 20.
#22 San Diego over Butler. History is being made here; I beleive I'm picking my first-ever Pioneer Football League game. Of course, you'd have to be a fool to pick Butler here. Take the Toreros. San Diego 45, Butler 5.

Tennessee Tech over #23 Tennessee-Martin. It's not like the Golden Eagles have played great all year. And it's not like the TN-Martin Skyhawks are bad. But after seeing how the Eagles won their first two league games by lots of good luck and perserverance, I think they keep this thing going in similar fashion with a decent defense and a lot of good luck. TT 24, TN-Martin 22.

South Dakota State over #25 Central Arkansas. The Jackrabbits are happy to be home, finally, after a 4-game road trip. Watch as they feast on an overrated Bear squad. The Jacks may have started slow, but they've proven they can beat the best of the Southland, and this will continue. Jacks 23, UCA 17.

Press Mash-up
Allentown Morning Call:
Hawks Need To Avoid Swoon
Upshot: ''At times, we've put it all together and have played well, then other times we seem to struggle,'' Rakus said. ''We think we can fix that. We have to fix it and we have to fix it now because the league starts Saturday.' But I can tell you what it's not. It's not that we're getting too comfortable with a lead. How could you get comfortable when you're a 1-3 team? We've just got to finish better. We can't let teams back in the game.''

Easton Express-Times:
Struggling Lehigh Eager to Hit the Road
Upshot: "Every night I go to bed," Coen said, "I'm a little sick that we're 1-3. I'd like to think of it as Georgetown is a championship game," Coen said. "Then the next week is our championship game. Our season starts anew in the Patriot League this week."

Brown & White:
First League Win On the Line
Upshot: “We have a team motto that we always play for sixty minutes,” senior FS Erine Moore said. “Except for the Villanova game, we haven’t been doing that.”

The Hoya:
GU Must Decrease Turnovers to have Success
Upshot: “They’re 1-3, but they’re an excellent 1-3,” Hoya head coach Kevin Kelly said of the Mountain Hawks. “They were up on Harvard 24-7, they let the lead slip away, and you can see on film that they are an excellent football team — they might be the best football team we have played thus far.”

Matt Bassuener: Power of Ten
Upshot: "[Hoya QB] Bassuener, who was recruited by former Head Coach Bob Benson [and played U-21 American football in Finland and Mexico], transferred to the School of Foreign Service and redshirted the 2004 season, in accordance with NCAA rules. He played the 2005 season primarily as a defensive back, appearing in every game on special teams. It wasn’t until the spring of 2006, when a new coaching staff came in, that Bassuener got a chance to see some playing time at quarterback."

HoyaSaxa:
Lehigh/Georgetown Preview
Upshot: "The Hoyas' defense hasn't matched up to recent standards, particularly on pass defense. The front line must pressure Threatt and force him out of sync; otherwise, he stands to pound the smaller Hoya secondary. Two players to watch will be LB's Mike Greene and Stephen Smith, both of which can help provide a mix of defensive sets to keep the Engineers off stride. If Georgetown gets its game together and plays to its potential, this is no walkover game. After three long weeks on the road, however, they need to prove it first to themselves, and then to the fans on both sides of the unfinished field."

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