Monday, December 31, 2012

Sweet Vindication: Nottingham Confirmed

Well for all of you who may have doubted me, today is confirming what I first reported 10 days ago: Stanford QB Brett Nottingham is transferring to Columbia.

2013 is looking very exciting indeed!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Recruiting Lines Open?

Galen Snyder today

One of Columbia's greatest transfers was Galen Snyder '91, a standout linebacker I last wrote about back in 2009.

Since then, Snyder has built a very strong program for that suburban Philly school and sent some players to top college programs.

One of his top-rated rising seniors is a kicker, Mikhail Kniaziewicz.

Last year, Pennsbury produced Pennsylvania's top-rated OL recruit in JJ Denman.

The point is, Pennsbury should be a good pipeline for the Lions.

Does anyone know if Coach Snyder is on board?

Has anyone from the football office contacted Snyder lately?

Love to know.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Guests

You can tell from this photo montage that the Syracuse Orangemen are enjoying their time practicing at our Baker Athletics Complex.

For those of you who are wondering, the last time Syracuse came to Baker Field to actually play a game was 1948 when the Lions beat SU, 34-28.

The game was actually televised live on CBS.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another Shoop?

John Shoop

One of the top online coaching news sites says John Shoop, brother of former Columbia Head Coach Bob Shoop, is in the lead to get the job opening at Cornell.

Shoop has spent most of his career working hard to climb the coaching ladder in the NFL. But for the last five seasons he was employed, he was the offensive coordinator at North Carolina, (2007-2011). Shoop has been out of work for the last year.

Shoop has an impressive resume, but if I were Cornell A.D. Andy Noel I'd approach with real caution. 

First off, Shoop has never been a head coach before and no matter how small the school they come from former head coaches tend to fare much, much better in the Ivy League. 

Second, Shoop is kind of a journeyman who clearly still has a lot of NFL aspirations. The Big Red is starving for some stability after going through several coaches in the last decade or so. I don't see Shoop as someone who is likely to stick around long if he gets a decent NFL job offer.

On a historical note, I don't think two brothers have ever both reached the position of head coach in Ivy football. Of course, we all know about Joe and James Jones coaching at Columbia and Yale, respectively. 

Incidentally, Bob Shoop has been the defensive coordinator at Vanderbilt for the last two seasons.

Switching Back to Football

Several times over the last few years, I've bemoaned the fact that the best football players from my home area of Long Island are making the move to play only lacrosse in college. 

Well, reports say that at least one Long Island high school football star, Babylon's Steve Loudon is making the switch back to the gridiron and will play WR for Brown this fall. 

Hopefully this will start a trend as I'd like to see Columbia do more recruiting on the Island in the future.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Here Comes the 'Cuse

Even if Columbia went 10-0, there would be no postseason football for the Lions.

The Ivy League has banned postseason play for almost 60 years running.

But at least Columbia can help another New York team prepare for its big game.

The Syracuse Orangemen will begin using Wien Stadium this morning as they prepare for the Pinstripe Bowl against West Virginia this Saturday.

WVU is working out at Fordham's Jack Coffey Field.

With heavy rains and wind coming our way, I'm not sure how much work the teams will get in over the next two days.

Recruiting News Still Scant

We're still waiting for more substantial recruiting news, but this article about all the talent in Mercer County, New Jersey lists a number of players Columbia may be interested in. One specific mention is TE Lewis Hayes from Lawrenceville Academy. Hayes is 6-5 and 220 pounds.

Friday, December 21, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Nottingham Chooses Columbia

Nottingham tees off against Colorado

Three sources have told me today that Stanford QB Brett Nottingham has decided to come to Columbia as a transfer.

This is probably not a 100% done deal, but only some small details are in the way.

Nottingham's Stanford bio says it all:  he was one of the most sought-after blue chip quarterback prospects coming out of high school two and a half years ago as this evaluation suggests.

At 6-4 and 212 pounds, he's considerably bigger than just about every other QB in the league.

As one reader noted earlier this week, Nottingham went to the same high school as Columbia basketball star  Brian Barbour, but I don't know if he played a role in this decision.

Remember, coaches are not allowed to recruit transfers in the NCAA.

I expect more news on this in the coming days, but this is a big "get' for the Lions and hopefully the sports program at Columbia in general.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2013: Challenge... Accepted!

I remember writing after the 2010 season that the 2011 schedule looked tough and the Lions would need to improve as a team just to maintain the four-win level they had maintained in 2009 and 2010. 

Well, Columbia actually got worse and fell to 1-9 as we all know.

Fast forward to right now and we have a similar challenge: the 2013 schedule is very tough compared to 2012. And the Lions will again need to get better just to stay put at three wins which no one wants to settle for.

Here'a a look at the schedule week by week to prove my point:

Week 1: at Fordham

The Rams improved from their 1-10 season in 2011 all the way up to an impressive 6-5 record this year. One of those wins was against Columbia at Wien Stadium. Next year, the game will be in the Bronx. That seems like a net gain for Fordham and an increase in difficulty for the Lions. But the good news is that speedy RB Carlton Koonce should be graduating, (not sure about his possible 5th year status). Otherwise, I think the Rams may be stronger no matter where they play in 2013. 

Week 2: Monmouth

This is not a team to be ignored. Monmouth is a program on the rise. The Hawks beat FCS playoff team Wagner and gave Lehigh a run for their money. Columbia will almost surely not be favored to win this game.

Week 3: at Princeton

The Tigers didn't quite finish out their season as strong as they started, but this is a team that surprised with their talent. Some of the best weapons on defense are graduating, but the offensive stars are young. Another very tough game, especially on the road.

Week 4: Lehigh

As difficult a game as it gets, even though it is at home. Some of the best Mountain Hawk players are graduating but the program is just too solid to fall off a cliff like Lafayette did a couple of years ago.

Week 5: Penn

Defending Ivy champs with gutsy QB Billy Ragone likely coming back for a 5th year. Oy.

Week 6: At Dartmouth

An improving team with a hot young QB in Ivy Rookie of the Year Dalyn Williams at the helm. 

Week 7: At Yale

Seems like the most winnable game at this point, but it's at the Bowl and the Lions haven't won there since 1996. 

Week 8: Harvard

I don't think I have to go into why this game will be a toughie after this year's 69-0 loss to the Crimson.

Week 9: at Cornell

The Big Red are almost always a much better team at home than on the road. This will be QB Jeff Mathews last game at Schoelkopf field. Tough room.

Week 10: Brown

Never an easy game, but the Lions have beaten the Bears the last two meetings here in New York.

I don't think anyone can say that the 2013 schedule isn't very challenging. And while three wins will not be a satisfactory result, let's face it: Columbia needs to improve significantly just to get back to that mark next year.

Can it be done? 

Of course it can, but let's be really clear:  Mangurian and crew have a lot of work to do...

Good Shift

Kudos to the folks at Bwog,net (the Columbia student blog I read regularly to get some idea of undergrad life), for taking the distingustingly indulgent "Senior Wisdom" series and using it to start asking questions of the actual adults in their midst: the faculty.

I have found the Senior Wisdom pieces to be vulgar on the surface and dangerous at the core because they always featured a student doing something other than getting a real job.  

Monday, December 17, 2012

BREAKING: Austin out at Cornell

Kent Austin

I was waiting for more confirmation of this story, but now here it is:

Cornell Head Coach Kent Austin is going back to the CFL and leaving the Big Red high and dry.

I thought Austin was doing a generally good job turning the program around, and his development of the Big Red passing game with NFL-prospect Jeff Mathews at QB was a big achievement. 

But I fear that Austin may have bailed too soon. Perhaps he saw his team's defensive problems as too hard to recruit out of. Perhaps he felt that teams not named "Harvard or Penn" have too much of a recruiting disadvantage in the Ivies. Perhaps he is getting much better money up north.

Whatever the reason, I think there's a good chance Austin has made a mistake. Cornell's athletic department is very well run and has had huge success in every sport but football recently... and there was evidence it was turning the corner there as well.

This has to be a big blow to the players, even those who were rubbed the wrong way last year when Austin basically banned summer internships outside of Ithaca.

And I thought this would be the first year in a long time with no coaching changes in the Ivy ranks. 

Time to Go

Time to go...

I woke up this morning to the sobering stats posted by Bruce Wood at Big Green Alert.

Over the last five years, Columbia is still dead last in the Ivies in the all-important Won-Loss column.

This is getting more than tiresome to point out, but this record of worst-in-the-league failure from 2008-present not only all comes under Dianne Murphy's tenure, it comes fully FOUR YEARS after her tenure as Athletic Director began in 2004.

While the jury is still out on her hiring of Pete Mangurian as head coach, let me once again state without any equivocation that it's really past time for Murphy to go. The basketball and football teams, the core of any college sports programs, are simply not stronger than they were when she started relative to the rest of the league. Murphy's defenders cannot change that embarrassing fact. 

And I'm tired of being embarrassed.

2012 is about to end. Murphy has had more than eight years in this job. Let's start 2013 with a clean slate and bring in a new AD. 

Brett Nottingham

Surprise Me

I've made no secret of my love of transfers when it comes to Columbia football.

Now, I am making an open appeal to Stanford QB and soon-to-be transfer Brett Nottingham


Here's my Pitch;

1) Most of the other Ivies already have very solid veteran QB's returning for next year but CU is losing a 4-year starter to graduation and the job is up for grabs,

2) Within hours of the news of your new commitment to Columbia, you WILL get a super summer job at the bank, investment firm, media company, of your choice. (Not that I can personally guarantee that, it's just a prediction... but a good guess).

3) The NYC news media will pick up on the story big time and go with it. We love it when out-of-towners choose to come here. New Yorkers seem jaded, but we root hard for this city all the time.

Okay, maybe it's a long shot. But Nottingham would be a big hit here and we're ready. Hopefully if he is even remotely interested, we won't do anything to discourage that interest,   

Nottingham graduated from Monte Vista HS in Danville, CA. Only one other Monte Vista high grad has come to play football at Columbia according to my Lion Feeder HS Data Base, but at least there's some connection. 

 I'd like to be surprised on this one.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Speedy Jersey Guy

Sorry for the brief vacation from regular posting, but now we have some decent news to talk about.

New WR Commit

6-4, 188-pound wide receiver Toure Douglas from Vineland HS in Vineland, NJ has committed to play at Columbia.

Douglas is the first documented Vineland student to join the Lion program according to my own site, listing all the Columbia football feeder schools./

His junior year highlight video is below:

So now that we have four confirmed committed recruits, it's time to start our 2013 list:

1. Toure Douglas, WR 6-4 188 lbs. Vineland HS, Vineland, NJ
2. Cameron Nizialek, K/P 6-3 195 lbs. Freedom HS, South Riding, VA
3. Kendall Pace, OL 6-5 250 lbs. Bishop McNamara HS, Forestville, MD
4. Will Peoples, S 6-1 190 lbs. Buckingham, Browne & Nichols, Cambridge, MA

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Academic Accolades

Great news for two key players on the 2012 Lions, one of whom is coming back for 2013.

Senior Mike Waller and junior Wells Childress both made Academic All-Ivy for the fall.

The full list of all the schools' awardees is here.

Of particular pride for the league is that the Bushnell Offensive MVP award winner Colton Chapple made the list along with NFL-bound QB Jeff Mathews, (who still has one more year at Cornell, but I feel good about his chances).

Friday, December 7, 2012

The One Name...

For those of us just dying to have the one of at least ONE incoming freshman player, I have that for you.

But it is indeed just ONE.

The Buckingham, Brown & Nichols player who committed to the Lions is Will Peoples, a Safety featured in this video.

Remember that BB&N Head Coach John Papas is the father of former Columbia fullback Nico Papas '12, and he has sent a number of players Columbia's way in recent years.

Senior Steven Grassa, (who may or may not choose to stick with the team for a 5th year), is also a BB&N grad.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Your Nominations, Please!

Time to start the process for awarding our MVP award for 2012.

I'd like as many readers as possible to nominate the players you think were the best for the Lions this season.

You can just put a name in the comments section, or make a long case as well.

It's up to you.

May the best young man win!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Little Nibble on Recruits

Loud, but not proud?

It's not much, but ESPN has a list of some players Columbia has been looking at for the 2013 recruiting class. 

Obviously the really big name in this list is DT Nick Thurman from Texas. If we snag this guy, we should rename the stadium after the assistant coach who recruits him!

Safety Mason Bryant is another gem, with offers from every Ivy, Army, Air Force and Ohio.

Levien Hosts Greatness

In today's, or yesterday's "fun news": The Oklahoma City Thunder took over Levien Gymnasium to practice for their game tonight against Brooklyn.

Speaking of Levien, there was a lot of buzz about great fan support this Saturday night as the gym was sold out for the game against Bucknell. It was yet another bummer that the Lions not only lost that game, but blew a double-digit second half lead. 

What is it about well-attended, well-enthused, games, (like football Homecoming), that seems to bring out the worst in our teams???

It goes against everything I believe in to see teams play somewhat, or sometime a lot, WORSE when the fans are really getting into a game. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Snubbed Quakers and Lions

The last Lion Bushnell winner

I think Colton Chapple was a great QB and he's probably a fine young man.

But it's just not right that he won the Bushnell Cup today as the Ivy League's offensive most valuable player.

Was he  the most productive player? In many ways, he was. His stats were just incredible. 

But MVP awards shouldn't be about stats. They should be about who does the most to secure victories for his team in tough situations. Chapple loaded up and padded his stats in a lot of games, but in the crucial game against Penn, he was just 17-27 for 174 yards, 1 TD and 2 INT's. 

Once again, I have to insist that Penn's Billy Ragone was the toughest offensive player to stop when the games really counted. And no one did stop him. 

Ragone is likely to come back for a 5th year, (he was injured for the season early in his freshman campaign), and now he'll be even more motivated to play great football in 2013. 

Great, now he's angry.

Meanwhile, it is now 30 years and counting since a Columbia player won the Bushnell. For a program that has had so much trouble winning, but not as much trouble finding outstanding individual players, this is supremely frustrating. 

But while not winning championships won't hurt 8-2 teams like Harvard and its star Chapple, it did hurt the Lions in 1996 when the very deserving Marcellus Wiley, (also on an 8-2 team that year), was snubbed. 

Silence is Deafening

The paucity of news about Columbia's 2013 recruiting class is getting a little unsettling. 

We always thought Norries Wilson kept recruiting news close to the vest. So either Pete Mangurian is even more secretive, or he's going a little slower in the process than the other coaches.

I think he's probably further along than we know, but Mangurian is probably recruiting a few names that aren't on the regular Ivy League radar and thus we're a bit in the dark. 

I suspect that will change very soon, but if we don't have 3-4 names out there by Christmas... then something's up.

Yes, We REALLY DID Win the 1934 Rose Bowl

A very long-time fan forwarded this story to me about a woman who long disbelieved here father whenever he talked about Columbia once winning the Rose Bowl.

I get this a lot too, and I'm under 45.