Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Finishing Strong


So now it’s official, the Cornell-Columbia game this weekend will be called the “Empire State Bowl” with an accompanying trophy.

It will also be the 98th meeting between the two teams, and that means the landmark 100th game will also be here at Wien Stadium in two years.

This is a great idea and feeds nicely into my long-running call to make Cornell our official “rival” in the Ivies.

First 2015 Commitment

A top senior QB in Kentucky has committed to Columbia. He's Kal Prince. a 6-4, 198-pound passer. His height will set him apart in this league.

Prince would be the first known Columbia frosh from Owensboro HS.

You can see his video highlights here.

State of the Team

After eight weeks of the 2009 season, Columbia fans were wondering what could have been.

The team was 2-6 and reeling. Then, the Lions won their last two games and almost everything that was wrong after week eight seemed right for the coming year.

Right now, the Lions are 3-5 and things are suddenly gloomy after a great 3-1 start to the year.

How much would a two-game winning streak do to brighten our moods this time around?

Well, the 5-5 overall record would be nice. So would beating Cornell for the third year in a row and Brown for the second time in a row.

But unless the wins come along with a reversal of some bad trends like a short-circuited offense and costly turnovers, the team won’t be able to get an “all clear.”

Of course, this is still a big stretch scenario. Columbia should be favored against the Big Red, but a win over Brown in Providence seems like a major tall order right now.

But the Lions have actually done pretty well in the final stages of seasons in the Norries Wilson era.

In the previous four seasons under Coach Wilson, Columbia is 5-3 overall in those eight final-two-weeks-of-the-season games. That’s a .625 winning percentage compared to an overall winning percentage of just .312, quite a difference.

And that’s really a stark contrast to the previous two coaching administrations.

In Bob Shoop’s three seasons, Columbia was just 1-5 in his six final two weeks of the season games, a .166 average.

In his 28 final two weeks of the season games during his 14 year tenure, Ray Tellier was 8-20, a .285 percentage.

Changing the momentum is a very difficult thing to do in football. Wilson has been able to do that twice, reversing a five game losing streak in 2006 with a two-game winning streak to end the year, and reversing a four game losing streak last year with the two wins in the final two weeks.

Now he is being asked to do it again.

It will not be easy.

Cornell is an improving team with a super coaching staff. The Big Red hung in there most of the game against Dartmouth Saturday before finally losing 28-10.

Brown is still 3-2 in the league overall and will be a “Bear” to beat at Brown Stadium despite numerous injuries.


At Tue Nov 09, 10:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kal Prince appears to be a very good quarterback prospect. On film, he reminds me greatly of Sean Brackett, although he is of course, bigger and perhaps even faster than Brackett in the open field. We do not have much depth at quarterback so this a great opportunity for Prince to come in and see playing time rather quickly. Columbia's first two recruits (Hunter Little and Kal Prince) are both outstanding high school foootball players from good high school football states (Tennesse and Kentucky). Congratulations to Hunter, Kal and their families on becoming Columbia Lions!

At Tue Nov 09, 11:10:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prince is an interesting story. Ranked among KY's best players in several reviews, he broke his leg half way into this, his senior season, but before he did, he set a number of school career records. He ended up with 2850 yds passing, 22 TDs, and 1563 yds running. He was being looked at by various bigs such as Indiana, Illinois and others. Presumably, his breaking his leg opened the door for CU as it was the only Ivy in the picture.

At Tue Nov 09, 12:37:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Carl said...

Good peace of information about State of the Team, and also the other information is good to read.


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At Tue Nov 09, 07:52:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prince may be 6-4 but Jake, it won't set him apart. Harvard's Andrew Hatch is 6-4. Cornell's Jeff Mathews is 6-4. Yale's Patrick Witt is 6-4. Dartmouth's Conner Kempe is 6-4. The freshman QB Dartmouth was so high on is 6-5.

At Tue Nov 09, 07:55:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dartmouth seems to have rebuilt its football program in the last couple of years by attracting numerous talented players who applied to Dartmouth on an early decision basis. Hopefully, we are starting to do the same thing.

At Tue Nov 09, 08:41:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hell....I have been watching Columbia football since my freshman Fall in 1978 and have been hooked every year since. No matter what this team does I still keep coming back. That won't change.

What does change is the type of emotion the team brings out in me. These past two years it's been some winning and the trials of cardiac-testing close defeats as opposed to most of my fan tenure just hoping we score a couple of nice TDs and make it respectable and maybe catch someone sleeping.

The team has come a long, long way and I hope it can turn those close L's into close W's.

But I am not sure how I will deal with the emotion of an Ivy Championship if it does come (?)

Chen '82

At Tue Nov 09, 08:43:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster about Dartmouth's rebuilding....they were quite awful for 2-3 years, yet the same head coach has turned them into a winning club fairly quickly. Why and how?

At Tue Nov 09, 08:59:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

About Kal Prince.....he has a quick release (probably because his height gives him good vision on the field) and he can scramble...so he would be a great backup to Brackett for two years where if he had to come in the offensive scheme could stay the same (as opposed to Bell who is more of a traditional pocket passer.

BUT, I saw him lofting a number of passes into traffic that might prove more problematic at the college level....and the fact that he broke his leg reminds us all of the perils of having a scrambling QB.

Still, a nice get for the Lions.

At Tue Nov 09, 10:22:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Two major reasons:

1) Dartmouth built a varisty house that has the nicest weight room, locker room, and football offices in the league. Check it out: http://www.dartmouthsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=11600&ATCLID=1377174 It's really helped recruiting.

2) Teevens' key recruits are now showing up on the field. He had problems the first few years back with guys expected to be major contributors not playing for various reasons (academics, injuries, lost love for the game, etc.). Now, the highly touted guys are playing and helping us win games.

At Tue Nov 09, 10:41:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hunter Little looks like a great catch for Columbia at 6'5" and 225 lbs.

At Tue Nov 09, 11:20:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you doing ivy rankings? this week

At Tue Nov 09, 11:34:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking about recruiting, this year's freshman class includes several outstanding kickers and a number of very good offensive linemnen and linebackers, but the absence of a freshman playmaker to help replace Austin Knowlin has been a killer. Yale, Dartmouth, Penn and Cornell have all had major contributions from freshman running backs and wide receivers. Does anyone have any information on what happened to all the promising freshman wide receivers and running backs that we read about last spring?

At Tue Nov 09, 11:56:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that any football program can "make" another team into its rival in any meaningful way. The only precedent that I can think of is when Bill McCartney first arrived at Colorado, he pulled a number of PR stunts to "make" Nebraska the Buffaloes' rival. He achieved some success on that front but solely because the Buffs became much better on the field and actually beat the Huskers from time to time. Meanwhile, Nebraska still considered their rivals to be Oklahoma.

Aside from CU-NU, any meaningful college football rivalry is organic and results from the teams having a history together and usually some common element, either geographic proximity, a long winning tradition or some other institutional similarities.

Other than Ithaca being in New York State, it's hard to see how Columbia has any more connection with Cornell than, say, Princeton (geographic proximity) or Penn (the Ivy in the second largest Ivy city). I think most Columbia fans would first think of Princeton and Penn as rivals.

The main disadvantage of those two is that they each consider other schools as archrivals but I'm not sure Cornell is any better on that score. The Big Red historically have considered their season-ending game with Penn (at one time on Thanksgiving Day) to be an important rivalry coda to the schedule.

Most Ivy League rivalries are what I would call aspirational, that is, the school you consider your rival is that which you have aspirations of being like (and then beating). Among the Ivies, Cornell and Penn are most similar: very large, pre-professional institutions which offer no apologies for not having a focus on the liberal arts. Columbia, with our bedrock allegiance to the liberal arts via the Core Curriculum, is almost the anti-thesis of Cornell and Penn.

Princeton seems like the natural rival for Columbia.

At Wed Nov 10, 12:11:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No more playing around and making excuses. If Columbia really wants to win an Ivy League Football Championship next year, then it needs to get as serious about its recruiting as Harvard, Yale and Penn, and admit some bona fide Division I transfers like Yale's Witt from Nebraska and Hatch from LSU. I realize there are restrictions on recruiting players attending other schools, but let's not be naive either. These guys don't just show up in New Haven and Cambridge. The problem is that big time players thinking of transferring from a football factory to the Ivy League will almost always opt for Harvard, Yale or Penn, because those are the name Ivy League schools that those players have heard about and they have a history of accepting big-time transfers. Time to get tough, Lions.

At Wed Nov 10, 12:36:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Dartmouth facility is very nice. Yale boasts of having the largest athletic facility on the planet. And Harvard's facility is nothing short of great. Does Columbia have anything worthy of mention at the school (not uptown) in the works?

At Wed Nov 10, 07:51:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Football never changes...Just ask Penn, Yale and Harvard or any team in the NFL...The team that wins the battle up front on both sides of the ball and commits to running the ball wins. When you contol the ball on the ground its amazing how much better the defense gets.Columbia has not committed to running the ball. You can recruit quarterbacks and all the skill guys you want but they are never going to succeed until you win that battle up front. Recruit for the line and things will change ovenite. We have a D1 back in Gerst but he needs to get 20 touches with just a little bit of blocking aginst the IVY elite. Brackett and all the other skill players will be that much better when we commit to the run and the tunovers will also be reduced.


At Wed Nov 10, 08:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I violently agree with last poster....bring in some beef...like 2-3 more Jeff Adams on the Oline and 2-3 Owen Frasers (original version) on the Dline....with Gerst, Garrett and other frosh/sophs we can dominate with run as you say within two seasons.

At Sat Dec 04, 10:42:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hunter Little's 2010 stats: http://stats.prepxtra.com/football/boys/players/17801/2010-2011/ and a Tennessee Mr. Football Lineman Finalist for 2010: http://tssaa.org/MrMissAwards/Football/2010/winners.htm

Keep in mind for 5 of the regular season games which were blow outs, the Webb starters (including Little) played less than 24 minutes...

Davidson and FRA were the toughest opponents.

And Webb just won a second Tennessee State Championship (13-0 season).


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