3 New Lions & the Roughest Road
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A check of the football roster shows we have three new members of the team:
First up is RB Luke Nichols who is a transfer from D-III Macalester College. Luke is listed as 6-feet even and 190 pounds.
Nichols went to Bronxville High School, making him the first Bronxville alum to join the Lions in about 11 years.
Since Macalester is D-III, Nichols will not be able to play with the varsity this year because of transfer rules. He can practice with the team though, and he will be eligible next season.
Next up is RB Michael Carter, a 5-11, 175 pound freshman from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, MN. That would make him the first documented Minneapolis Roosevelt alum to become a Lion.
I am having a very hard time digging up any other info about Michael, but welcome to him!
Finally we have 5-11 , 195 pound freshman LB Ben Walker from Cypress Ranch High School in Cypress Creek, Texas.
Cypress Ranch just started playing varsity football, so Walker is obviously the first young man from his school to join the football Lions at CU.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this.
The more I look at Columbia’s 2011 schedule, the more I think this is the hardest slew of opponents we’ve faced in at least seven years.
I’m referring to the murderous schedule in 2004 where Columbia’s out of conference opponents – Fordham, Bucknell, and Lafayette, were all at or near their best levels of the decade. The rest of the Ivy League wasn’t super strong that season, but teams like Harvard, Penn, and Brown were quite good and Cornell was energized by first year head coach Jim Knowles.
This year Columbia has to open the season against Fordham, now in its second year of athletic scholarship football AND that game will be the Rams’ homecoming day.
Then the Lions have their home opener against an Albany team that Phil Steele picks as one of the top 40 teams in all of the FCS, (BETTER than Harvard or Penn!).
Two weeks after that, Columbia appears to have the easiest challenge of the season as Sacred Heart will come into Wien Stadium. I say “appears” because you just never know, even though the Pioneers great QB Dale Fink has graduated.
As far as the Ivy opponents go, there is no denying that the league should be improved over all this season.
Columbia has to face the two Ivies it defeated last season, Princeton and Cornell, on the road this time. Both teams should be better this year as well.
Up-and-coming Dartmouth makes Columbia its homecoming opponent, so that will be a tall order for sure.
The home games are all against Ivy teams that at least some of the pundits think could win the championship.
Homecoming opponent Penn comes in first, followed by Yale, Harvard and Brown in the finale.
That’s a really tough schedule any way you slice it.
Is it the toughest in the Ivies?
I’d say Princeton is #1 here because it has to play new superpower Lehigh and Hampton out of conference. The Tigers also have to go to Harvard and to Penn.
#2 is Brown. The Bears have murderous games against powers like Stony Brook and tough contests against Holy Cross and U. of Rhode Island. In the Ivies, Brown has hard road trips to Harvard and Yale.
Dartmouth has to play Colgate at home and has a rough road trip at Holy Cross. The Big Green get Penn at home but have to go to Harvard and Brown.
Penn is often the Ivy team with the toughest overall schedule, but a big drop in the strength of schools like Villanova and Lafayette this year eases things up considerably.
And let me be the first one to say it publicly: PENN WILL BEAT VILLANOVA THIS YEAR.
Shockingly, Harvard comes in with the easiest schedule this season. The Crimson have very easy out of conference games against Bucknell and Lafayette. Holy Cross will be a bit tougher and that is a road game for Harvard. Penn, Brown and Dartmouth are all home games at Harvard Stadium.
Jake’s Ivy Strength of Schedule Rankings 2011
Of course, all of this is based on where we are in the PRE-season. If it turns out teams like Sacred Heart are sudden powers or Lehigh is a bust, it changes everything.
Top 100 Moments of 2010
#37: A Tough Job Gets Tougher
With a little more than two minutes left in the 4th quarter when Dartmouth took at 24-21 lead, the Lions certainly had enough time to drive to a tying or winning score of their own.
But another crushing personal foul penalty against Columbia on the kick return forced the Lions to start that drive on their own 12 yard line.
A pair pass completions from QB Sean Brackett to Nico Gutierrez and Kurt Williams got Columbia to its own 33 very quickly.
But the Lions never got further than their own 43, failing to convert a 4th and 5 after an incomplete pass.
Nearly 11,000 Columbia faithful then walked out of Wien Stadium with their heads hanging low.