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Lehigh's Battle To Make This Season A Huge Success

I remember my time at Lehigh as a time to define new moments for myself.

It was a time to jettison old nicknames, to break out of the scripts my parents and then-friends had written for me.  It was time to write a new script, and a time to break out into a new, better direction.  It was a time to step away from the old girlfriends, as hard as that was at times, and start to live in the moment and form new relationships, ones that were not encumbered by what happened before.

I think that's something that can be applied to the Fordham loss as well, in the context of Lehigh's 2015 football season.

There are two possible outcomes from this game.

One outcome is that the defeat ends up defining the season, a loss made so frustration by an agonizing combination of bad luck, missed opportunities, and a record-breaking performance by RB Chase Edmonds.

But the other is to jettison that past, and set off on another winning streak to go through the rest of the regular season, and in so doing make this season a great success.




Lehigh goes into the upcoming weekend 3-4.

They can finish the season 7-4, if they can beat Georgetown, Holy Cross, Colgate, and Lafayette in four straight weekends.

If they do, there are no guarantees that, at the end of the season, there will be a Patriot League championship or a postseason opportunity.

Unfortunately, the chance at a Patriot League co-championship does not lie in Lehigh's control.

They need to win all their games, and have Fordham lose once, to have a chance at a co-championship for this group of seniors.

If that happens, I don't think I'll be the happiest person in the Lehigh football program, but I sure will be very happy.  It would be awesome for this group of seniors to graduate with a Patriot League championship.  I want that for them.

Additionally, there still is a chance, just like there is a chance that, at 7-4, Lehigh could win the Patriot League championship and FCS playoff autobid if Fordham loses two of their final three football games.

If that happens, that's the stuff of dreams right there.

But again, that's not in Lehigh's control.  They can't do anything about Fordham's game outcomes.  If they happen, that's great.  But Lehigh fans can't count on that happening.

Even if that doesn't happen, there is still something this team can get.

At 7-4, there is a chance, even if it's very slim, that a Lehigh team might be considered for an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs.

What may not be obvious is how happy that would make me for this Lehigh team to go 7-4, even without a Patriot League championship.

The reason this would make me so happy is what it would ultimately say about the 2015 Lehigh Mountain Hawks.

I want winners.  Everyone wants winners.  But sometimes it's all about fighting and battling, even when you have no guarantee that it will pay off in terms of what you want.

A win over Lafayette, to me, would be a great success, of course.

But a 7-4 season where the Lehigh football team goes to the Goosey Gander the Sunday after the conclusion of the regular season to see if they make the playoffs would make me elated.

Because that would mean this Lehigh team battled, and fought, to get into the conversation about the playoffs.  That Lehigh's name was discussed in the FCS playoff room.  That they were a part of the conversation.

A 7-4 Mountain Hawk team would tell me that this 2015 Lehigh football team is a bunch of fighters and battlers that didn't let the setbacks of the Fordham game define who they were.

Even if Lehigh doesn't win a portion of the Patriot League championship, and even if Lehigh isn't selected for a postseason berth as an at-large candidate (and the odds are slim), I would still be immensely proud of this team if they have a seat at the FCS playoff table.  I would be immensely happy for this team to have the opportunity to head to the Goosey Gander and see if their name is called.

If they win all their games, their names may or may not show up on ESPNU's FCS playoff bracket.

But the actual playoff bracket is besides the point.  This is all about the battle to show up on a Sunday after the season to see if your name is called rather than when your name is called.

Who before the season started would have had Lehigh showing up at the Goosey Gander after the Lafayette game seeing if their name is called in the playoffs?  Certainly not anyone on the national FCS scene.

But Lehigh has a chance to earn that opportunity, and in so doing have a chance to define a new ending for themselves in this 2015 season.

I think it can be done.  I am hoping that it will be done.  Even if Lehigh doesn't achieve all their goals for the season, a 7-4 record would say everything about the character and fight of every player in the program.  And that would make me elated.

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