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Hate the 'Gate Goes National

One day after announcing their mega-deal with the CBS Sports Network, the folks at the Patriot League had another surprise in the offing: that the October 29th clash between Colgate and Lehigh would be one of the two Patriot League games televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.

Two of the most intriguing games of the Patriot League football season have been selected for national television coverage in 2011, as both the Massachusetts at Holy Cross matchup on Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. and the Lehigh at Colgate game on Oct. 29 at Noon will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

In other words, "Hate the 'Gate" goes national. (more)

Holy Cross will open its 2011 season against Massachusetts in the first-ever night game at Fitton Field. Each team comes off a winning campaign in 2010 as they resume an in-state rivalry. Massachusetts defeated Holy Cross in Amherst last year.

One of the top rivalries in the Patriot League, Lehigh and Colgate are perennial contenders for the League title and are expected to be in the mix again in 2011. The Mountain Hawks won the Patriot League crown in 2010, while the Raiders finished with a 7-4 record and return Walter Payton Award finalist senior RB Nate Eachus at running back.

Considering that Lehigh/Lafayette was probably off limits for a national broadcast this year - both Lehigh's and Lafayette's local affiliates carry their own broadcasts of "The Rivalry" - the fact that Lehigh/Colgate was picked up by the network has to be seen as a coup, considering that there's a very good chance that one or both teams will be in the title race in 2011.

"Hate the 'Gate" is a bit of a lesser-known rivalry than The Most Played Rivalry, but in the last decade it has unquestionably one of the more intense conference rivalries, especially on the Colgate side.

Ask Lehigh or Colgate players and they truly circle that game on the calendar.  Not that the games against Holy Cross or Lafayette aren't as important, but there has been a consistency to the intensity of their rivalry with Lehigh that definitely takes it up a notch.

Some Georgetown, Bucknell and Lafayette folks might be disappointed that their schools were not represented in the league schedule - though, interestingly, Lehigh/Colgate on 10/29 will lead to another game on the CBS Sports Network featuring a Patriot League team: Fordham, who travels to West Point to play Army.

Counting that game, the Patriot League will be showing up three times on the network.

Also, it's hard to see where another Patriot League game might have been able to be broadcast on CBS College Sports' schedule, though.

Looking at the Patriot League schedule at Bucknell, Lafayette and Georgetown's schedules, there are three games involving those teams.

Lafayette plays at Georgetown on September 10th - but their kickoff time is at 6:00 PM, which conflicts with Boston College at Central Florida on the CBS Sports Network.

Lafayette hosts Bucknell on October 29th at 6:00PM - but that would have meant giving up home broadcast of the game by the Lafayette Sports Network.  Also, with that kickoff time, it interferes with Southern Miss at UTEP at 8:00 PM.

Georgetown at Bucknell on October 1st was already slated for an early kickoff - but, unfortunately, so did Tulane at Army, which kicks off at noon as ind being televised by the CBS Sports Network.

There might be other combinations that could have worked - for example, a Patriot League team hosting an Ivy League team.  Last year, Cornell travelled to Bucknell in the Patriot League's only football appearance on CBS College Sports.  It's possible that one of those matchups could have been the second game this year, too.

But it definitely wouldn't be as compelling as the Lehigh/Colgate game on the 29th.  And there are a lot of Colgate and Lehigh fans - and, undoubtedly, players - that would wholeheartedly agree.


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