Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Beware the Foxes

I don't think it would be paranoid for the Columbia coaches and players to have a little bit of concern when it comes to taking on the Marist Red Foxes this Saturday at Wien Stadium. There are a number of challenges the Lions will have to overcome to win:

1) At 5"7 and 170 pounds, Keith Mitchell is just the kind of small and speedy runner Xavier Martin and Jonte Coven are... and we know what they did to the Lions last Saturday night. Mitchell also returns kicks and can be dangerous in that role too. He's not officially listed as the starting tailback, but right now he's getting more than twice the amount of carries as the #1 guy, Obozua Ehikioya, who's had some injuries.

2) I'm becoming a fan of Marist QB Steve McGrath. He's a fighter. They took his starting job away from him in the offseason, only to have him fight to get it back during the first game of the season. Playing against some very big defenders, McGrath's biggest offensive lineman is just 270 pounds, but he's put up some decent numbers anyway. In fact, on 3rd down passing McGrath is downright outstanding at 17 for 25 for 179 yards, (that's 7.16 yards per attempt), 13 1st downs, 3 TD's, no interceptions, and just one sack.

3) I get the feeling Marist is approaching this game like it's their Super Bowl. The school web site has been touting the fact that this is its first game against an Ivy League school for months. I give Marist a lot of credit for taking on a murderous schedule to start the season with five straight road games, (this will be their fourth game of the year), all against teams considered to be much stronger than they are.

4) It's probably going to be a very weak crowd as the game is being played on Yom Kippur. Of course, that's not really an excuse, as there are clearly tens of thousands of Columbia students and alumni who are not Jewish. Nevertheless, after that disappointing loss to Fordham, the team really needs to see fan support and I'm not sure they'll get it in great numbers this time. Hopefully, everyone who can go to the game will and those who can't will hand their tickets over to someone who can.


At Tue Sep 18, 09:58:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed in Dianne for not moving the game to Saturday evening. Most observors of the holiday could actually see the game, even if only the second half! Why this wasn't done is beyond me. We can play in the Bronx at night rather than a more sensible 1 PM yet we blow off a good chunk of our fan base by not moving this game to the evening. Dianne, if you are reading this, what were you thinking?

At Tue Sep 18, 10:06:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I can tell you that fan base was considered carefully here and the fact is that many of the Columbia fans hate night games, especially those who donate big to the program.

Basically this puts Columbia between a rock and a hard place; it was far from a no-brainer to postpone this game. Any decision made would leave about an equal number of fans in the cold.

We all need to put our heads together over the next few days to look past this and boost attendance no matter what.

At Tue Sep 18, 10:26:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate night games also, whether in the Bronx, or Easton, or Prrinceton, or even at our beloved Baker Field. We should never willingly agree to a night game unless there is no choice. But our team has some Jewish players and numerous Jewish fans. I remember from my own high school football days how games were never moved to accommodate the holidays. And I even remeber that when Harold Tanner was chair at Cornell, he couldn't even get to move a Cornell game from Yom Kippur despite his best efforts. I just don't get it.

At Tue Sep 18, 10:45:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some blast Dr. Murphy (particularly on a prior thread) for agreeing to play Fordham at night. Others here now blast her for not scheduling this game at night. Some consistency, please! Especially considering that, to the best of my memory, "Baker Blast" has more than once in the last few years been a night game. It's nice to see those light stanchions at Wien Stadium used occasionally, you know?

I don't hate night games. Whether they've been at Princeton or Fordham or Columbia, I've attended. Just as I will the Lafayette game. This is one of the (very minor) rigors of fanship, and game times are made very clear in the published schedule. It is thus now incumbent upon fans to attend if at all possible. Whatever "those who donate big to the program" may in fact feel about night games. (Which I've never heard about them before. Their social calendars are that crowded? Or they just don't like driving after dark?)


At Wed Sep 19, 02:40:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK; fair enough. I for one have supported the program generously and will do so, through thick and thin, as I have for many years, BECAUSE I LOVE COLUMBIA FOOTBALL. I have never said I'd withhold a contribution, and even though Columbia football for me is a Saturday afternoon happening, when I can look out over the beautiful setting, I can and will attend night games whenever possible. My only point is that the Marist game would have been a perfect occasion for a night game because of the holiday.

At Wed Sep 19, 02:45:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Wed Sep 19, 03:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous young alum said...

I sometimes think that early afternoon games are too early, especially at homecoming or Baker Blast. It doesnt give the students and the Alumni ample time for tailgaiting. Why not a 3 or 3:30 kickoff, especially during the earlier games of the season.

On another note, Jake I cant seem to find the YES network schedule for the Ivy games this year. Do you have any insight on that, or know where i can find the schedule?

At Wed Sep 19, 03:20:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

YES is only broadcasting 3 games this year and Columbia is not going to be playing any of them. I think the schedule, such as it is, can be found at IvyLeaguesports.com

At Wed Sep 19, 07:00:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Blue Balls said...

First of all I would like to thank Jake for this blog and allowing us to post comments freely, something the dictator on the ISB board doesn't allow. It's frustrating to post some well thought out piece only to have it removed because of some whimsical fancy the mod was going through, leaving you scratching your head as to why it was removed.

As for the time of games I do believe that a 3 pm start is more advantageous to drawing a crowd. You have the morning to do your running around and the game leads nicely into the evening.

It seems that maybe there's an Ivy agreement to have all day games start at noon or 12:30. Can anyone confirm this?

At Wed Sep 19, 07:16:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Blue Balls said...

Getting back to Jake's original blog 'Beware of the Foxes'---the point spread is -16 for the Lions. Are the Foxes that bad? I can't ever remember CU being a 16 pt. favorite.

At Wed Sep 19, 07:32:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Agree that a 3-3:30 pm start time would probably boost attendance. Do you think that more students (who tend to sleep in on a Sat am) might attend also? About the only thing to be hurt would be concession sales at the games- but tailgating would be up .

At Wed Sep 19, 08:22:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Some of this has to do with Coach Wilson's preference to play games earlier. But personal scheduling trends across the country have been changing a lot lately, and that's something Columbia and everyone will have to look at and try to figure out over the years.

The bottom line is the crowds will get bigger if we win more often. We were 4-2 at home last season and that was a good start.

As far as being favored by 16 points this week, Columbia was a 22-point favorite against Iona last year, so this is not unheard of.

At Wed Sep 19, 08:23:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

UPDATE: Spread is now down to 14 1/2 points.

At Wed Sep 19, 08:59:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did the team take to the Fordham loss? I hope the mood was upbeat this week. I also hope that Drew Quinn can be kept out if he is not 100% so that he is ready for Princeton.


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