Monday, September 24, 2012

Ivy Power Rankings

With two weeks in the books we're starting to get an idea of what's what in the league...

1. Harvard

The Crimson looked a little out of it in their week one win over San Diego, but rose to the challenge at Brown Saturday. Some very good Harvard teams have failed to win in Providence in recent years, but this isn't one of them. Treavor Scales leads the Ivies in rushing and is getting about 15,000 yards per carry. These guys are scary.

2. Cornell

The week one loss at Fordham seems like a distant memory now that the Big Red are coming off a 45-6 trashing of Yale in Ithaca. Jeff Mathews is living up to all the hype, averaging 414 yards passing per game and throwing seven TD passes with no interceptions so far. The defense and the running game are still suspect, but Cornell should be in every game.

3. Dartmouth

A very impressive win over Holy Cross has the Big Green stock rising this week. Critics will point to the offense's troubles against the Crusaders, but this is a Tom Gilmore-coached team. No need to be embarrassed by only beating them by three on their home field. The real test comes this Saturday against Penn, but you have to give Dartmouth and "A" so far this year.

4. Brown

Brown's scrappy win over Holy Cross in week one made the season look promising, and there's no shame in  losing to Harvard. But there does seem to be a drop-off from the last two seasons. Don't count them out, though.

5. Columbia

The Lions defense is for real, so is workhorse RB Marcorus Garrett. With sharper QB play from Sean Brackett, the Lions would be 2-0 and two notches higher on this list.

6. Penn

The Quaker defense is still pretty solid, but the offense is in disarray. QB Billy Ragone may lose his starting job, and backup Andy Holland isn't the answer. In the 24-8 loss to Villanova, Penn never challenged.

7. Yale

After a scrappy win over Georgetown, the Elis were believing they might be able to ride their running game to a respectable season. Not anymore. The huge loss to Cornell puts a spotlight on Yale's problems at the QB position and a dozen other places. Yale is also last in rushing defense and they haven't even played a very good running team yet.

8. Princeton

It now appears the Tigers close loss to Lehigh was just a mirage. Anyone who saw the ESPNU broadcast of Princeton's one point loss to Georgetwon Friday night saw the truth. DiAndre Atwater looks like a decent runner and the interior defense is solid, but the offense overall seems punchless and the defense just isn't good enough in the clutch.

Kudos to NBC Sports

I hope most of you were able to watch or tape the NBCS doubleheader coverage of Yale-Cornell and Harvard-Brown Saturday. The quality of the broadcasts was a real step above what Versus did in the past and what we've seen on YES or ESPNU. It's a shame Columbia won't appear on the network this season, but I can't wait to see them there next year.


Anonymous said...

Hard to argue with these rankings. Although I do wonder whether Cornell is that good, or Yale is that bad. We will see how the rest of the season goes.

Anonymous said...

Agree regarding the NBCS coverage. They did a great job. And Harvard is scary good, maybe a top 10 FCS team. Athletes all over the field and well-coached.

The key to our season will be Brackett. If he continues to pass below 50%, we aren't going to score enough to win. We threw away too many Red Zone gifts from Fordham on Saturday, but the D kept us in it.

lionrock said...

The Columbia coaching staff has all kinds of options now that Garrett has emerged as a standout running back. More running plays to the outside are a possibility as are throws over the middle to DiNovo and more throws downfield to Gross, Nelligan, Garrett and whomever else is ready to catch the long ball and take it into the end zone. Also, watch for more offense from the special teams now that they do not have to deal with Fordham's outstanding kicker, Patrick Murray. My feeling is that Bell and Fisher will both become outstanding kick and punt returners.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick comment to Saturday's game. I couldnt make it and tried listening to WKCR. After a few minutes, I switched over to the Fordham station, WFUV. Their student announcers were really outstanding. Fair, professional, and in control. They were extremely complementary to the Columbia program, coaches and facilities. Of course, at the breaks, they showed their preference for their guys. But overall, they won the play by play calling hands down.

InwoodTiger said...

Would love to see your thoughts on Ivy attendance. Second gorgeous fall home game in a row, with a New York quasi-rival opponent... and the attendance was again less than a UConn SOCCER game.

I ran some numbers for the first two weeks - it's pretty ugly. Despite being good weather and being home openers, attendance was in the 4,000 to 7,000 range for most Ivy stadiums hosting non-Ivy opponents, with CU being the worst. Penn managed to draw 13,803 vs local rival 'Nova, and Dartmouth put on a decent crowd for their opener vs Butler (9,089), but other figures were scary low.

Meanwhile Patriot League stadiums drew 6,000-9,500 for hosting Ivy teams. So Ivy schools now draw more fans away than they do at home.

For Ivy matches, Cornell drew an impressive 15,333 for homecoming vs Yale (probably highest leaguewide attendance for the season, other than the Game) and the "championship" game of Harvard-Brown drew a solid 13,848. But numbers over 10,000 may be few and far inbetween once regular league play gets going.

Are these numbers consistent with the last few years for CU? Can anything be done? (Er, win.) They already hand out free beer and keep the tickets at $10. The subway is running. They couldn't even give away all 1,000 Marist tickets to the local neighborhood last week....

Shame to see the stadia so empty.

oldlion said...

When we start winning we will draw 10,000 to 15,0000 per game. We drew well in 94 and 96.

Leonlion said...

Otherwise put: do empty stands make it more difficult to win on the field or will winning on the field fill up [more of] the empty stands?

Columbia football is unlikely to become the hottest ticket in NYC. But, can Mangurian sell NYC to enough high level recruits for as long as it takes to enable CU football to match what Penn and Brown have already done within historical memory?

That should be the standard of success for this coach -- and for the support this coach needs from CU Athletics to be successful.