Sun, Snow, Rain, Tornado? (Scouting Cornell)
Don't be fooled, he might be getting ready to pass (CREDIT: Cornell Athletics)
November in Ithaca can be funny. Days that begin feeling like spring or even summer can become downright freezing by late afternoon.
As of now, the forecast is calling for some snow Friday night into early Saturday morning and then temps in the 40's and partly sunny around gametime. To me, that means we'll probably see a little of everything on Schoelkopf Field's old-school AstroTurf. It could be rain-soaked and slippery, or icy hard... or there could be no real difference at all.
And that's the same kind of uncertainty you face when you try to size up the Big Red.
First Question: Who will be their quarterback Saturday? The pass-happy senior Nathan Ford? The enormously talented running sophomore QB Stephen Liuzza? Or the generally unimpressive sophomore Ben Ganter?
Second Question: Which defense is going to show up? Will it be the unit that's given up tons of points to Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth and Harvard? Or will it be the guys who stuffed Colgate, Bucknell, and Georgetown?
Final Question: Is sophomore running back Randy Barbour the real deal? He seems dangerous, but running out of Cornell's shotgun could be less productive against a Columbia team that's very used to practicing against a spread offense.
Obviously there are many other questions, but it's probably better to split this Big Red team into two best and worst case scenarios relating to how they match up against the Lions.
BEST CASE SCENARIO
Whoever starts at QB focuses on the pass and ultimately gets torched by the Columbia secondary. The defense makes the same mistakes covering the pass that it did against Dartmouth, and turnovers and penalties rule the day for the Big Red.
WORST CASE SCENARIO
Liuzza starts at QB and throws and runs for more than 200 yards. The defense shuts down the pass better than ever and the bad weather also kills the running game.
Something in between the best and worst case scenarios is most likely the outcome, but you never know.