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Sunday's Word: Quarter

Hard to believe, isn't it? College football is a twelve weekend season, and we've just gotten through the third weekend of the year. That means the season is - you guessed it - a "quarter" of the way through.

So what have we discovered in the Patriot League so far, with 25% of the season finished?

We've discovered that 3-0 Holy Cross is still the team to beat so far - they beat nationally-ranked Harvard (No. 25) 27-20 in a thriller at Fitton field this weekend. But 3-0 Colgate has definitely also established themselves as a heavyweight contender with wins over Monmouth in Week 1, Stony Brook in Week 2, and surviving an early struggle to put away Dartmouth 34-15.

When you look at the rest of the league, however, the glass doesn't seem half full - it's more like three-"quarter"s empty.

0-3 Georgetown's struggles on offense are becoming the stuff of legend. The poor Hoyas haven't scored a single offensive touchdown in three games - think about that a second - in their losses to Holy Cross, Lafayette, and Yale. They're averaging 26 yards a game rushing, 115th/118 in all of FCS. They're only scoring 6.67 points per game - mostly on defense - bad enough for 111th in all of FCS.

1-2 Bucknell's offensive numbers aren't much better. Total offense: 260 yards per game (90th). Pass defense: 255 yards per game (99th). Sacks allowed: 3 per game (102nd). On offense, the Bison have only scored 4 touchdowns all year. And their opponents - Duquesne, Robert Morris, and Cornell - haven't exactly been a murderer's row in year's past.

0-2 Fordham's passing offense has been one of the better ones in FCS in their first two games - thanks to senior QB John Skelton - but their team appears to have come apart, giving up more than 30 points to Rhode Island and Columbia. It gets worse: they're giving up more than 200 yards per game on the ground (100th), giving up a passer efficiency of 155.51 (108th), and ending with a turnover margin of -4 (118th, or worst in FCS).

In fact, take away Colgate at Holy Cross, the rest of the league is a combined 2-10 - one of those wins Lafayette's over Georgetown, and the other a freaky 26-23 win by Bucknell over Robert Morris with two interception returns for touchdowns.

Having said that, "that school in Easton"'s and Lehigh's report cards are, for the most part, filled in as "incomplete" by most fans at this point. Lafayette dominated Georgetown, 28-3, and came oh-so-close against Liberty - a team ranked No. 24 in some polls. Lehigh - as you probably know - struggled against Central Connecticut State 28-21 in game one, and played better but was still swamped by the No. 2 team in the nation, Villanova, by a 38-17 score.

This coming week for sure is a "show-me" week for the entire league (save Holy Cross, who enters their bye week).

The biggest game is Fordham at Colgate, where the Rams' success this season could very well be do-or-die, while Colgate will need to continue to establish themselves atop the league. Bucknell and Georgetown have winnable games against Marist and Howard, respectively, and need desperately to get better consistency in the areas I've pointed out.

But I'd argue that it's Lehigh and Lafayette - even more than Colgate or Fordham - that have the most to show this coming week. Lafayette desperately needs to beat Penn, and Lehigh needs to beat Princeton to prove themselves relevant in the Patriot League race. A 1-2 Leopard squad and an 0-3 Lehigh squad - could they really be taken seriously as Patriot League title contenders in the case of a loss next week?

With the Patriot League season a "quarter" complete, there are a lot of teams in the lower "quartile" in a lot of categories - not to mention the one that matters, wins and losses. If the Patriot League doesn't turn things around this coming week, it's going to be a long year for most of the league.


Anonymous said…
Ok here's some questions for anyone that truly knows the answers. How come we are nowhere near as good as Holy Cross, Colgate, or Lafayette, talent wise. None of them have scholarships and none of them are really complaining. The only team that has made the scholarship announcement is hapless Fordham and it won't make a difference when they do get scholarships because they will always stink. The coach over there has a fluke year and starts running his fat mouth as if he is responsible. I think it is playing out now exactly how good a coach he is. With regards to Coen's approach, he certainly hasn't brought much talent through the doors, a few but nowhere near the amount that Lembo used to. How much say does Andy have in the recruiting process, or does he leave it up to another of his coaches to judge talent? Are they doing as good a job as they are getting paid for? How much do the assistant coqaches get paid at LU? How about Andy?
Anonymous said…
I don't know what Andy makes, but I'd guess that most monies available for salaries goes to headman, very little trickling down to assistants. This accounts for the transience among assistants at LU.

I guess it goes without saying that better players can translate to better team record, but let's not forget coaching. Andy inherited all (most) of Pete Lembo's players, kids who averaged 8 - 9 wins a season under Lembo. Presto - As soon as Andy arrived, it's six wins. Then 5, then 5....who would've expected his first season (6-5) to be the high water mark?

I think Andy's a lousy head coach and Joe Sterrett needs to assume some responsibility. He rolled the dice in replacing Hank Small with an untested young coach (Higgins) and it worked. He tried agin when Higgins left and Lembo held his end of the bargain. The third time he rolled the same dice - snake eyes!

My proof? How about checking Andy's record in close games, decided by 10 or less? Counting the CCSU game this year the record is 0-11. Go ahead, check it out. Why such a poor record? Because of a lack of talent? Not a valid excuse in close games. If the game is close, the assumption has to be that regardless who you are playing, the game is winnable, right? Ever see the commotion along the sideline when LU has possession? Thirteen players signaling? I have lost count of the false starts on offense, the "twelve men on the field" penalties, the kick coverers who allow live balls to hit them, the defensive backs who play the man and never the ball, leading to pass interference calls....

You are what the record says that you are. Unless Andy finishes real strong, like 8 and 3 with a w against LC, I'd say get rid of him and bring in an experienced man. Otherwise, all the talent in the world won't really matter.

Voice Of Reason

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