There was the last-second-almost-win against Lehigh two years ago, 36-35. There was the almost-miraculous comeback against Harvard, lost in overtime, 41-35. There were almost wins against Colgate. Fordham. The list goes on and on.
For head coach Tom Gilmore, whose Purple Crusaders went 3-9 (1-4), it must be agonizing to see his teams, so close to turning the corner, to just fall short.
The way to rectify the situation, of course, is recruiting.
This recruiting season, did Holy Cross do enough, according to the Patsy Ratings, to start to develop a squad that will start turning these moral victories into actual victories?
The Patsy Point system is, to put it mildly, an imperfect judge of the relative worth of an incoming class. To read too much into them would be folly. To make recruiting decisions as a result of them is almost certainly a horrible idea.
That said, it is pretty remarkable how Holy Cross reversed last year's "criticisms" of last year's Deep Purple class.
"The Patsy Ratings, flawed as they are, reward 'quality', 'numbers' and 'needs'", The Committee said last year of the Inquisitors' 34 point class. "The Committee argues, using their admittedly broken measuring sticks, that this year's Patsy Points rating reflects strengths in none of these three areas."
This season, Holy Cross hit the center of the target in all three areas.
Without giving too much away, Deep Purple received more in quality points alone than they did in last years' class in its entirety.
Coach Gilmore also received more Patsy points in 'numbers' and 'needs' as he did last year as well.
According to the admittedly flawed system of the Patsy Points, this is, in the Committee's opinion, the best recruiting class the Lancelots have had in a long time.
Looking hard at the back of the napkin to nitpick at something in Holy Cross' class - and the Committee is a notorious picker of nits - they looked at the number for speed, where the Crusaders only achieved four speed points. It is not the smallest number in the Patsy incoming classes, but it isn't one of the larger numbers, either. In any case, this feels, to the Committee, like an especially small nit to pick.
Committee member looking for fault in Holy Cross' Patsy Point Class
PATSY POINT CALCULATION
QUALITY = 41. Let's start this analysis by refreshing our memory about last year's Purple class, which only netted seven - that's right, seven - quality points.
In terms of quality this season, Holy Cross did amazingly well by any measure.
13/23 recruits, or 56%, of the class had some representation in the online ratings services. The ratings, too, were very broad based, with only three recruits fogging a mirror at only one recruiting website.
What really stands out in this class is one particular starred athlete, though, that had 19 offers to play Division I football, including standing offers from every school in the Patriot League, some Ivy, some CAA, some SoCon, and some FBS teams.
Just his presence alone on the official release was worth eight Patsy points, and there was some debate as to whether he should have been more (more on that later).
But very tellingly, the presence of Mr. 19 Offers was not a deal-breaker to make this into a great Patsy Point class. That reflects extremely well on the Purple Army.
CLASS SIZE = 5. 23 Recruits - easily getting enough players to replace the graduating class, and then some.
DISTRIBUTION = 8. Every base was covered, and considering the Purple People Eaters went 3-9, this is probably a very good thing.
SPEED = 4. As mentioned, in a class packed with superlatives, the speed number is the one digit that mildly disappoints in this class. Three players yielded speed points.
TRIGGER = 3. Two QBs, one two-star rated by multiple recruiting services. Again, nice work by the boys in purple.
JUMBO = 5. Six linemen permeate this class, with five meeting or exceeding the requirements to yield "Jumbo" points. One of these defensive linemen, a 315 lb player, met the "Jumbo" requirement by a whopping 65 lbs. It also has to make Cross fans wonder if they have the Patriot League's version of DL William "The Refrigerator" Perry in this player.
Can I qualify for three Jumbo points? And three Jumbo cheeseburgers?
NEEDS = 10 (of 12): It cannot be emphasized enough that coach Gilmore didn't simply get quality, or numbers, across the board: their class got numbers and quality in areas precisely identified as need areas for the team. This, in the Committee's opinion, is what takes this class and turns it from "very good" and makes it "great".
DB = 5 (of 5). Four recruits at this position, all of them had a page on the recruiting services, three of them starred athletes. That's how you meed a need area.
We're getting more defensive backs like this!
DL = 3 (of 4). Five athletes listed at DL, including "The Fridge". Four of them are jumbo. The last point probably would have been awarded by The Committee had there been any starred athletes at this position. Or not. It's all a little hazy to the Committee.
WR = 2 (of 3). In Gilmore's pass-happy system, you can never have enough wideouts, and Deep Purple nabbed four in this year's recruiting class. Three of four had a page with the recruiting services, which was great. Had one been starred, the need would have gotten the final Patsy Point.
COMMITTEE ADJUSTMENT: 0. Unlike some of the other Committee powwows, this one was much more subdued. Perhaps it was the combined fracases about Bucknell and Fordham; perhaps it was simply because the Committee, to a person, was really awed by the numbers coming out of this class. In any case, the negotiations were short, and sweet.
Everyone in the room - except for the guy who complained about a moderate lack of speed information - was duly impressed with the Inquisitors, nearly doubling their Patsy Point haul from last season. They were impressed with "Mr. 19 Offers", to be sure, but equally as impressive was Holy Cross winning head-to-head recruiting battles with Harvard and Penn as well, something that can't sit too will with the Ivy Covered Eight.
The only slight debate involved whether, somehow, the kids with the head-to-head offer wins should have gotten a few bonus points to reflect their true quality. Over some tea and crumpets, however, the Committee politely rejected the notion, noting correctly that these athletes are already big Patsy Point getters already. They seemed an accurate reflection of their Patsy Point worth.
HOLY CROSS - 76