Friday, November 21, 2008

Columbia-Cornell: The Real Rivalry

I've made the case for considering Cornell our true Ivy football and basketball rival a few times over the years.

The basketball argument is easy to sell. As travel partners, we usually open the Ivy season agains Cornell and we see the same other opponents back-to-back the rest of the season.

Now Columbia can't make a case that the Lions and the Big Red are one of the best bets, if not the best bet, in the Ivies for a close contest year after year with very little long-term dominance by either school.

Since 1989, Columbia and Cornell have played 20 games. Columbia has won 10, and Cornell has won 10. Neither team has won more than three in a row, (Columbia did it from 1992-94).

Cornell fans probably like to consider Penn as their biggest rival, but the last 20 games don't bear that out as well. The Big Red is 7-13 over those 20 games, and has won a share of just one Ivy title in that period where Penn has won seven championships since 1988.

Below is a look at the results of the last 20 meetings between all the other Ivy rivals. You'll see that only two other Ivy rivalries, Brown-Dartmouth and Cornell-Yale are also even at 10-10.


Brown 16 wins, Columbia 4 wins


Brown 12 wins, Cornell 8 wins


Brown 10 wins, Dartmouth 10 wins


Harvard 13 wins, Brown 7 wins


Penn 12 wins, Brown 8 wins


Princeton 14 wins, Brown 6 wins


Yale 12 wins, Brown 8 wins


Dartmouth 14 wins, Columbia 6 wins


Harvard 16 wins, Columbia 4 wins


Penn 17 wins, Columbia 3 wins


Princeton 16 wins, Columbia 4 wins


Yale 15 wins, Columbia 5 wins


Cornell 11 wins, Dartmouth 9 wins


Cornell 11 wins, Harvard 9


Penn 13 wins, Cornell 7 wins


Princeton 11 wins, Cornell 9 wins


Cornell 10 wins, Yale 10 wins


Harvard 13 wins, Dartmouth 6 wins, 1 tie


Penn 14 wins, Dartmouth 6 wins


Dartmouth 10 wins, Princeton 9 wins, 1 tie


Dartmouth 11 wins, Yale 9 wins


Penn 12 wins, Harvard 8 wins


Harvard 13 wins, Princeton 7 wins


Harvard 11 wins, Yale 9 wins


Penn 13 wins, Princeton 7 wins


Penn 13 wins, Yale 7 wins


Yale 11 wins, Princeton 9 wins

I think the relative even nature of most of these rivalries, (with the exception of the Columbia matchups, unfortunately), speaks volumes about the even nature of the league, despite the fact that it seems like just 2-3 teams have dominated the league for the last two decades.

Hopefully, the next 20 years will be kinder to Columbia. The Lions have chance to scratch a win this Saturday against one of the teams that's dominated them the most over that period. Brown's rise may have been to some degree at Columbia's expense... as was Penn's rise from the ashes of the league beginning in the early 1980's.

Now it's time to climb over someone else.


At Fri Nov 21, 04:42:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm already on board the train to encourage the League to change the final game to Cornell-Columbia. Makes great sense as would a Penn-Princeton final game and also a Brown-Dartmouth game.

Hard for me to believe we can take Brown on their field when they are playing for the championship. They have skill and balance and they won't be looking past us.

But even with a potential loss on Saturday, this team has had a successful season despite the won-loss record. Every game was competitive and that was accomplished with a very young squad.

We do need more offense, but this was a year for progress. If Coach Wilson keeps up his recruiting success, we will very competitive in this league in two more years.


At Fri Nov 21, 04:45:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Jake, Cornell also had the biggest visiting crowd at a Columbia game this year by far.

At Fri Nov 21, 09:07:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The key to the Brown game is preventing them from getting a big early lead.

At Tue Nov 25, 03:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cornell and Penn are natural rivals in the sense that they are similar universities within the Ivy universe. They are by far the two largest undergraduate institutions and have by a good margin the most pre-professional curricula.

Cornell and Penn just feel similar.

Similarly, Princeton and Dartmouth are the two smallest Ivies in terms of undergraduate population. The Tigers and Big Green have in my opinion the most "undergraduate feel," sort of like liberal arts colleges with a university attached.

Conversely, other than being basketball travel partners, it's hard to say that Columbia and Cornell are similar in any meaningful way.

In my opinion, Columbia and Brown make some sense as rivals. I've always thought of Brown, Yale and Columbia (probably in that order, but that's debatable) as being the three most liberal Ivies politically.

To me, the three campuses feel very similar in terms of the energy and political bias of the students. Yale's already engaged to Harvard so that leaves Columbia's natural rival as Brown.

At Wed Dec 24, 08:18:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would be nice to see -- Cornell is Columbia's all-time most-played opponent in football (95 games since 1889).

Probably won't happen though -- Cornell's most-played opponent is Penn, and Penn's is Cornell (115 games). The Penn-Cornell rivalry is one of the most played in Division-1, and has been a traditional season-ender for both teams since the 1890s (except for a stretch from the mid-60s thru the mid-80s when they alternated the game annually between season-opener & season-ender). Unlikely that either school will go for changing this again.


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