Thursday, September 21, 2017

Week 2 Picks

Last week I went 6-2 straight up and 6-2 against the spread as well.

Harvard -9 over Brown
I'm not very impressed yet by either team, but a closer look at the stats in the Brown win over Bryant last week has me more skeptical about the Bears than the Crimson.

Penn -2 at Lehigh
The Quakers were just shaking off rust last week and will look sharp vs. the Mountain Hawks.

Cornell +14 1/2 at Yale
The Elis will win, but the Big Red will make it a game.

Dartmouth +6 vs. Holy Cross
The Big Green usually get up for this game, but the Crusaders will eke out a win by 3 or 4 points.

Lafayette +24 vs. Princeton
The Tigers will win by maybe 20 or 21.

Jacksonville +3 1/2 at Marist
I think Marist loses this game.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ivy Power Rankings

We had some surprises in the eight games that made up the slate of games with Ivy combatants in week one. We also had teaser-type games that started out interesting, and ended as expected.

1) Yale

The Elis have opened seasons looking like world beaters before during the Tony Reno era. But their 56-28 thrashing of Lehigh on the Mountainhawks home field was really something.

2) Princeton

The Tigers were somewhat shaky at times in their 27-17 win over San Diego. But QB Chad Kanoff had a stellar game and Princeton was playing without John Lovett and Charlie Volker.

3) Penn

The Quakers looked bad in the 1st half, but I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from this game.

4) Harvard

Losing to URI is no shame this year. But more troubling is the Crimson looked like the same team that could not rack up essential points that they were last season.

5) Brown

The Bears offense looked resurgent against Bryant. But Bryant is just not that good.

6) Columbia

The Lions won, and they were the better team. But they need to play more consistently.

7) Dartmouth

There's really nothing to learn from the Big Green's game at Stetson.

8) Cornell

The Big Red lost big and the Delaware probably took it easy on them.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Takeaways from Wagner

Starting at the Top: The Bagnoli File

-In just 21 games, Head Coach Al Bagnoli has now doubled the total wins his predecessor at Columbia netted in 30 games.

-In half of Bagnoli's wins at CU, his recruits have scored every single point for Columbia.

-Bagnoli becomes the first Lion head coach to get two consecutive wins since Norries Wilson did it in 2010.

-The last time Columbia has defeated the same team three years in a row was 2008-10 against Cornell.

Climbing the Hill

-QB Anders Hill's record as a starter at Columbia is now 4-5.

-The last time a Lion QB started a game-winning drive with under two minutes left in a game, (not OT), was against Harvard in 2003 when Jeff Otis '05 did it in a 16-13 win. 

Wide Receiver Wonders

-It may seem hard to believe, but Josh Wainwright and Ronald Smith have only played in five common games for Columbia. In those games, they have combined for 46 receptions for 770 yards and nine TD's.  (Smith: 24 catches for 408 yards and 4 TD's, Wainwright: 22 catches for 362 yards and five TD's). Columbia's W-L record in those games is 2-3.

-Did any of the WR's drop catchable passes Saturday? I didn't see any drops.

New Linebackers Do Fine

-New starting LB's Jalen Williams, Sean White, and Michael Murphy looked far from weak in their debut. White had two tackles for a loss and Williams and Murphy also logged TFL's.

Kicking Club

-New starting punter Parker Thome looked very good, averaging 40 yards a punt and getting off some real boomers. He did have one off the side of his foot, but it did not come back to bite the Lions.

-Kicking off from the 35 all day, Chris Alleyne had touchbacks all afternoon. Remember that in Ivy games he will kick from the 40.


-Players that began the game already injured and on the sideline included RB Lynnard Rose, DL Ian Tyler, and RB Broderick Taylor. Taylor looks like he's out for the season.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Second Chance U.

Columbia 17 Wagner 14

Why Columbia Won

The Lions flashed just enough offense, defense, and special teams at the most opportune moments to eke out the win. The Lions highly regarded receiving corps came through spectacularly to make the biggest difference in the game.

Why Wagner Lost

The Seahawks were brutally inconsistent. And when they were playing stronger, they could not close the deal because of consistently poor on special teams.

Key Turning Points

-With 2:42 left in the game and the score tied at 14, Wagner got a big break when Columbia DB Landon Baty, (who had an otherwise stellar day), unnecessarily bumped Wagner WR Willie Dale. The play was called for pass interference and wiped out a 3rd and 25 situation for the Seahawks. Now set up with a 1st and 10 at the CU 29, the Lion defense came up big with three stops on Wagner RB Ryan Fulse for a grand total of five yards. That forced Wagner to go for a 42-yard FG that senior DL Connor Heeb blocked for Columbia's second FG block of the day. That set up the Lions on their own 36 with about 1:30 to go and a timeout.

-Three plays later with the Lions facing a 3rd and 11 at the Seahawk 49, QB Anders Hill ran 20 yards for a clutch gain. Two plays later, Wagner was called for interference in the end zone on a pass intended for WR Ronald Smith, who was consistently open all day.

-Two plays later, PK Oren Milstein hit the game winning FG from 29 yards out, redeeming himself after a miss from the same spot a few minutes earlier.

Columbia Positives

-Smith and fellow starting WR Josh Wainwright were the only consistent stars of the game, getting regularly open and making some circus catches.

-QB Hill bounced back from a lackluster 3rd quarter and led the Lions on that high-pressure winning drive. Despite getting sacked five times, Hill finished with 89 net rushing yards.

-The Columbia defense started out the game in dominant mode, and stayed tough enough down the stretch to force Wagner's ill-fated FG tries.

Columbia Negatives

-The Lions almost completely collapsed in the 2nd half, allowing another home run ball kind of play on an 83-yard TD run, and committing numerous costly personal foul penalties.

-The Lions defense did not get consistent pressure on Seahawk QB Luke Massei while they allowed those five sacks.

-Hill was forced to run the ball too much and will not likely avoid injury this year if that continues.

Columbia MVP

-Ronald Smith got open all game and made some great catches to stand out. His one catch in traffic on the final drive and his forcing of a crucial pass interference call a few plays later helped the Lions win the game.


They call schools filled with transfers like Wagner "Second Chance U.'s," but it was Columbia that got a second chance to win this one when it looked like the Lions had let the game slip away. Columbia will have to find a way to play more consistently if this program wants to make the improvements its hoping for in 2017.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Interborough Battle

Wagner Seahawks (1-1) vs. Columbia Lions (0-0)

September 16, 2017

Robert K. Kraft Filed at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium, Baker Athletics Complex

Kickoff Time: 1:00PM

Gametime Weather Forecast: 78 degrees/partly cloudy. 15% chance of rain

The Spread: Columbia is favored by 4.5 points

TV/Radio: The game will broadcast live on SNY with Eamon McAnaney and Jeff Adams '12 getting the call. If you don't have SNY, you can follow the game for free on Columbia's audio feed with Jay Alter and Ted Gregory calling the game.

Leading Storylines

1) Who will really be at QB for Wagner? QB Alex Thomson is listed as the starter, but he was banged up and knocked out of last week's game at St. Francis. Are we supposed to believe that after not coming back to that crucial game for the Seahawks, he'll be starting in a non-conference game? 

2) Columbia opens the season with established strengths, but also big questions especially at the linebacker and running back positions.

3) Columbia has defeated Wagner two years in a row. Are the Seahawks going to be more motivated to get revenge?