Wednesday, November 05, 2008

0 for '08?

Will it be an icy 0-10 in Hanover?

The Ivy League has not had an 0-10 team since Brown laid a goose egg for the year back in 1992.

Now, the Dartmouth Big Green seem in serious danger of becoming the first winless Ivy in 16 years. (In a meaningless historical footnote, that was the last year a non-incumbent Democrat was elected president).

For what it's worth, I don't think Dartmouth will go 0-10.

The Big Green has an excellent chance to beat a reeling Cornell team this weekend in Ithaca and I also think they will give Princeton a run for their money in week 10, especially if they come into that game at 0-9.

Beating Brown at home in two weeks seems like a longshot for sure.

I think their best chance to win is this Saturday. Dartmouth would do well to pass the ball as much as possible and test the pourous Big Red secondary.

This is not to say that Dartmouth is a good team. In fact, the Big Green have to be classified as a disappointment. But they are also a reminder of how important it is to be at least competitive on the line of scrimmage. Neither the Dartmouth offensive or defensive lines has had much good happen to them this season.

Columbia hasn't had a winless season since 1987. There have been some close calls, including six one win seasons since 1987. Two of those 1-9 seasons included wins by just two points each, (1990: 17-15 over Princeton and 2002: 13-11 over Fordham). And only one of those 1-9 seasons, 2007, included a win by more than six points.

In other words, we feel Dartmouth's pain.

Speaking of teams with line of scrimmage problems... Harvard ain't one of them. The Crimson have the best combination of offensive and defensive lines in the league.

QB Chris Pizzotti has benefitted the most from that line control, and NFL scouts will be at the game Saturday to check him out.

The defensive line is not as dominant as it was in 2006 or 2007, but still good. The secondary is solid but way off of its 2007 levels. Teams that can stop Harvard's offense and test that secondary have seen success. But only Brown has defeated the Crimson this year and that was thanks to some killer Harvard turnovers in their own end.

Unfortunately, Harvard is starting to play its most crisp football as it intends to run the table on its remaining three games and hope someone knocks off Brown. Columbia may be catching the Crimson at the worst time, or maybe not.

With Penn and Yale coming up after this game, Haravrd may be looking ahead and overlooking the Lions.

And with the way Columbia has been playing defense, an error-free offensive day could spell victory.

Stay tuned.


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