Nobody hit harder than George Atkinson
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the 1975 Oakland Raiders.
I know, I know, this is what guys like me do.
That Raiders team did not win the Super Bowl – the long-awaited championship for the Silver and Black came a year later – but it was a remarkable squad for a lot of reasons.
Because their Alameda County Stadium roommate A’s were in the baseball playoffs, the Raiders ended up playing their first FIVE games on the road. Oakland won three of those five games and finished the regular season 11-3 and 1st in the AFC East. After winning a squeaker at home over the Bengals in the divisional playoffs, they fell in a tough one to Pittsburgh at a very frozen Three Rivers Stadium.
The Raiders were always a tough team, but that ’75 team was really tough and mean. And I think that five game road trip to start the season made them meaner and rougher than ever.
Okay, what does this have to do with Columbia football?
It’s all about the schedule.
Because as a total contrast to the Raiders ’75 schedule, the Lions will begin their 2010 season with four straight home games. I love the convenience of that and really love the six home games in a 10-game season. But I am concerned that so many home games to start the season won’t help Columbia get that tougher edge it needs for later in the year.
When the Lions began the season with a four game home stand in 2006, Columbia looked pretty good by starting 3-1. But then the team fell into a four game losing streak that included three road games where the Lions offense scored a grand total of 17 points.
Columbia recovered in week 9 with a big win at home over Cornell before winning a thriller at Brown in the 2006 season finale.
But if you believe brutal schedules beget tougher teams, then there’s a “bright side” for Columbia in 2010.
All three of the games against the teams most pundits believe will be the top three in the Ivies – Penn, Harvard, and Brown – are on the road. That’s a very tough challenge no matter how many home games the Lions have overall.
Now all I want to know is if Lions Joey Andrada, Malcom Carson, and Christopher Thomas are Raiders fans.
Built to Last
There's tough on the football field, and then there's being really tough. Check out what Columbia football great and good friend Bob Kent '92 is up to these days. I would say Bob's services would be well worth the fees!