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Ready for the National Champs?

Some fans of Eastern universities complain about boring schedules, especially in September. Lehigh's schedule is anything but boring, though, in 2010.

It's time for Lehigh fans to mentally wrap our heads around the following truth: the Mountain Hawks' home opener is against none other than the defending FCS National Champions.

Lehigh has already opened their season ticket plans for 2010, and soon will make some individual games available for purchase. But aside from the obvious buzz around the game versus "that school in Easton", what could be the biggest out-of-conference game in recent memory will be on September 11th when Lehigh plays their home opener versus Villanova. (more)

Just so we're clear as well, it's not as if this fact escaped the Lehigh players either:

"We see it as a privilege," senior CB Jarard Cribbs said. "We take it as a challenge, they’ll probably be ranked No. 1. We hope to go in there and beat them, we don’t plan to go in there and lay down."

"I’m ready for it, let’s do it," senior RB Jay Campbell said. "Bring the champs, it’s all good. Let’s go."
The game versus the defending FCS champs highlights one of the stranger Lehigh schedules in some time.  Compared to last year, where Lehigh had nine games in the state of Pennsylvania and two games in the state of New York, Lehigh will open the season against Drake in Des Moines, Iowa.

To put this in perspective, it will be the first Mountain Hawk football team to hop on a plane for a football game since 2001 when Lehigh played Furman in Greeneville, SC in the 2001 playoffs.

Add to that another highly-anticipated game in late September at New Hampshire - a 350 mile bus ride away - and another game at Harvard, just under 300 miles from Bethlehem - and you have three games that easily represent more combined road miles than any Lehigh football season in recent memory.  You have to go back to 2000, when Lehigh beat Wofford in Spartanburg, SC to open the year and travelled to Macomb, IL to dominate Western Illinois in the first round of the FCS playoffs, to get a similar road log for a Lehigh football team.  (For good measure they played Harvard in Cambridge that year -- as well as Holy Cross in Worcester -- like Lehigh will be doing this year.)

Around these three long road trips are five home games in September and October against Nova, Princeton (9/18), Fordham (10/9), Bucknell (10/23) and Colgate (10/30). September and October are great months to watch Lehigh football, hopefully with some unseasonably warm weather and tailgating at Murray Goodman stadium.

Below is the full Lehigh football schedule for 2010, the tentative schedule for 2011, and the preseason Any Given Saturday ranking of each team if applicable.

2010 schedule
Sept 4 at Drake (2009: 8-3)
Sept 11 VILLANOVA (2009: 14-1) (AGS preseason ranking: #1)
Sept 18 PRINCETON (2009: 4-6)
Sept 25 at New Hampshire (2009: 10-3) (AGS preseason ranking: #6)
Oct 9 FORDHAM (2009: 4-7)
Oct 16 at Harvard (2009: 7-3) (AGS preseason ranking: Others Receiving Votes, #43)
Oct 25 BUCKNELL (2009: 4-7)
Oct 31 COLGATE (2009: 9-2) (AGS preseason ranking: Others Receiving Votes, #31)
Nov 6 at Holy Cross (2009: 9-3) (AGS preseason ranking: #25)
Nov 13 at Gerogetown (2009:0-11)
Nov 20 at Lafayette (2009: 8-3) (AGS preseason ranking: Others Receiving Votes, #34)

That's not a typo: games against six teams who showed up in the Any Given Saturday poll.  For good measure, there's seven teams with winning records in 2009, and four teams with more than eight wins.  The overall 2009 win-loss percentage from all eleven teams?  Try 61% - which could be the one of the highest in FCS.

Interestingly, Lehigh's 2011 schedule is far from finalized at this point, without games (yet) versus CAA teams or (perhaps) FBS teams.  Here's the schedule as it looks so far:

2011 schedule
Sept 3 OPEN
Sept 10 OPEN
Sept 17 at Princeton
Sept 24 OPEN
Oct 1 YALE
Oct 8 at Bucknell
Oct 15 at Fordham
Oct 22 OPEN
Oct 29 at Colgate

A lot of open dates - and at least one more spot for a home game.  It will be very interesting to see who Lehigh gets to fill out their schedule next year.


ngineer said…
Just read on LehighFootballForum that the Harvard game is now an AWAY game on October 16 due to some one having a brain freeze. So hopefully Harvard returns here on that Open date in late September. The Open date on October 22 would be good timing prior to travelling to Colgate. Would be great to get an FBS game in one of those early September games!!
ngineer said…
Come to think of it, it would be great to have UNH make a visit to reciprocate for our visit this year.
mailman said…
lets go south to JMU,VMI or west to Duquense or Robert Morris. Really want to go big-think about Richmond or W&M.
ngineer said…
A trip to W&M would be great. One of the great 'destination' places for an FCS schedule. Had a great trip down there back in 1990 with Williamsburg, Six Flags, Jamestown and Yorktown nearby.
Anonymous said…
This coach will never 'Play Up!" his job is not at all secure and the last thing he wants to do is add another loose to his already horrible record. Have fun at Drake!
Anonymous said…
Wow a Lafayette poster made it to your blog Chuck! Another loose? Did you mean another loss? It's ok we know what you meant dumb dumb. So this coach will never play up...hmmmm New Hampshire, Nova, would Penn State be good? Thank you for your input Frank's tank, but I'm sure Coach would play up at any opportunity. The possibility of a major upset would do far more for his job security. I really don't think he is going anywhere and I do think that the team is headed in the right direction. I know I'm going to get some heat but Coach Coen is the right guy for the job and with Cecchini on board, the mix will be perfect, so how about you suck it ha!

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