Thursday, September 27, 2012

Scouting Princeton

Toothless Tiger?

Betting Lines Released

The spreads for all of this weekends Ivy games have just been released. Columbia and Princeton are listed as a pick 'em game right now, (that will probably change), but here are the other lines, and there are some REAL eye-openers here:

Harvard -21 hosting Holy Cross

Yale +3 hosting Colgate 

Dartmouth -9 1/2 hosting Penn

Brown -4 at Georgetown

Cornell -2 1/2 at Bucknell

I'll have my picks tomorrow, and you know how opposed to sports gambling I am. But some of these lines are REALLY tempting me. Yale only a three point dog at Colgate?!?! Cornell only a 2 1/2 point favorite at Bucknell? Dartmouth a huge 9 1/2 favorite over Penn? Whoa.

Weather Looks Better

The forecasters are no longer expecting much, if any, rain at all Saturday so it looks like we'll have great day for football with temps at 68 degrees and just some clouds. In other words: get your butts out to Kraft Field for this game! 

Looking at Princeton


I've made no secret of my serious doubts about the Tigers, picking them last in my preseason preview and openly wondering whether this team is headed for an 0-10 campaign. 

But Princeton hasn't looked as bad as all that in the first two weeks of the season. They played Lehigh pretty well and darn near beat Georgetown in a sloppy game last Friday night, 

Yet this team has provided no real argument to move up the expectations ladder. The defense has been good at keeping opponents from scoring despite giving up big chunks of rushing and passing yardage so far. The offense has not really done much to strike fear into anyone, especially in the passing game. 
Bottom line: Head Coach Bob Surace's job is in serious jeopardy. 


A lot was made of 2011 Ivy Rookie of the Year Chuck Dibillio suffering a stoke and leaving this team in terrible shape. But the story there is about a 19-year-old suffering a stroke, not so much about a powerhouse offense losing its leader. With DiBillio last year, the Tigers were still 1-9 and had a toothless offense. So the sad story here is Dibillio's personal health scare, not a fall from on high for Princeton.

Freshman DiAndre Atwater, son of NFL great Steve Atwater, looks like he could be a bright spot after some nifty runs against Georgetown. He's stll listed as a backup in the Tiger game notes, but I think Surace would be crazy to give him fewer than 15 carries Saturday. (With Atwater and Columbia's Wells Childress on the field at the same time during the game, we'll have the sons of two NFL greats playing against each other). 

After Atwater, the story gets considerably worse. The Tigers passing game is weak. The passing yards average per game is just 131. But the stats really don't tell the whole story. Neither Connor Michelsen nor Quinn Epperly seem to have a plan out there or much zip in their throws. They might get better, but not from week to week. 


Despite a great interior defense featuring stars like Caraun Reid, and Mike Catapano, Princeton is giving up more yards rushing than you'd expect at 134 per game. The pass defense and the younger secondary hasn't been as sharp. But these guys found a way to hold Lehigh to just 17 points and they can't be written off. LB Andrew Starks is another guy to watch.

Special Teams

Punter Joe Cloud is doing a very good job. 

Princeton's return game is solid, the coverage teams have been very good. 

After that, things get really dicey.

The real headline is that freshman kicker Nolan Bieck had a nightmare game last week, missing three FG's and a PAT in a one-point loss top Georgetown. He'll be under big pressure Saturday to turn it around. 


Anonymous said...

Last time Dartmouth was a 9 point favorite (or higher) over Penn was probably 1992. It does seem high, but I get why people not following the Ivy closely might peg it at that. Cornell and Yale do seem awfully low though... really have no idea what the basis is for those lines.

Mitch said...

I think CU will win this game and should be a 7 or 6.5 fave. All the other betting lines seem strangely off, especially the Cornell game. The Cornell program has really turned around and I believe they will be trying to make a "statement" each week,especially after losing the first game. Cornell is a good example of how an Ivy team can be brought back.

Anonymous said...

Columbia will win this game!!!!

oldlion said...

How did the lousy weather affect practice this morning? One concern with the early morning practices is that I would imagine that weather is more of a factor, especially later in the season.

InwoodTiger said...

I just have to say it, so here goes.


Also, here is a better pic for the to love those old program covers. This one is pretty vivid!