Monday, October 03, 2011

Ivy Power Rankings, Week 3

Roar Lions Roar is brought to you by IvySport.

You can check out IvySport's Columbia products here.

Before I get to my 1-8 rankings for this week, I have a little suggestion for all the outspoken readers of this blog:

Your anonymous comments are mostly very strong and often crucially important.

As they as they don't become too nasty, they will continue to have a place here on this blog.

But a lot of readers have mentioned that they recently received donation solicitations from A.D. Dianne Murphy and they want to respond.

I can't tell you what to write or say, but I can say that if you've made a comment here anonymously, it will make a much bigger impact if you make it with your name attached and probably with a little history on how much you've given in the past.

I still feel I CAN tell you to keep donating. It's no secret that I still think giving money to the athletics department is a good idea as it really does mostly benefit our great student athletes.

Okay, now back to football...

1. Harvard

What a difference two weeks makes. After a sloppy loss at Holy Cross, the Crimson have been on fire. Most of that is because of the defense, with a big assist from the conservative but efficient play by backup QB Colton Chapple.

2. Brown

The loss to Harvard may have taken them out of the running for the title, but this is still a great team and it may run the table on the rest of the season. Rhode Island is a good team and the Bears were clearly the better squad in Saturday night's win.

3. Penn

The Quakers went into a serious pressure cooker in Hanover Saturday night and all they did was win... again. Penn is bouncing back just at the right time after a terrible first game against Lafayette and a bit of a sloppy finish against Villanova.

4. Yale

The Elis have a lot of players on the roster, and only one of them is named "Patrick Witt."

But it's becoming more and more obvious that the team is going to rise and fall on Witt's shoulders... and that's not good when the slightest injury could break you.

It's also not good when Witt has a bad game, as he did against Lehigh Saturday.

5. Cornell

The Big Red continue to do well at home against poor teams. That's not going to be enough to make a dent against Harvard coming into the Schoelkopf this Saturday. Still, these guys are on the rise.

6. Dartmouth

The Big Green has a strong running game, but that's just not going to be enough against the league's elite.

I don't want to put too much on the game against Penn, but this was THE game and THE opportunity for Dartmouth and they couldn't close the deal.

It's a losing feeling I've felt so often myself that I actually felt the Green fans' pain this weekend.

7. Princeton

The losing streak is over and now the Tigers can focus on their varied and improving running game. That's not the worst place to be right now.

8. Columbia

The Lions are the only 0-3 team in the Ivies and you are what your record says you are.


At Tue Oct 04, 01:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A sorry statement for a team with as much talent. Norries needs to take over the offensive chores. On defense, anybody who can't tackle has to be benched. If you can't tackle, you can't play. I would rather have a first year going a hundred miles an hour and flying over the field, even though he might make a mistake or two, than an upperclassman who doesn't have a nose for the ball or the ability to wrap up a runner. Same on pass defense. If the two leading tacklers are a safety and a CB, then you have a problem. With a good team, the LBs are teh tackling machines.

At Tue Oct 04, 01:21:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Well, the soph LB Olinger is not only our leading tackler, but he's the leading tackler in the league. What we need is to get more tackles for our D-linemen.

At Tue Oct 04, 01:29:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last Saturday Morand and Maddox were our two leading tacklers with 10 and 11 each. That is a bad sign. PS, on anonymity, I give very generously but do not think that gives me the right to be more critical than somebody who loves the Lions as much or more than I do, but can't afford to give as much. As far as anonymity, I think that as long as the comments are not mean spirited, they can be anonymous.

At Tue Oct 04, 01:32:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

Yes, not giving money does not mean you can't comment. I would say anyone who buys season tickets, or gets the Sideline Pass to watch when they can't make it, etc. has more than a right to speak up. That's why I have this blog. And I happen to know the athletics department reads this blog a lot. But for those who also have the AD's attention because they do give, I want to encourage them to respectfully speak up in person if they can, or at least send in a signed comment along with a donation.

At Tue Oct 04, 01:48:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, every year it's a pleasure to receive the benefit of your insight during the week of the Columbia-Princeton game. Before you and the Lions move onto the rest of your season, I would appreciate the thoughts behind your previous statement that this year's incarnation of the Tigers is weaker than last year's. Mind you, I'm not disagreeing with you; I'd like to learn more of your thinking. Statistically, last season's Princeton team was the worst in 141 years of Tiger football.

Best of luck to you and the Light Blue the rest of the way.

--A regular reader from Princeton

At Tue Oct 04, 01:52:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

My biggest reason for considering Princeton weaker this season is that you had Trey Peacock at WR and now he has graduated.

Secondly, Princeton seems more turnover prone this year and that will kill you against teams with more potent offenses.

I do think there's been some improvement in the running game, but not enough to make up for the loss of Peacock to the offense.

I think every other Ivy team would have beaten the Tigers Saturday night.

Columbia is just not in a good place right now.

Thanks for reading.

At Tue Oct 04, 02:28:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jake, I haven't seen you this down on a Columbia team in a very long time. Do you think it is a talent gap, a leadership gap, a coaching issue, or all of the above?

At Tue Oct 04, 02:59:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's painful to watch the play of this year's Lions, and frustrating not to know what's going on. There's just no reporting out there. It would be nice if someone at the Spec would talk to some players and some coaches and find out what is wrong -- talent, play-calling, morale, injuries, something else. All we can do is Monday-morning quarterbacking from a distance. The city newspapers don't cover us. And the Spec is publishing opinion pieces with scattered quotes from post-game news conferences. Can anyone there so some reporting . . . some digging? Help!!!

At Tue Oct 04, 03:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree with the previous post-er. We are NOT Monday morning quarterbacking; we have voiced our concerns since last year! Jake brought up the fact that Stephens should NOT be returning punts (as our premiere reciever, AND that's how he got hurt last year). Low and behold, he is out for a few weeks. They are practicing too hard in full contact, the coaches game management is horrific, and the administration (Dr. M, and Staff) are turning a blind eye to the problem. She is scared of Bill, and that is no way to manage incompitence!

- Member, "Sons of Knickerbocker" Party (A new Party for those of you who wish to rise up against this coaching staff and the inept administration!

At Tue Oct 04, 03:38:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephens is returning punts because AK returned punts, and AK was our best receiver, our best runner, our best player. But AK was very durable, and Stephens is not. You can't every player the same way. AK was a threat to bust a return every time he touched the ball. Stephens is a pretty good receiver, but he is no AK. Let him do the one thing he does pretty well, catch passes, and keep him off the field the rest of the time.

At Tue Oct 04, 04:35:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The stupidity of the Stephens injury is that the Coaches had him running back kicks after the outcome had been decided. No good could ahve come from this, only bad--and the bad happened and now we are without our best receiver.

This one play says a lot about the
coaching staff.

At Tue Oct 04, 05:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having watched the Lions and then LSU, Alabama, Florida, Wisconsin and even Ohio State, they all have certain offensive sets that are specifically designed for one person, and substitute liberally to make this happen. On defense, except for the DBs, the front seven are coming in and out regularly to give the player a breather, and often to run a specific defense based on down and distance with certain players. I would estimate that these teams, and most other in their conferences do the same thing - substitute based on situation. We don't seem to do that. While our talent can't be compared to those teams, our talent can be compared to our opponent. We seem to be coached by unimaginative coaches that do not know how to use the talents of all players. Each of those teams play freshman through senior. Certainly our schemes are not so difficult that the caliber of student athlete we recruit could not learn how to do this. They may not need to know the entire offense or defense, but certainly know their role when they are on the field. I agree with a previous poster, play more players, accept mistakes, but demand maximum effort. We are down, but I hope not out.

At Tue Oct 04, 06:03:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do not for a second think Brown is out of the race with the loss to Harvard. If the Bears run the table someone is likely to beat the Crimson. I think you would be better saying they lost the opportunity to win the outright title.

At Tue Oct 04, 06:27:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is our talent as good as we think it is ? Anyone know how much years NW has on his contract ? Do the players still respect the coach.
Its been 6 years so we should have some idea if NW is going to be here in the future. This may not be the coaches fault but let us see what happens over the next 7 weeks. If people are unhappy they could e-mail the AD or just donate less money to the program.

At Tue Oct 04, 06:31:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Bob Slocum-Cornell Fan said...

Jake-Love your blog and rankings but Bucknell is not a poor team. They are 4-1.

At Tue Oct 04, 06:46:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be good if we can get back that guy (I forget his name) who was our defensive backfield coach and then went on to be head coach at Wiliams where he's been very successful.

At Tue Oct 04, 06:52:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Norries' staff ARE good recruiters. Honestly, with the pedigree of these kids, and Coach Murphy (Harvard) at the helm, we would be 3-0, or at least 2-1 - and be in the upper echelon of the League.

Dartmouth has turned things around when they were beneath us for a few years. We are now a framed ball for Surace and his staff that commemorates his FIRST Ivy win, and if we lose to Cornell, then what?

Where is the Football Committee on this dire situation? Or are they regulated, as a previous post-er remarked, to budgeting hot dogs at the golf outing? Where is Bill Campbell on this? He is now 0-2 with Head Coaches under his watch (Shoop and Wilson). Sorry, Dr. Murphy, we all know you have no input here. In theory, you would not allow, or reward, such incompitence. The fact that you do speaks volumes!

- Disgruntled ex-Player

At Tue Oct 04, 06:53:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's "Williams," of course, and the coach is Aaron Kelton. Come back Aaron!

At Tue Oct 04, 06:58:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The head coach at Williams is Aaron Kelton who was the DC (and before that the db coach) at Columbia. We have had a number of assistants become successfull head coaches after CU (see Chip Kelly at Oregon). Clearly we could attract quality coaches.

At Tue Oct 04, 08:18:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Percentage of total tackles (TT =227) made by the Lion's over 3 games.

LB's = 41%
DB's = 37.5%
DL = 18.5 %
all others = 3%

Linebacker's & defensive backs account for 78.5% of all total tackles. Thoughts anyone

55 Olinger, Zach 3 17 14 31
4 Murphy, Ryan 3 10 7 17
38 Schuster, Neil 3 9 7 16
95 Martin, Josh 3 10 4 14
5 Maddox, A.J. 2 9 4 13
29 Grassa, Steven 3 7 6 13
21 Waller, Mike 3 7 6 13
28 Morand, Ross 2 8 4 12
57 Mistretta, Nick 3 3 8 11
91 Adebayo, Seyi 3 5 5 10
49 Murphy, Mike 3 4 4 8
2 DeVeau, Brian 3 4 4 8
24 Carter, Marquel 3 7 . 7
71 Fraser, Owen 3 5 1 6
94 Popeck, Ben 3 1 5 6
14 Huggins, Kalasi 3 3 2
26 Patterson, Will 2 4 1 5
53 East, Brian 3 2 3 5
98 Sommers, Shad 3 . 4 4
61 Groth, Chris 3 . 4 4
41 Papas, Nico 3 1 2 3
97 Melka, Nick 3 1 1 2
96 Little, Hunter 1 1 1 2
27 Mingo, Jeremy 2 2 . 2
90 Lee, Greg 2 . 2 2
3 DiTommaso, Mike 2 1 1 2
13 Guttas, Greg 3 1 . 1
36 Miller, Evan 3 1 . 1
56 Pesanello, Ray 1 . 1 1
39 Alston, Chris 1 1 . 1
79 Childress, W. 1 . 1 1
40 Carson, Malcolm 1 1 . 1

Total.......... 3 125 102 227 Opponents...... 3 119 86 205

At Tue Oct 04, 09:22:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The general theme of the comments seems to be "we have such talented players and the coaches are screwing it up!!"

Could it be that Columbia's players simply aren't that talented? Every team has coaching mistakes. Every team throws pick sixes sometimes.

Look at the voy Ivy board, where the normally cocky Penn fans are complaining about their play calling. Penn makes mental errors too but they overcome them with talent and depth. Talented teams can consistently overcome the occasional miscue. Less talented ones cannot.

At Tue Oct 04, 09:50:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I don't think anyone is saying we have a ton of future NFL All-Pros on the team. But only long-time Columbia fans, (25 years and longer), can attest to the higher talent level this team has compared to the average crews we've been used to for decades. I would say only the two full recruiting classes brought to us by Larry MacElreavy compare to what we have seen on the field since 2006. The team last years was probably the most talented we've ever seen as far as top level players at every major position, (all the 1st Team All Ivies proved that). So in fact, the real question is not so much why the team has underperformed in this injury-plagued season, but why it so underperformed LAST season when we had Kennedy, Gross, Mehrer, Otis and a healthier Brackett?

At Tue Oct 04, 10:34:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also a "visitor" to your blog,who enjoys it even when he disagrees with something you say, as I sometimes strongly do. In random order:

1. Dartmouth ranked below Cornell? Cornell is improving, but I don't get the basis for this result. I don't think Cornell has caught up to Dartmouth yet.

2. You originally said that Princeton was weaker than in last year's Columbia's game. True, we had not yet lost Wornhamand had our lack of experience depth exposed at QB. But by the Columbia game last year, we had lost Reid at DL and Cody at MLB, an OL in pre-season and I cannot remember if Wakulchik was gone then. My point: with Reid and Cody back, and Starks more experienced, our defense is better than a year ago Saturday. You are right that our passing game is less of a threat than it was a year ago due to the graduation of a number of WRs, but the runners are a stronger group and the OL more experineced than a year ago. On balance, I think Princeton is somewhat stronger than a year ago,even with the turnovers. Of course, being somewhat stronger than last year does not mean we are a good Ivy team yet.

3. Is Brackett playing hurt? I think even the FIOS announcers said, in effect, he looked like he was not nearly 100%. If so, I give him a lot of credit, and Princeton was certainly one of the more likely Columbia wins this year so I understand wanting to play, but this is not the NFL. He should not be put at unnecessary risk, and a healthy QB which an opponent has not scouted may surprise.See the Harvard QB last week.

At Tue Oct 04, 10:44:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is many of the players read this blog, so seeing all this negative stuff about the coaching can't help their morale. However, there seems to be little question at this point that the criticism is warranted. At an alumni football function last year I asked Wilson about Marino, and he said, "He's okay." Wilson brought Marino with him from UConn, so he's undoubtedly reluctant to let him go. And when I asked Ms. Murphy about Wilson, she said, "He's the CEO of the football program," sugggesting that she's reluctant to pass judgement on him.

So it would appear that facing and dealing with harsh reality is a problem here at CU, but I think that unless there's substantial improvement, this year will bring a change.

At Tue Oct 04, 12:51:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Mitch '68 said...

I was a freshman and lightweight CU player more than 40 years ago (!) and I've been watching the team ever since. During that time there were a couple of strong teams in the early 70s, and one very strong team in the mid 90s, I think it was 96. The 96 players had so much ability that probably no coach could have screwed them up. But if we must wait for players of that caliber before we can win, we are going to wait a long time. And it takes more than one of them. John Witkowski was an outstanding qb, but I think he won less than five games at CU.

One thing that has almost never happened at CU is a successful team without any superstar players -- that is, a team whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think that teams like that can only develop when there is a tradition of stability and success in the program that fosters an expectation of winning. Along these lines, what a great thing it is to see a team like Albany, with the same coach for 40 years! That's a totally different environment from what the players must contend with at CU.

It's not easy to be a football player at Columbia. It's also a very tough place to be the football coach. It would probably take a supremely gifted or even genius-level coach to succeed here over an extended period. On the other hand, coaches like that are out there. We just haven't had one.

At Tue Oct 04, 02:33:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, good coaching would read what the opposition is doing and make game time adjustments. Our coaches underperform their counterparts in this.

The fact that NW has not fired the OC means he is indecisive. Indecision is not a trait of good coaches or leaders anywhere.

Imagine what Phil Estes could do with our roster? Does anyone doubt he would have a winning record?

Chen 82

At Tue Oct 04, 08:42:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To our players.....We are supporters of yours to the last ounce of our energies. What we may lack in numbers we make up for in intensity.

Our critiques are candid but aimed to try to improve things.

Stay tough....we will never abandon your cause

At Tue Oct 04, 08:47:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former high school varsity footballer at a tough blue collar public school who wasn't big enough or fast enough to play in college, I transferred my loyalties to my beloved Lions 50 years ago. I have supported this program with my time, my money, and my willingness to help our players interested in following my professional path. I write anonymously for the simple reason that I choose to keep my role on the sideline private. I have seen a lot of coaches and players over the years. Here is my take. First, the program is in far better shape than it has ever been, despite the disappointing record. Second, as a pure coach, Ray Tellier was the best football mind and the best judge of talent we ever had. His teams were almost always competitive, despite an indifferent administration. Third, Norries Wilson is a fine man who genuinely cares about his players. Fourth, Norries is too forgiving of incompetence from his assistants and poor play from veterans. He is not getting the most from our talent level, which is good enough to put together a winning record. Fifth, Norries does not seem to be able to make adjustments on the fly. The third quarter is always a disappointment; our opponents make adjustments and we do not. Sixth, if the freshmen are better than the seniors, put them in and let them play. We have some real players on the first year JV level. Seventh, I do not understand why fundamental skills are not being emphasized. Corners need to bump receivers at the line of scrimmage. LBs need to wrap up ball carriers. Receivers need to look the bal into their hands and not to slow down on the deep ball. Finally, if Brackett is hurt, and if he cannot throw the deep ball, we will not have arunning game because there will be 8 or 9 guys in the box on every play. Finally, if Dianne Murphy wasout there interviewing for the West Point job, then she has made a statement that she doesn't want to be here, and she should be fired. Responsibility starts at the top.

At Tue Oct 04, 09:24:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just one comment on Stephens returning punts. He is one of the best I have seen in the last 4 years. He should be in that position. If you look at teams like Michigan, Alabama, etc. their punt/kick return people are usually also their best receivers. Woodson was a great example of a multi-position player that returned punts. Not using someone because they might get hurt just isn't realistic in football. Stephens is one of those rare multitalented great players that you want on the field as much as possible.

Karl Groth

At Tue Oct 04, 10:13:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd add that Stephens's injury was a broken arm, not a knee or hamstring. The likleihood of rein jury is slim, and having had a broken arm doesn't make more vulnerable to injury. An ACL or something like that would be a different matter. If Stephens were to get injured now, it would be unrelated to last year. And his lkelihood of injury is no different from any other ballplayer. He should play.

At Tue Oct 04, 11:40:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to "not big enough"
Your comments are mostly good re:coaches and their deficiencies. Regarding Dianne Murphy you are dead wrong! She has brought structure to a department that was "an old boys club" with zero accountability.
She will act this year as she did last year re:basketball if there is not a tremendous turnaround from here on!

At Wed Oct 05, 12:20:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy reading your blog Jake. Give some props to the JV team, they beat Princeton sunday afternoon. The first football game of the season with a "W".

At Wed Oct 05, 12:36:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger DOC said...

Must respectfully disagree with the posters who would have Stephens returning punts and/kickoffs this year. Schools like Michigan, Alabama etc have the kind of depth that allow them to replace injured WR's with relative ease. Columbia is thin at this position and simply cannot afford to risk re-injury here.

At Wed Oct 05, 01:13:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger friend12 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Wed Oct 05, 01:37:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you're only going to be as good as the player you have on the field. The head coach is the final decision maker, and if he continues to let the less than steller performance continues, then he must not care about his future with the program.

Anyone whom ever played the game knows how tough the game can be, but we also know that you nned make adjustments, and try different players.

You never know, who'll be the player or playsers, that give your team spark that is needed to turn around the season.

It's sad to sit and watch the team lose, but it's even sadder to whatch coaches not make the best decision for the team, and fans.

Get it together coaches.

At Wed Oct 05, 01:43:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DOC I have to respectfully disagree. All QBs have their favorite target and they need to be able to adjust when that target isn't there. Depth is a relative thing. Even those big schools suffer when a key receiver goes down. Also, Columbia isn't thin at the WR position. There is huge amount of talent out there and we are missing by hairs at times. I am hoping this will be the week everything comes together and clicks.

The comments about the AD from several posters I think are completely wrong. I think she has made major strides when it comes to athletics as a whole at Columbia. I am also sure if she feels Norris isn't getting the job will have no problem letting him go.

At Wed Oct 05, 11:23:00 PM GMT+7, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm with ANON Mon 4:03PM!

Brown knocks off Penn 29-Oct in Providence. Knowing their season hangs in the balance, a tough Quaker team beats Harvard in Cambridge two weeks later. All "take care of business" otherwise.

Penn gets a [very reasonable] road split in its games with the top teams.

Harvard bounces back and dismisses 3-3 Yale in New Haven, to make it a three-way tie for the top.

Not an unreasonable outcome to another gripping Ivy season.


Post a Comment

<< Home