Thursday, December 03, 2009

Scholars and Schedules

Are the Colonials coming to town in 2010?

(The top 10 best games of the 2000's resumes next Tuesday)

Academic All Ivy

Special kudos to seniors Lou Miller and Andy Shalbrack for grabbing spots on the Academic All Ivy team for the fall. I can't remember another Columbia football team that had two players make Academic All Ivy the same season.

I know I've written a lot about Miller and Shalbrack over the years. But I am always finding out more or realizing I've left out an important accolade.

On Shalbrack, fans need to realize that he is clearly one of the greatest four-year players in Columbia history. Because he was a crucial contributor from day one he deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as guys like Gene Rossides and Lou Kusserow. I'm taking it as a personal challenge to make sure Shalbrack gets his due in Columbia lore despite only getting an Honorable Mention All Ivy nod and nothing more in his four years. Luckily, he's the only major starter to graduate from the Lion secondary this spring, but that's one huge spot to fill.

On Miller, suffice it to say that he was much more sought after as a wrestler coming out of high school than a football recruit. He had to fight his way into the mix everywhere he went. I'll take a player like Lou, who had something he needed to prove, over the highly-touted recruits we keep hearing about these days.

Now throw in the fact that both of these guys maintained excellent academic records through it all, and you have to be impressed no matter who you are. I'm happy to say both Andy and Lou have procured gainful employment for next year.

New Opponent?

A blogger who covers football news for Robert Morris University believes Columbia could play the Colonials next year or soon after that. He also lists Brown, Penn and Fordham as potential new opponents. The Lions have never played Robert Morris, but RMU is in the same conference as recent CU opponents, Central Connecticut and Duquesne. Robert Morris is located just outside Pittsburgh.

The official schedule for the upcoming football season is usually released in January. We will be watching.

Princeton Watch

With Virginia axing Al Groh last weekend, there may be some overlap in the coaching searches for both the Cavaliers and the Princeton Tigers. Both are top academic schools, and while they may not be interviewing the same candidates for the top spot, I can see some up-and-coming Ivy assistants vying for spots on the UVA staff as opposed to taking the top spot at Princeton.

I will say this about the Princeton search: they better hurry. The Tigers have been surprisingly thin at some positions due to some dubious recruiting in recent years. The small number of QB's ready to go the last two seasons says a lot. Some of it was because of injury, but look at the deep bench Columbia had at QB during the same period as a comparison. Princeton had better get that head coach job filled to avoid future holes like that.


At Thu Dec 03, 04:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the life of me I cannot understand why Andy Shalbrack hasn't gotten the recognition he deserves. As I recall he was a runner-up for ROY. He has been a great safety for all four years and has even filled in at corner from time to time. As for Lou Miller, you'll recall that he first played LB for us and made the move to DE for the good of the team even though he is more of a natural LB in terms of his size. Finally, I don't see much overlap in the Virginia and Princeton jobs. Virginia will probably be paying whoever is hired somewhere in the 1.5 to 2 million dollar range, and while Virginia isa f ine public university, it hardly has the constraints in recruiting that the Ivies have.

At Thu Dec 03, 06:59:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

I wouldn't put much faith in that blogger claiming we might be playing RMU very soon. At the time we played both Duquesne and Georgetown, it was announced that we'd signed home-and-home contracts with both schools. Those contracts have yet to be fulfilled (and I specifically it was also announced that Duquesne was being pushed back to some indeterminate "future date" at the same time Norries Wilson was hired).

We also perhaps owe Marist a game at their facility. We certainly owe CCS (quite the "nicest" opponent we played this season, their band actually played "Sans Souci" and very well indeed, as well as probably the best team we faced) a game up there in CT. Their fans whom I talked to pre-game were sincerely looking forward to hosting us at Ray Tellier's old employer.

The problem is that there are but 3 non-conference games to be played (unless the Ivies soon tackle the long-held rumor that they'll all go to 11 games per season). And some just make good sense to retain. Fordham, for example, with the Liberty Cup (and no real plans to seek a new conference for itself despite the onset there of actual scholarship players). And Lafayette, which is easy for CU fans to get to and has a nicely refurbished facility.

The most interesting thing about Robert Morris U is the success former Jets coach Joe Walton has had there. Coaches don't usually take such a "step backwards" in their career, and with such great results.

(Well, another former Jets coach in fact did so too, Al Groh. But he's also just been canned.)

At Thu Dec 03, 10:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with cathar regarding the rivalry with Lafayette. Just because it's easy to get to Lafayette, and Lafayette has a new athletic facility, is hardly a reason for continuing to play an opponent that Columbia doesn't give a damn about in week #4 of the season which is immediately after the opening game against Princeton and just before the Homecoming Game against Penn. For decades the Lions have had trouble getting motivated for the Lafayette game because the outcome doesn't affect the Ivy League standings and there is no special meaning attached to the game. On the other hand, and for whatever reason, Lafayette almost always seems "up" for the Columbia game. This year the Lafayette game once again didn't work out at all for the Lions and started Columbia on a five-game losing streak. It's time for a change in Game #4.

At Thu Dec 03, 10:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For many obvious reasons, Columbia Football appears poised to have a very good recruiting year. has already noted that several outstanding recruits have chosen to visit Columbia in the coming weeks. Hopefully, there will be some very exciting news in the next few weeks.

At Thu Dec 03, 01:51:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Andrew Chiappazzi said...

Thanks for the link to the site, but I do want to clarify some things.

I simply speculated on some potential opponents based off of common open dates and the fact that Robert Morris won't schedule a Montana, New Hampshire, Richmond, etc.

They have, however, expressed a desire to schedule similar style opponents, meaning the Ivies, Patriot League, Big South, and Pioneer leagues are potential matches.

So, again, not claiming anything, just pointing out mutual open dates and a potential match.

Thanks again, and keep reading!

At Thu Dec 03, 08:46:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger friend12 said...

Someone said "For decades the Lions have had trouble getting motivated for the Lafayette game"

I recommend that person talk to the current players. Every game is a major event in their minds.

At Thu Dec 03, 10:03:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger cathar said...

I too thought this season's Lions squad looked quite "up" for Lafayette.

And if there hadn't been a penalty calling back a TD before the first half ended (a penalty called for illegal motion in the backfield, an interesting call given that the replay on the Lafayette scoreboard in fact showed nobody in said backfield on that play), we might well have won that game. As it is, Lafayette only won by 3.

At Thu Dec 03, 10:45:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lafayette players said we were the best Ivy team they played all year. We lost Gross on the opening kick-off. One questionable call on Lafayette's winning drive or we would have won. We outplayed them. They beat Harvard and Penn.

At Thu Dec 03, 10:47:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, Penn is talking up Ragone as a D1 type of guy. My recollection is that we went down to the wire for Ragone. I also recall that Ragone and Brackett are both Connecticut HS products. I admit to being hugely biased in brckett'e favor, but how do you compare those two rising sophomore QBs?

At Fri Dec 04, 12:19:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thank you for the kind comments not only to my son, but also to a very deserving Lou Miller on their careers.

I have told you on the blog and in person how kind you have been to Andy during his career.

I believe the senior class and rising underclassmen have been fine students and Columbia would expect.

To the families out there, it has been a pleasure sharing the experience with you.

For many (Brekkes, Rangels, Seilers, Sanfords, Millers) to name a few.....traveling so far to support the team is remarkable on a weekly basis. We were lucky to live local.

Again, many thanks Jake for what you do for the team.

My best to you and your family going forward.


Tim & Val Shalbrack

At Fri Dec 04, 01:29:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think if asked, the graduating class and the rest of the team would say "bring it on" when it comes to Lafayette. We hung in that game. We played them hard. I know plenty of fans who want nothing more than to BEAT them. I am looking forward to doing just that on our turf in 2010.

At Fri Dec 04, 07:43:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Alex's Dad said...

To Tim Shalbrack,

I too enjoyed watching Andy play this past 3 years. He is a fine young man and know he will succeed in the future. I also want to thank you Tim and all of the other parents for your kind words of support this year through Alex's injury and surgery. In regards to Lafayette, although I would not call it a dirty play, I think Alex was set up on the kickoff that caused his injury and would like nothing more than to see Columbia kick their butts next year.


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