Saturday, November 22, 2014

Brown Game Day Open Thread

Please comment here on today's game. Brown is a 27 point favorite and the game is televised nationally on Fox College Sports. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Here are the good, the bad and the ugly results we can expect from yesterday's announcement by President Lee Bollinger that sports consultant Rick Taylor will review the Columbia football program but Head Coach Pete Mangurian will be retained.


-Taylor is the real deal. There's a reason I specifically called for him to be hired a week or so ago on this very blog. He's a very tough, no-nonsense guy and he won't let Mangurian stand in his way. If Buddy Teevens wasn't able to overrule him at Dartmouth where Teevens is a legend, Mangurian will be powerless against him here.

-Taylor's immediate impact will likely be the removal of our current offensive and defensive coordinators. They will also likely be replaced with the kind of coordinators it costs a little more money to retain. That should help.

-There's a chance that after a few weeks of trying to work together, Taylor and Mangurian will not be able to coexist and Mangurian will get out. It's just as likely that Taylor will be the one to bolt, but this is the optimistic part of our presentation for today.

-Taylor is likely to shock the insular athletic department staff just by showing them something they've never seen before: a headstrong manager who actually knows what he's doing.


-Mangurian gets to stay another year, and that means we're guaranteed another 0-10 season in 2015. There are many reasons for this. But most of it has to do with the fact that the rising seniors don't want to play for him and many will quit the team in the coming weeks. Columbia will never win another game under Pete Mangurian. I don't know how many times I have to write that, (I have been for over a year), before enough people get it.

-A few of the very strong candidates to replace Mangurian as head coach have already responded to the news by saying they are no longer interested in Columbia whatsoever. That's too bad, because as I wrote above, there's a chance Mangurian will find working under Taylor's power unacceptable and he will leave on his own by late January. Now, even if he does quit early our choices are more limited.

-The sports journalists and humorists who have been making fun of us for weeks will have a field day with the fact that a team with a 21-game losing streak isn't even going to fire its coach. Be prepared for more dirt thrown onto the Columbia name.

-Why would any recruit currently on the fence agree to come to Columbia now under this cloud of mystery? Do we have a lame duck coach? Will the new consultant be in charge? If the current coach tells me to switch from QB to TE should I listen? What's the deal?

-Why would any fan other than a player's parent come to the games next season? 2015 will be an 0-10 year and whatever progress the team makes other than winning is not likely to stick with a new head coach on the way. In other words, it's a complete re-run of the wasted year we're currently experiencing in 2014.


-Much of this is about money. Mangurian has not one, but TWO years left on his contract and the university doesn't want to eat that much money in salary. But this is the same university that just gave Bollinger a whopping $700,000 per year raise! Somehow, I think we can come up with the money and/or a good lawyer to argue that Mangurian is only due 30%-50% of his remaining contracted salary considering his 3-27 record.

-Even MORE of this is about ego. Bollinger's outrageous letter to the fans last year not only insulted all of us, but put him in the position of backing Mangurian way too much. Now, he's unwilling to even allow the appearance of admitting he was wrong and we have to endure another lost year.

-For the current players on the team, this is the ugliest situation. They have to play another winless year for a terrible coach. What a waste of their time, efforts and their parents' money.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Columbia President Lee Bollinger has just sent out the email below.

While I like the hiring of Rick Taylor as an outside consultant, (something I specifically called for last week), the end of the email indicates that Pete Mangurian will be retained as head coach of Columbia football.

Folks, this is insanity. There's no way this will work. Unlike when Taylor came into Dartmouth and advised Coach Buddy Teevens, Mangurian is not someone who can be taught new tricks.

I suppose the only hope is for Taylor to take a few days and inform Bollinger that Mangurian cannot stay on for Columbia to turn a corner. But I doubt Taylor will be at liberty to do so. Once again, the Columbia administration is cutting the improvement process off at the knees.

Read it for yourselves below, but if Mangurian stays on as coach I'm effectively washing my hands of this program. This is truly a disgrace and a perfect example of the kind of mistake that has made Columbia football the national laughingstock that it is.

From: Lee C. Bollinger []
Sent: November 20, 2014 3:41 PM
Subject: Columbia Football

Dear members of the Columbia Football Players Club:

It goes without saying that the results of this football season have been disappointing, not least to our dedicated players who continue to commit so much of themselves to excelling as scholar-athletes.

Many people throughout the University have worked very hard over the past decade to provide every level of support for all Columbia sports.  The results for almost all of our sports have been spectacular.  Our teams now regularly win championships, vie for Ivy championships, and often compete on the national stage.  Columbia Football should be, and must be, competitive within the values of Ivy League athletics.  The several obstacles to success that have been noted over the years have now been removed.  We have new and renovated facilities, generous support from loyal alumni, an impressive recruiting effort that includes faculty and deans, and thoughtful support on campus for our student-athletes. 

Yet the fact remains that no one has yet succeeded in building a sustainable, competitive football program at Columbia in several decades.  But you can be sure that as I speak with candidates who might succeed Dianne Murphy as Athletics Director, this is a key topic of conversation.  We must, therefore, ask ourselves whether the changes instituted still need time to manifest successes on the field and whether there is still more we can do to help our students be competitive.

To help us answer those questions, I have asked Dianne to commission a review of our football program by respected former coach and athletics director Rick Taylor, who performed a similar review several years ago at Dartmouth as it began its own long-term effort to turn around its football fortunes.  Rick coached football as an assistant at Lehigh and Dartmouth and was head coach at Boston University.  He served as athletics director at BU and Cincinnati prior to ten years at Northwestern.  Importantly for us he was part of demonstrated football improvement at each of those institutions.  He will begin immediately to talk to coaches, current and past players, administrators, alumni, and others, as well as working with Coach Pete Mangurian to see if there are steps that can be taken immediately with our current program.

When Pete started as coach, he was candid in saying that it would not be an easy or short process to institute fundamental change in a long-standing culture that had failed to produce success.  I know there are some frustrated students, alumni, and fans who understandably feel we should hire a new coach and start yet again.  It is my belief, however, that this is a moment when we will benefit most by enlisting a new superb Athletics Director and engaging in serious self-reflection, while maintaining our course in helping an extremely young team grow, recruit top-flight student-athletes to bolster our depth, and ultimately work with the new Athletics Director to do everything we can to make Columbia football every bit as competitive as the rest of our thriving intercollegiate athletics.


Lee C. Bollinger

Final Week Picks

The spreads are STILL killing me, while my straight-up picks are STILL getting better.

Last week I went 6-0 straight up, but 3-3 against the spread.

My record so far this season is now 51-16 straight up, (.761) and 30-34-1 ATS (.468)

On to this week’s games:

Cornell +9 over Penn

I like the Quakers to eke out a 3-point or so win.

Dartmouth -5 at Princeton

The Tigers are phoning it in now.

Yale +12 at Harvard

The Crimson will win, but not big.

Fordham -3 1/2 over Army

The Rams are for real. And this is almost a home game.

Stony Brook -3 at Albany

Should be a great game, but I like the Sea Wolves running game to chill the Great Danes and win.

Monmouth -7 1/2 over Gardner Webb

The Hawks will bounce back after the Coastal Carolina loss.

Very Well Said

So you think suffering with Columbia football as a fan or alum is tough?

Imagine if you were a student at CU broadcasting the "games" for the last four years!

That's the rough story Ryan Young tells in this column in today's Columbia Spectator.

Some good quotes:

"Even for somebody who regards Ivy League football as a glorified exhibition, the situation has become unacceptable to the point where it is serious."

"The burden of this losing streak is tough for the student-athletes to deal with, but it can be eased with the appropriate new hires. So please, Columbia, disregard the financial hardships that come with hiring a new football coach. Take your time with this decision. Do not use the search for a new athletic director as an excuse, and form an independent committee if necessary. Please be open to outside advice and understand the implications of this decision."