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CSN Patriot League Preview Released

It's finally out: the College Sporting News Magazine's Patriot League preview. It includes a full preview of every team in the league, three lengthy articles, and basically should do quite a bit towards getting you pumped through this labor day weekend for the opener versus Villanova (only ten days away!).

Of course I invite you to read the entire preview (and not just the Patriot League part of it), but to tease you here's my predicted order of finish:

  1. Holy Cross
  2. Lehigh
  3. Lafayette
  4. Bucknell
  5. Colgate
  6. Fordham
  7. Georgetown

Here's the five questions I'm imagining you're asking about this.

For God's Sakes man, why Holy Cross at #1? First of all, never underestimate the value of an offense returning nearly all the pieces from last year. They had a great year last year, and most likely will only get better this year with junior QB Dominic Randolph and senior WR Ryan Maher. Defensively they are more of an X-factor, but they do have one of the best defensive backs in the nation in senior CB Casey Gough, and if they put all the pieces together they certainly have the tools to win the whole thing. And don't underestimate that they were picked to finish in the middle of the pack at Media Day. The Crusaders already had Babe-the-Blue-Ox-sized chip on their shoulders, and that day it just got bigger. You were warned.

Is Colgate really that bad to remain at #5? The problem with the Raiders is that although their offensive line should be better from last year (when it was a M*A*S*H unit), junior QB Alex Relph (or, possibly, junior QB Anthony Fucillo) is a huge question mark on this team. Teams with big questions at QB I tended to underrate (Lafayette, Colgate) since it takes time to see how they will come along. If Relph doesn't pull things together, stopping Colgate will be easy: put eight men in the box and stop RB Jordan Scott. (Not coincidentally, if Lafayette's QB Mike DiPaola doesn't come along as well, you can pull the same strategy on the Leopards.) I stand by my pick - though I'm quick to point out, many many people have pointed to Colgate as a sleeper pick for the title this year.

Man, all that writing you do is so great. What does it take to be able to do something like this? I've very glad you asked this question: a tough, but fair question. First of all, you need to be certifiably insane for starters. You need to be able to devote unheard-of amounts of time and energy, be able to schedule time incredibly effectively so that your wife and son don't leave you and you don't lose your job, and above all you need to be able to track down exactly which Hoya offensive linemen are returning from 2006 -- in May.

What is going to happen with the Academic Index (AI) and scholarships? I feel like it is a mortal lock for the AI to be modified in some way. I am hoping that it won't be done in the same way it's done for the Ivy League (which I don't believe to be a fair way to implement it - the "banding system" favors Harvard, Yale and Princeton too much) but will be done in a new, visionary sort of way. As for scholarships, the coaches and the league brass seem like they are very gung-ho about the possibility, though it remains to be seen if the university presidents are as gung-ho as well. My vision is some combination of a tight AI and scholarships will be in the works very soon.

Are we going to have another year like 2006 with losses to the Ivies and a league champion with barely a .500 record? I really don't think so. Unlike many folks, I'm an optimist about this year since the crop of star players around the league this year - to me - is stronger than in 2006. Senior QB Sedale Threatt, senior LB Mike Gallihugh, senior CB Casey Gough... not to mention that last year the Patriot League was breaking in three new head coaches. I think there is a good chance Georgetown, Fordham and Lehigh will be better, Bucknell's young team will be better (especially if they can avoid injury), and the Ivy and NEC teams won't sneak up on us anymore. That should not be underestimated - and I'm thinking that the Patriot League will be better against the Ivies and NEC. Call my fearless prediction: a .500 as a league in all of our out-of-conference games, and the champion will have a 9-2 record.


Anonymous said…
who the hell is Shea Relph? Colgate has an Alex Relph, and he isn't even the starter.
Chuck B '92 said…
Fixed the typo with Alex Relph... and also added a reference to the other potential starter. Thanks for the catch.
Nice job! I agree that Holy Cross is the team to beat this year in the league. The UMass game should give us some indication of how they are coming together.
Anonymous said…
Shea Ralph (not Relph) was a point guard for UConn women's basketball 1996 -2001. Player of the year in 2000 and now an asst coach at Pitt. If you didn't see her play, you missed a great one.

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