Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Respecting our Elders

After making some noise as a junior in '09, Augie Williams is one of several seniors who hope to truly roar in '10

I've spent a lot of time lately scrutinizing every detail of every Columbia Lion varsity football roster since 1969.

Okay, I do that all the time... let me clarify:

I've been spending a lot MORE time lately scrutinizing every detail of every Columbia Lion varsity football roster since 1969.

It's all because of my ongoing goal of documenting the names of every high school that sent players to Columbia football. (My next update to "THE LIST" should be tomorrow or Monday).

Anyhoo... all this extra roster study really shows you some undeniably strong trends in the history of this program. And one of those trends is the fact that most years, the number of juniors and seniors on the varsity squads is embarrassingly small.

Try some of these years for example...

1969: A total of 36 juniors and seniors vs. 40 sophomores.

Final Won-Lost Record: 1-8

1976: A total of 40 juniors and seniors vs. 46 sophomores.

Final Won-Lost Record: 3-6

1983: A total of 48 juniors and seniors and 54 sophomores.

Final Won-Lost Record: 1-7-2

1986: A total of 47 juniors and seniors and 49 sophomores.

Final Won-Lost Record: 0-10

Now let's look at the upperclass-sophomore breakdowns on the most successful Columbia teams of the last 40 years:

1971: A total of 47 juniors and seniors and 47 sophomores.

Final Won-Lost Record: 6-3

1994: A total of 43 juniors and seniors and 27 sophomores.

Final Won-Lost Record: 5-4-1

1996: A total of 38 juniors and seniors and 29 sophomores.

Final Won-Lost Record: 8-2

2006: A total of 36 juniors and seniors and 27 sophomores.

Final Won-Lost Record: 5-5

This year's squad should have 57 returning juniors and seniors and 35 sophomores.

I like that ratio and I think it bodes well for the Lions' chances in 2010.

But while each of the best three seasons noted above all avoided having sophomores as the majority of the team, note the difference between upperclassmen and sophs was not too large in 1996 and it was dead even in 1971.

In other words, more experience alone won't win Columbia any games.

But it helps.


At Thu Apr 22, 03:07:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love all the details; but, what you are saying is that when the team is poor, the upperclassmen find something else to do. I don't see any guit in this group and they will be strong this year.

At Thu Apr 22, 04:50:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry about the spelling. It should have been "no quit"

At Thu Apr 22, 06:28:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Chen82 said...

I have followed the Lions since 1978, when I was a freshman. Aside from the Wiley/Wilfork years in the late 1990's, I suffered through year after year of mistake prone Columbia football where we never had both a good offense and defense in the same year. As we grew more jaded in the decades that followed graduation, my classmates and I grew more bitter and cynical...often betting dollar bills when the next Columbia fumble would happen or whether we would cross the 50 in a quarter....rough stuff.

But yet we were there at the least a few each year...hoping for something good.

Last year, I saw a glimpse of that hope. Winning four games with some style and losing most of the others closely, I cannot help but feel that 2010 is the year we actually challenge for the title. I think every game will be competitive if both brackett and bell can stay healthy and if a power runner emerges (Ivery, Garrett?). Our defense was pretty good last year and it seems we will have good strength and speed from the rising classes. Quite simply, I am excited and hopeful, and I do not usually allow myself to be this way.

Perhaps the upperclassmen share this optimism and want to be part of a 7-3 or 8-2 team. We will have skill, size and speed and DEPTH. The rest is about will, determination and coaching. The first evidence of this is people wanting to take part!

What does everyone else think?

At Thu Apr 22, 06:30:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

There's a lot of attrition throughout the Ivy League and it has more to do with play time than the strength of the team and their won-loss record. Many guys find it hard to be so dedicated with all the practice,lifting,films and meetings to continue into and through their senior seasons if they don't get on the field.

At Thu Apr 22, 09:46:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Chen82 said...

I am not sure I can agree with you. What you suggest is that players are selfish me-first men who don't care if the team wins as long as "I play" Even through all the losing years I never viewed our players this way.

At Thu Apr 22, 08:58:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The great thing about Coach Wilson and his staff is that they really do like these young men. That's why they don't quit, even if they aren't on the two deep. That's not universally the case with coaches around the league. that's why Jack S didn't last at Yale despite his success; he didn't have a residue of good will among his players. I never did believe that nice guys finish last; quite the contrary. Be fair, care about the guys, and things will take care of themselves.

At Thu Apr 22, 09:09:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our impression of Coach Wilson and his staff is that they are genuine and sincere in their respect and interest in their players. They are dedicated to helping these players succeed in life, not just football. It was a major point in our son deciding to play here. Stay positive my friends, the best is yet to come with this group.

At Fri Apr 23, 12:17:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Any word on blog or videocast of spring game?

At Fri Apr 23, 11:29:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I called the Sports Info office and there will be a blog at the game!


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