Early Polls and Prognostications
Lots of Ivy football fans are buzzing about two preseason predictions for the 2009 final standings.
A writer for Lindy's Sports predicts it this way:
And the Sporting News writer Steve Silverman has it:
Silverman goes on to predict that Princeton RB Jordan Culbreath will be the offensive player of the year, Penn cornerback Chris Wynn will be the defensive player of the year, and that the best newcomer will be Penn wide receiver Joe Holder.
The first thing we should point out here is that both sets of predictions are singular predictions, not "polls" as some people are calling them.
Second, I wonder if these guys who both picked Harvard know something we don't know about the QB situation in Cambridge. It's still not public knowledge whether former LSU starter Andrew Hatch, (who started his college career at Harvard), will be allowed to play this season now that he's back in Cambridge. While I'm not sure that Hatch would tear up the league if he is cleared to play, I don't think he'd be a liability on a team that has a lot of other strengths as it goes for its third title in a row.
I'm more concerned about the attrition on the Crimson's defensive line, which has been really dominant for the last 4-5 years. No team can be expected to simply "reload" at that high a level year in and year out.
Both writers chose Penn to come in second, presumably also both thinking that the Quakers could take this thing given a break or two. I have some questions about Penn's offense, especially the passing game, and I also have expressed concerns recently about the fact that Penn has to play both Harvard and Brown on the road. But at this point in the preseason, I actually like Penn's chances better than Harvard's.
Should Columbia fans cheer about the Lions not being picked last in either poll in the knee-jerk fashion we're used to seeing? I guess we can be happy in the fact that it's clear that Columbia's improvement last season wasn't just our imagination. But, as always, the only list that matters is the final one and the games are decided on the field, not in the papers or on the Websites.
An argument can be made that this will be a wild year for the Ivies. At least five of the Ivies will be starting new QB's and the other three teams, Columbia included, don't exactly have their starters set in stone. Penn will almost certainly start Kiefer Garton this season, but he only took over the job in the late stages of last season, so he's not exactly a totally seasoned veteran.
I feel like we're ripe for a power shift in the league like we haven't seen in some time. It may be wishful thinking on my part, but Columbia's veteran roster should be able to take advantage to the upheaval at so many other schools right now.