Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Yes We Can Fix It

The "here we go again" mentality from those who say Columbia can never do anything right and it doesn't matter whether we fire Pete Mangurian are all wrong.

Here are three big reasons why:

1) The Columbia administration has NEVER hired the fans' choice.

Did anyone here clamor for Ray Tellier, Bob Shoop, Norries Wilson or Pete Mangurian? Of course not.

It's an outrage that the administration and its blind supporters continue to ignore our specific demands, and then act like they gave us what we wanted. Yes, we wanted Wilson out, but NO ONE asked for Mangurian. I feel guilty for being as nice as I was at the time of his hiring and calling him a "good hire," but I was trying to be somewhat welcoming. Nevertheless, I certainly never lobbied for him or anyone like him for the job. Neither did anyone else.

The only time where the administration and the fans were somewhat in sync was when Shoop was fired and Chuck Priore was offered the job as our first choice to replace him in 2005. Most fans and alums in the know that I spoke too really wanted Priore too. But Priore turned us down.

2) The administration is always secretive, defensive and dismissive of the real fans

This is not just about coaching search committees. This is about an athletic department that never gets it right because it never works with the real alums and students who give a damn about winning. The same coterie of drinking buddies has made or rubber stamped the key decisions for CU sports for 40+ years. Enough is enough.

3) The most woeful sports franchises and programs CAN change

Northwestern, the Red Sox, the Arizona Cardinals. All three were perpetual losers. All three, we were told, had unbeatable structural problems that could not be solved with a few good hires here and there.

Turned out all it took at Northwestern was a new A.D, All it took in Boston was a new GM. And all it took for the football Cardinals was the owner's sons to take over. Suddenly, those impossible, unfixable problems were solved and fixed.

Here's what needs to happen now:

-Give the real fans/concerned alumni a seat on both search committees.

-Keep the search process as public and open as reasonably possible. We have to have accountability this time.

-Do not allow anyone who had a major hand in the Mangurian or Dianne Murphy hires to participate. Give someone else, a new generation, a chance.


Ivy Power Rankings

1) Harvard

The Crimson may have gotten away with one in Providence in that squeaker win over Brown. But remember what I wrote in my Ivy season preview: Tim Murphy’s teams have very rarely won big Ivy road games. This may be a relatively down year for the Bears, but it’s still a big win for Harvard. This bodes well for the Crimson’s chances at Dartmouth and Princeton.

2) Yale

Why isn’t Yale #1 after that stunning win over Army? Two reasons. First, the Elis only confirmed what a lot of us have been saying for many years about how the quality of Ivy football is indeed better than the past. This is not the worst Army team we’ve seen over the last 20 years, but it’s still one of the weaker FBS teams out there. I’ve believed for years that a good Ivy team could play a lower tier FBS team well. The second reason I’m not ranking Yale first is the Eli defense is still really suspect. Against Princeton or Harvard they could be in real trouble. We’ll know more about this team a little further down the road.

3) Princeton

Beating up on Davidson tells us really nothing about Princeton right now, and it’s hard to believe we’ll learn much more about the Tigers after this weekend’s game at Columbia. But Princeton still has all the horses to win it all.

4) Dartmouth

Losing to UNH is no embarrassment, especially in the road. But there do seem to be some defensive issues for the Big Green. Needless to say, beating Penn this Saturday is an absolute must.

5) Brown

The Bears seems to have come back to life despite the loss to Harvard. Brown now has a fighting chance of surprising some people this season.

6) Penn

Losing to Villanova anywhere this year is nothing to be embarrassed about. But Penn looks a little lost right now. It will take a very good showing in Hanover for the Quakers to shake off this bad start. Perhaps Al Bagnoli should have retired after winning the title in 2012.

7) Cornell

The Big Red gave Bucknell a better fight on defense than I expected. Now they have a chance to surprise Yale just as the Elis are busy reading their press clippings.

8) Columbia

It’s the 3rd season after Columbia fired their previous coach and no one can reasonably say the Lions aren’t clearly worse in every way than they were in 2011.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sad Story

I'm sorry to pass along a very sad story concerning a CU football alum, but I know many of his teammates would want to know.

Former Columbia DB Tony Lucas' wife Sarita died suddenly last week.

She was six months pregnant.

The full story can be found here.

I know everyone in the Columbia community would like to express our deepest sympathies to Tony and his whole family.

Gone to the Dogs

Osbourne ran at will

Albany 42 Columbia 7

Why Albany Won

The Great Danes offense did whatever it wanted, when it wanted. RB Omar Osbourne had 193 yards on just 15 carries and had TD runs of 57 and 45 yards. And despite not having much of a passing attack in its first three games, half of QB Will Fiacchi's six completions went for TD's.

Why Columbia Lost

 The Lions committed five turnovers, couldn't stop the Albany offense, and allowed four sacks.

Key Turning Points

-After Albany took an early 7-0 lead, Columbia mounted a decent drive to answer that got as far as the Great Dane 37. But a Cameron Molina rush for negative-four yards and an 11-yard sack of Brett Nottingham two plays later killed the drive. Albany took the ensuing punt from CU and drove 89 yards in just over four minutes for another TD and a 14-0 lead.

-Columbia's Devin Williams fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and two plays later, Albany led 21-0.

Columbia Positives

-Molina ran better and did a good job with runs after catches on screen passes. But most of his yards came well after this game was decided.

Columbia Negatives

-The sloppier play that defined the 2013 season was much more evident in this game than the opener vs. Fordham. A fair catch was botched, the fumbled kickoff, and a bad snap to Nottingham were prime examples. There were also quite a few dropped passes once again.

-The pass rush that looked formidable against Fordham was a complete no-show at Bob Ford Field. If future opposing QB's like Princeton's Quinn Epperly get this kind of time, we could see scores in the 50's and 60's in the coming weeks.

-It looks like RB Chris Shroer badly twisted his ankle or worse on one play and he did not return. We'll probably get info on his injury sometime in early 2016.

Columbia MVP

-Cameron Molina still gets the nod, despite most of his production coming in garbage time.


There is just no joy in watching Columbia football right now. The fundamentals are so bad, you can't even laugh at them anymore.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Morning Status

Just a few thoughts before I get a chance to publish a more complete write-up on Monday:

1) This team is worse in every way than it was in 2011. 

Head Coach Pete Mangurian attempted to tamp down any expectations for winning this year in his CCT interview. But we were promised better fundamental football. We've received neither. We drop passes, we drop fair catches, we snap the ball into our QB's throat, our DB's look hopelessly lost, etc. The embarrassment that is Columbia football goes far beyond the final score. Mangurian, and everything he promises and does are a complete FRAUD. 

2) Dianne Murphy is a coward. 

Last year, when confronted on a number of occasions by some bigger-donor alums, Athletic Director Dianne Murphy just smiled and told them they would be happily surprised by the football team's play this year. But after training camp showed what we were in for in 2014, she decided to run and hide. 

Murphy is a well-documented control freak. And control freaks are almost always cowards because they attempt to completely control the unknown, which scares them. 

3) Congrats to Yale

Good for the Elis for stunning Army yesterday. But it was tough to watch in some ways with the knowledge that Columbia couldn't beat Army or Yale's third teams. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Albany Game Day Open Thread

This is the place to comment during today's games and tonight's Columbia-Albany game that begins at 6 Eastern. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Capital Quest

The new Bob Ford field is a nice venue

Columbia Lions vs. Albany Great Danes

Location: Bob Ford Field

Kickoff Time: 6pm

Gametime Weather Forecast:  77 degrees, clear, 53% humidity

The Spread: Albany is favored by 26 points. 


You can get the usual audio stream with Jerry Recco and Sal Licata on the Ivy League Digital Network, and watch on Time by signing up for a one-day pass here.

Streak Watch (New Feature!)

Columbia has now lost 12 straight games and hasn't won a game since Nov. 10, 2012 against Cornell. That was 655 days ago. A loss against Albany would make this a tie for the longest CU losing streak since the infamous 44-game drought from 1983-88.

Columbia has now lost 17 straight games on the road. The last away win was over Cornell at Schoelkopf Field on Nov. 14, 2009. That was  1,778 days ago. This is already Columbia's second-longest road losing streak ever. Columbia's longest road losing streak was was 28 games, from 1983-89.

Lead Stories/Questions

-After a 1-11 season for Albany and an 0-10 season for Columbia in 2013, The 3-0 Great Danes seem to have completely turned it around while the 0-1 Lions are spinning their wheels. Are these two teams textbook cases for what to do and not do after a disaster season?

-Will Columbia prove the old adage that teams improve the most from week one to week two? 

-This seems like it could be a classic "trap game" for Albany, with the Great Danes facing a crucial test at home next week against James Madison.

Players to Watch

ALBANY: The number one impact player for both teams should be Albany RB Omar Osbourne. He's a workhorse who makes the offense go and gives the defense plenty of rest with his grind-it-out style. Also watch for TE Brian Parker, who does major blocking for Osbourne and is a dangerous receiver. 

COLUMBIA: Freshman WR Marcus Briscoe is getting a start as we still wait on senior Connor Nelligan to get completely healthy. Columbia desperately needs a receiver who won't drop the ball, and if Briscoe is the guy then so be it. Freshman RB Chris Schroer could get more touches after a nice debut last week. On defense, this will be another big game for DT Niko Padilla and the entire D-line as they strive to neutralize Osbourne in some way. Albany is likely to try to test CB's Malcom Thaxton and Trevor Bell. 

Columbia 3 Keys to the Game

1) Score Some Points in the 1st Half

Even if Columbia is able to contain Osbourne, it won't matter if the Lion offense is as punchless as it was last week. Albany's pass defense hasn't been the greatest, so there's an opportunity here if QB Brett Nottingham can beat the Great Dane blitzes. A few successful screens to Schroer could help.

2) Keep Osbourne under 150 Yards Rushing

Osbourne is going to get good yards, but if he falls below the 150 mark there's a chance the Great Dane offense won't hit 20 points for the game.

3) Make an Early Statement

You can just see Columbia's enthusiasm melt away as the minutes tick by and the Lions never get a lead of any kind. An early score in this game is essential to give the team the needed belief that it has a chance. 

The Series (*New Feature!)

This year I will have an added feature nodding to the history of Columbia football by talking about three key games in the series against every team.

There's only been one Columbia-Albany game all-time, so this is going to be a short discussion. 

But the 2011 game had some very memorable moments, including a wild Columbia TD just before the half. The Lions scored on a Hail Mary, but not the way you might think. For once, we saw the opponent make a monumentally boneheaded play to give Columbia a TD. But Albany still won easily, 44-21. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Week 5 Picks

A very wild weekend for week 4 gave me a mixed result. I went 5-4 straight up and a very respectable 6-3 against the spread.

So I now stand at 10-6 straight up and 9-6 against the spread for the season.

On to this week's games:

Lehigh -3 over Monmouth

Monmouth is coming off a tough loss to Duquesne and Lehigh was on the losing end of that crazy shootout at Yale. The Mountain Hawks need this win more than the Hawks, (yes that's confusing). Take Lehigh and lay the points at home.

Holy Cross + 13 1/2 vs. Fordham

The Rams are getting back into a groove, but Holy Cross will play them tough at home. I think Fordham will win this one by 10.

Penn +28 vs. Villanova

Look for the Quakers to put up a decent fight against the Wildcats at Franklin Field. I see 'Nova pulling away late for a 20-25 point win, but not quite a four TD romp.

UNH -14 vs. Dartmouth

UNH's QB is hurt, but the backup is the former starter. I suppose the Big Green could make a serious game of this, but I still see this as a 17 point win for UNH.

Brown +18 vs. Harvard

Brown looked just terrible at Georgetown last week, but the Bears will get up enough at home Saturday night to play a decent game. The Crimson will win by 14-17 points.

Bucknell -16 vs. Cornell

The Bison are a resurgent team this season after a long dormant period in Lewisburg. I like them to beat the Big Red by 17 or more.

Davidson +49 at Princeton

Davidson is terrible and the Tigers will be itching to prove they're a lot better than they looked in that game at San Diego last week. But 49 points is just too big a spread for me. Princeton by 35-40.

Army -14 at Yale

Yale looked good on offense last week, but Army is a whole new ball game. The Cadets don't usually rack up big points, so I understand why the spread is relatively low. But this is a game that I think will turn into a rout in the later stages. Take Army and lay the points.

Scouting Albany

The Great Danes can be summed up in two words: Great Defense.

Through three games this season, Albany has allowed just 11 points per game, 2.4 yards per rush, and have recovered almost twice as many opponent fumbles as TD's allowed.

But stats don't tell the whole story. The Great Danes have been best in the clutch and that's why they're 3-0 and starting to get very excited about contending in the FCS.

The defense is anchored by a stellar group of linebackers. Red shirt sophomore Michael Nicastro is having a breakout season after just getting into the starting lineup late last year.

But the Albany secondary is a major factor in the run defense as well. As one commenter here has already noted, the Great Danes swarm to the ball as a habit. DB's Rayshawn Clark, Jojo McLary, and TJ Idowu all help shut down the run.

The best pure pass defender appears to be junior Kyle Sakowski who comes to Albany from the legendary Don Bosco High School in New Jersey.

The offense is not exciting, but it doesn't make stupid mistakes. The Great Danes have just ONE turnover in three games. That's what an efficient running game will do for you, as Albany averages 42 rushing attempts per contest.

The RB who makes it happen is Omar Osbourne, a 5th year senior who was named to a number of award watch lists in preseason. He has simply been a workhorse; averaging 27 carries and 116 yards per game. But he has not yet scored a TD.

QB Will Fiacchi hasn't been spectacular, but the 5th year senior isn't making mistakes. He's averaging fewer than 200 yards passing per game and has a 52% completion rate, but he has five TD passes and just one INT. True freshman Josh Gontarek is his top receiver so far. But don't sleep on TE Brian Parker, who is a great combination blocker and receiver and he makes things happen.

The Great Dane kicker is a true college football journeyman, having spent time with Tennessee, Temple and Erie Community College. He's been generally solid and even had a 46 yard FG last week against Rhode Island.

Punter Jonathan Martin is one of the best Columbia will see all season.

Albany's return game has been below average, but the coverage teams have done a good job.

The big intangible is the job new Head Coach Greg Gattuso is doing in his first season. The former Maryland assistant has been a big shot in the arm to the program in the wake of the retirement of longtime Albany coaching legend Bob Ford.

Does Albany deserve to be the 26 point favorites that they are right now over Columbia? Perhaps, but this is a team that hasn't really shown the juice to score 26 points at all this season. Either way, the Lions have their hands full.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ivy Power Rankings


1)      Harvard

The sheer depth of the Crimson bench was an awesome sight in week 1. Harvard’s 41-18 win over Holy Cross is good enough to move them from #3 in my preseason rankings to #1 now.

2)      Dartmouth

The Big Green offense came out ready to play and healthy. Expect a loss this Saturday against UNH, but if Dartmouth comes out without any major injuries, it will be full steam ahead to the big Ivy opener with Penn.

3)      Princeton

A big drop for the Tigers from #1 to #3, but week one is all about surprises. This Saturday’s game against Davidson will be very ugly and Princeton should run all over the Wildcats.

4)      Yale

We knew the Elis had great offensive weapons in Deon Randall, Tyler Varga, and Varga’s backups at RB. But if QB Morgan Roberts plays close to as well as he did against Lehigh the rest of the season, then Yale is a contender.

5)      Penn

The Quakers didn’t look great against Jacksonville in the opener, but it wasn’t a catastrophic loss. And if Lyle Marsh is able to come back in a week or two, the lasting effects of the game will be minimal.

6)      Cornell

Cornell gets to move up a notch from my preseason ranking thanks to not getting blown out at Colgate. The Big Red still has a lot of work to do, but a win over Bucknell is possible this coming Saturday.

7)      Brown

Losing to Georgetown is a real shocker. And even more shocking is watching a Bears team that can’t get it into the end zone. I just don’t see how Brown puts up a good showing against Harvard Saturday night.

8)      Columbia

Fordham is a very good team, but Columbia didn’t look like it was improved enough to make a move up the Ivy ladder. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wild Weekend in Review

Phil Estes has rarely been in this position

This was really a wild opening weekend for the Ivies with some very surprising results.

Here are my quick takes on all the games played by CU’s upcoming opponents:

Georgetown 17 Brown 3

Of all the shockers of the weekend, this was the biggest one for me. Brown was dominated by the team everyone agrees is the weakest in the Patriot League. This does not look like a team that’s ready to host Harvard in five days.

San Diego 39 Princeton 29

Shocker #2: Just one of the high-scoring, dramatic surprises of the weekend. I thought USD would play it close, but never imagined they could beat the Tigers. My prediction that Princeton will win the Ivies is looking shaky right now. If the Princeton defense is this weak without Caraun Reid, this could be a really rough year.

Jacksonville 34 Penn 31

Shocker #3: This was a surprise, but not as big a surprise as the Princeton and Brown losses. Penn has been suffering with slow starts for a few years now. But it’s very rare to see the Quakers lose a two-score lead in the second half. One thing I did get right: Penn RB Lyle Marsh went out with an injury early in the game, just as I predicted in my Ivy League preview.   

Yale 54 Lehigh 43

I thought Yale would win, but no one could have expected the Elis and Mountain Hawks to play a crazy game like this. One caution is that Yale often plays better very early in the season compared to the rest of the year, but the expected offensive weapons RB Tyler Varga and WR Deon Randall were outstanding. The surprise was QB Morgan Roberts had a monster game too.

Dartmouth 35 CCSU 25

Two of the big three questions about the Big Green were answered. RB Kyle Bramble had a solid game and looks healthy. And QB Dalyn Williams is in midseason form. But whether Dartmouth’s defense can step it up for 2014 is still an open question. No sacks, no INT’s and no forced turnovers will do that to a defense.  

Colgate 27 Cornell 12

The Big Red couldn’t stop the Raider running game and the offense just couldn’t get the job done. Cornell kept its promise to emphasize the running game in the post-Jeff Mathews era, but the results were mixed.

Harvard 41 Holy Cross 18

I keep talking about how Harvard has the deepest bench in the Ivies every year. The Crimson proved it with a monster game from their THIRD STRING RB! Andrew Casten had 153 yards on 17 carries and three TD’s! This game was actually close until the second half.

Duquesne 30 Monmouth 21

The Hawks fell behind 27-7 in the 3rd quarter and had to abandon their usually potent running game. But QB Brandon Hill stepped things up and brought Monmouth to within 27-21 in the 4th quarter.  The Hawks allowed four costly sacks.

Albany 30 Rhode Island 17

The Great Danes still don’t have much of a passing game, but RB Omar Osbourne had 153 yards on 27 carries. The Albany defense didn’t look sharp off the top, but then started to dominate from the 2nd quarter on. URI had just 79 total yards rushing. 


Ajala and Jones had a highlight reel afternoon

Fordham 49 Columbia 7

Why Fordham Won

The Rams offensive numbers were impressive, but the defense won this game by totally neutralizing any real threat that Columbia would score. The meaningless TD at the end of the game notwithstanding, the Fordham D held CU to just 2.3 yards per rush and just 165 total yards.

Why Columbia Lost

In addition to the offensive offense, the Lion defense was big play prone through the air. WR's Sam Ajala and Tebucky Jones torched the Columbia secondary, even on plays where QB Michael Nebrich was pressured and/or did not deliver a crisp pass.

Key Turning Points

-On Fordham's second possession of the game and the score still 0-0, the Rams faced a 3rd and goal at the CU 3. On that play, Nebrich tossed an ill advised pass right to CB Malcom Thaxton in the end zone. Somehow Thaxton didn't catch it, and he had a lot of clear sailing in front of him. The pass fell harmlessly incomplete. The Rams dodged the bullet, and got a short FG on the next play.

-With time running out in the 1st half and Columbia still within striking distance down 14-0, Fordham WR Tebucky Jones made a spectacular one-handed grab of a slightly overthrown pass for a 51-yard TD. The game was over pretty much right there.

Columbia Positives

-When was the last time you saw a team lose by six touchdowns and still not commit a turnover? You just did.

-There was good pressure on Nebrich most of the day. While DT Niko Padilla is being double-teamed, players like Toba Akinleye, (two sacks and 11 total tackles), and Max Keefe, (seven total tackles, two for a loss), are showing ability to take advantage.

-The offensive line was marginally better. No sacks were allowed, but the super-quick passing scheme was mostly responsible for that. Still, any improvement up front is appreciated.

-Freshman Chris Schroer lived up to his advance billing as a playmaker. He could become a great weapon as a receiver coming out of the backfield.

-The blocked FG by Brock Kenyon, was a nice highlight that became even more fun when Fordham PK Michael Morando did his best Garo Yepremian impression and threw an embarrassing "pass" that Trevor Bell intercepted.  

Columbia Negatives

-Fordham's receiving corps is spectacular, but Columbia's secondary play was a big disappointment. Even when regularly pressured, QB Michael Nebrich had many wide open receivers to choose from all day. There are still way too many DB's losing site of the ball in the air.

-Columbia's WR's still have a case of the dropsies. It's hard to take Head Coach Pete Mangurian's words about better discipline and preparation seriously when our receivers still drop 5-6 catchable balls every Saturday.

-The run defense did not give up the big play to super RB Chase Edmonds, but it didn't matter. He still ran for 175+ yards and there was never any doubt who controlled the line of scrimmage on short yardage plays.

-The quick-passing offensive scheme is not a bad choice, but it shouldn't be confused with a really potent attack. We're passing the ball quick to avoid testing our pass protection abilities. There's also never a chance in Hell that QB Brett Nottingham will ever run the ball, giving opposing defenses a big gift of being able to concentrate their efforts elsewhere. This offensive scheme is a "not to lose" as opposed to a "win" strategy.

Columbia MVP

Toba Akinleye's two sacks and generally good play provided some rare excitement for CU fans during the game. The junior from Brooklyn has the makings of a hometown hero.


-The Columbia losing streak now stands at 12 games and is close to becoming the longest since the infamous 44-game losing streak of 1983-88. (The longest since "The Streak" is 13 in a row from 2007 to the middle of 2008).

-There is still no running game.

-Fordham is possibly the best team Columbia will face all season, but the improvements we saw Saturday are just not enough to create any optimism.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Game Day Open Thread

This is the post to send your comments on the game, before, during and after.

A couple of quick updates/thoughts:

1) The just-released preview of the 2014 season, something a decent organization would have released weeks ago, basically has this message from Head Coach Pete Mangurian: "Wait 'till next year."

Columbia is officially the only sports team in the world that says, "wait 'till next year," before the first game of the season is played.

You can't make this stuff up.

2) Former Lion QB Kelly Hilinski, playing this year at JUCO Riverside City College, has been given a scholarship offer to Maryland.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Let's Try this Again

Actual Size

Fordham Rams  at Columbia Lions

Location: Robert K. Kraft Field at Wien Stadium

Kickoff Time: 12:30pm

Gametime Weather Forecast:  74 degrees, partly cloudy. 

The Spread: Fordham is now favored by 31 points. 


The game will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Digital Network and will feature superior commentary from Jerry Recco and Sal Licata.

The Columbia student station broadcast is on WKCR at 89.9 on your FM dial.

Fordham commentators can be heard on WFUV and WFUV.org

Lead Stories/Questions

-All signs point to a slaughter at the hands of the Rams. So, any competitive result for Columbia would be a big surprise. The Lions come in riding an 11-game losing streak. 

-Can the Lions survive this game just without any major injuries? Two of Columbia's best players were lost for the season in the Fordham game last year, and they didn't even make it out of the 3rd quarter. 

-One of those injured players was prized Stanford transfer QB Brett Nottingham. Will he prove the waiting was worth it? 

-Will Head Coach Pete Mangurian be booed, jeered, or worse from the Columbia side? Will any decent number of CU fans or students even show up?

-Will Fordham freshman RB Chase Edmonds rush for 200+ yards yet again? Or will QB Michael Nebrich erase doubts about his health and have a monster game through the air and on the ground? 

Players to Watch (*New feature!)

COLUMBIA: QB Brett Nottingham, LT Kendall Pace, LG Bewley Wales and whoever else plays the left side of the CU O-line. DT Niko Padilla, S Travis Reim, WR Connor Nelligan 

FORDHAM: RB Chase Edmonds, (407 yards rushing and 6 TD's in 3 games) , QB Michael Nebrich, (battling injury, but still effective against everyone not named "Villanova," WR Tebucky Jones, CB Ian Williams, (1 INT, 3 pass breakups, forced fumble). And now the men who will be looking to take Nottingham's head off: DE Marlon Crook, (emerging sophomore already with 4 sacks on the season), DT  DeAndre Slate, (19 tackles)  

Columbia 3 Keys to the Game

1) Stayin' Alive

Columbia's entire season was ruined in the opener at Fordham last year because of injuries. The coaches must protect the key players better this time or suffer the same fate. Winning this game is not that important. Keeping the team healthy enough to beat more beatable opponents is. 

2) Run the Ball

Columbia may not have an established rushing star, but Fordham's only real weakness seems to be run defense. 

3) Get to Nebrich Early and Stay on Him

Fordham world is still very nervous about Nebrich's health. Knocking him down early will make the whole team and coaches nervous and more likely to react poorly. 

The Series (*New Feature!)

This year I will have an added feature nodding to the history of Columbia football by talking about three key games in the series against every team.

Worst Game

Last year's 52-7 loss at Jack Coffey Field was not just the worst loss Columbia has suffered to Fordham, it was one of the worst losses in CU history. In addition to the rout, CU lost QB Brett Nottingham to injury for the rest of the season. They also lost DE Seyi Adebayo for the year, and he is now filling out his NCAA eligibility at Boston College where he had a key sack in the big upset win over USC last week! 

Most infuriating was the Columbia was playing decently in the 1st half, but the coaches abandoned the run despite a demonstrated lack of pass protection. Nottingham's injury wasn't a surprise, it was just a surprise that it took as late as the 3rd quarter for it to happen. 

Best Game

Columbia's thrilling 40-28 win over the Rams in the 2009 opener was one of the best Columbia wins against any team in the last 20 years. There was a lot of talent on the field that day, including three future NFL players. 

The only downside was that DT Owen Fraser was injured by a dirty chop block in that game and he never was the same. 

Typical Game

Most of the games in this series have been close games won by Fordham. The last two CU-Fordham games at Wien Stadium ended with Columbia's promising potential game-tying or winning drives failing in the final seconds. 

The 2012 game that ended with a gut-wrenching over the line of scrimmage pass call negating a thrilling TD pass from Sean Brackett to Marcorus Garrett was par for the course. 

Two years earlier, the Fordham-Columbia game ended at Wien with a snap that surprised Brackett inside the Fordham 5 yard line. The Rams grabbed the fumble and it was over.

These games have always been close, last year's matchup was the outlier... for now.  

This is a Real Coach

Tim Murphy

Everyone do me a favor and read this interview with Harvard Head Coach Tim Murphy.

THIS is what a good coach sounds and talks like.

Compare this with the utter tripe of a message we're fed by Pete Mangurian, amplified by the Columbia administration, in our official alumni magazine... and you can see why CU football is so very much behind.

Our search committees and administrators literally do not know what a good football coach looks or sounds like. They are completely at sea.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dartmouth and Brown Game Notes Released

Now all the eight Ivy teams have released their two-deeps for the start of the Ivy season.

Dartmouth's starting lineup is dominated with veterans, with no underclassmen starting except for sophomore punter Ben Kepley.

The average weight of the O-line is 288 lbs.

The thing that stands out in the Big Green lineup is it is without any real surprises at all.

Brown's two-deep was a guaranteed surprise since the Bears have been hit so hard by graduation.

But upperclassmen still dominate the starting lineup.

Senior Marcus Fuller tries to become the latest in a long line of great Brown QB's.

Two sophomores, twins Austin and Matthew Girard, will start on the O-line, which is not the usual deal for Phil Estes, but he has to make do. The only other sophomore starter is DT Jacob Walther.

The average O-line weight is 281 lbs.

Week Four Picks

It was another mixed week for my picks as I went 2-0 straight up but only 1-1 against the spread.

That puts me at 5-2 straight up and 3-3 against the spread for the season.

But this week, the Ivy season finally begins and I at least get more games to work with.

So away we go...

Holy Cross +14 at Harvard

The Crimson will win this game, but the Crusaders have a history of playing Harvard close. I like Holy Cross to cover, Harvard to win.

Brown -14 1/2 at Georgetown

The Bears don't look great this year, but Coach Estes always has his guys ready for a new season. If Brown doesn't cover or somehow loses this game, it will be a very bad sign for Brown. \

Colgate -5 1/2 over Cornell

This game and the spread seems like a trap. Even a good Cornell team should be a bigger underdog at Colgate than this. Something's not right here, but I won't question it. Take Colgate and lay the points.

Jacksonville + 11 1/2 over Penn

I like the Quakers to win this game, but Penn has been starting slowly in recent years and I think the game will be closer than many think. Take the points.

Yale -2 1/2 over Lehigh 

Lehigh is poised for a down year after a long run of stellar seasons. Yale has been a fast starter-slow finisher team in recent years. I like the Elis to cover at home.

San Diego +23 1/2 over Princeton

I like the Tigers to win, but I think there will be a slight humbling of the Princeton machine for at least one week. This game will be decided by 14 to 17 points, but that's it.

CCSU +17 at Dartmouth

CCSU has been an inconsistent team so far, but I think playing an Ivy team in that team's home opener will inspire them to bring their "A" game. I think Dartmouth will pull away late for a 10-14 point win.

Monmouth + 2 1/2 at Duquesne

I think this Monmouth team could be very good this year. I like them to cover AND beat Duquesne.

Albany -7 1/2 at Rhode Island

I really don't think Rhode Island is very good. It will be a stretch for a low-scoring Albany team to cover on the road, but their offense has had a bye week to work out some of the kinks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BREAKING: Columbia Two-Deeps Released/Betting Lines as Well

Here are the headlines from the game notes release:

(take some of this with a grain of salt as all two-deeps, especially Columbia's, are not always 100% forthcoming). 

1) WR Connor Nelligan is not on the two-deep at all. I assume his is still banged up from his injury in the scrimmage last week. But I have a STRONG feeling he will play on Saturday. But in his possible absence, Cameron Dunn, Scooter Hollis, and Ryan Flannery get the start in a three-WR set. Isaiah Gross does not appear on the two-deep either.

2) LB Vinny Pugliese is also not on the two-deep. Injuries are the reason. So that's two key seniors not playing Saturday. Sophomore Giamarco Rea gets the start in what would be Pugliese's spot. Max Keefe gets the start at one LB position over Kal Prince, who was expected to win that job.

3) Freshman Bewley Wales gets the start at LG. Kendall Pace, who is a sophomore despite the mistake in the notes, is the starter at LT. Three of the backups on the O-line are freshmen.

4) Kevin McCarthy gets the start over Brock Kenyon at FS.

5) Freshman Chris Shroer, the RB I think is the most promising on our roster, cracks the two-deep backing up Cameron Molina. 

6) Niko Padilla's supporting cast in the Front Four is Toba Akinleye, JD Hurt and Roy Schwartz. But of course, D-line players are shuttled in and out frequently, so in addition to the starters you have to mention Eric StockWilliam Carson, freshman Lord Hyeamang, and freshman Dominic Perkovic.

7) Freshman Noah Zgrablich indeed gets the start at PK, sophomore Cameron Niziaklek starts at Punter.

8) Despite some great reports about freshman QB Anders Hill, junior Trevor McDonagh will back up Brett Nottingham.


Fordham is slated as a 27 1/2 point favorite over Columbia.

Cornell is the only other Ivy underdog, by 4 1/2 points at Colgate.

Harvard is a 15 1/2 point favorite over Holy Cross at home Friday night.

Brown is a 16 1/2 point favorite over Georgetown in D.C.

Penn is a 12 1/2 point favorite over Jacksonville in Florida.

Yale and Lehigh are pick 'em at the Bowl.

Princeton is a 21 point favorite at San Diego.

And Dartmouth is an 18 1/2 point favorite at home against Central Connecticut State.

Here's what The Sports Network's Craig Haley has to say about the CU-Fordham game:

"No. 18 Fordham (2-1) at Columbia (0-0), 12:30 p.m. With struggling Ivy League member Columbia playing for the first time after going 0-10 last season, Fordham should score over 50 points for the third time this season. The nationally ranked Rams have won eight times in the 12 annual meetings since the two schools began playing for the Liberty Cup following 9/11."

You can read more from Haley here.

The Latest Insult

I’m trying to lay off the obvious failure that Pete Mangurian has been as our football head coach.

I really don’t feel like harping on it every day.

The Columbia College Today piece about Mangurian is so filled with falsehoods and so insulting to common sense and the loyal fans that it’s impossible not to respond and respond loudly.

Note that there is no byline for this piece, which is understandable because I can't think of anyone who would be proud to be connected to this horrific piece of garbage. But for the record, Editor-in-Chief Alex Sachare '71 must take responsibility for it and surely he should be very ashamed. If he was pressured into it by the administration, I can sympathize but not empathize. Because after a few years of being pressured by the administration to put a happy face on things on my blog and on the football broadcasts, I finally resisted. Why doesn't Sachare have the same modicum of courage and decency? 

I don’t want to waste too much time on this, because the season is about to start and the results on the field will finally speak for themselves. But here are the main and most important rebuttal points to this piece of utter tripe.

And I make these rebuttals under protest, because having to do this is basically the same thing as having to rebut someone who says “2 plus 2 is 5.”

1)      The following quote is the most serious falsehood and must be addressed:

“We’ve established a standard and we hold the players and everybody involved in the program to that standard in academics, career development, football, personal development.

Sorry, but the truth is the exact opposite of this. The Twitter scandal of 2013, the bar fight of 2014, and the cheating scandal of 2013-14 are all part of an avalanche of problems in the player standards/personal development area that previous coaches never saw to such extent all at once. To somehow insinuate that at least we’re winning off the field is a flat out lie.

2)      The quote below is a marked departure from something Mangurian said just a year ago. Compare and contrast:

“Everyone wants to talk about winning. I get it,” says Mangurian. “One of the greatest coaches in any sport ever was John Wooden [the legendary basketball coach at UCLA] and he never talked about winning. He talked about the process of getting there, what you had to do to win. If you do the things you have to do to get there, then you’ll win. That’s our philosophy.” –Pete Mangurian, September 2014

"There is no “four-year plan”, there is a “win every game, every year, plan” that is reevaluated and refined before during and after every season. Team #123 and I will ultimately be judged by how many games we win. I’m all for that accountability, that is the way it should be." -Pete Mangurian, March 25, 2013

3)      And this one just made me laugh:

The last thing that’s going to happen is we’re going to start winning like we should, but only because we’ve done all the other things up to that point correctly.”

That’s right, because God forbid we should start winning the wrong way. I guess it’s better that we keep losing.  Once again, the ghost of former CU coach Bob Naso has been resurrected. It was Naso who famously said in the early 1980’s that his first goal http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1982/9/17/losing-the-easy-way-pin-the/ was to make sure the Lions learned how to lose right.

This is comedy gold.

Or it would be if we weren’t talking about a multi-million dollar enterprise that also includes the efforts of our players, hopes and support from decades-long fans, and the financial sacrifice of parents whose kids don’t get athletic or need-based scholarships. 

Meanwhile, all through the summer and right on to today many of the other Ivy schools are sending their fans detailed profiles of their best players. 

What do Columbia fans get? 

Disgusting lies and propaganda that resembles Pravda in the days of the Soviet Unions starvation crises and failed 5-year plans. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Harvard Two Deep Released/UPDATE: YALE AND PENN TOO!

Center Nick Easton is a big dude

Harvard chimes in with its starting lineups here.

The Crimson start the season first, with a night contest against Holy Cross on Friday.

The average weight for the O-line starters is 291, including a 300 pounder at Center.

Only one non-upperclassmen is starting, and that's sophomore Sean Ahern at CB.

11 sophomores are listed as 2's.

The only freshman anywhere on the two-deep is the backup Punter, Zach Schmid.

Yale Two Deep

Yale's starting line-ups are here.

As expected, Morgan Roberts gets the start at QB. RB Tyler Varga is apparently healthy and starting in a single-back offensive set with three WR's.

Average weight of the starting O-linemen is 291 lbs.

Freshman DT Nick Crowle gets the start. So does freshman Matthew Oplinger at one of the LB slots.

10 sophomores are starting, seven of them on defense.

Penn Two Deep

You'll notice that Penn's game notes do not use the term "two-deep," and instead call what looks like the two-deeps Penn offensive and defensive "notables."

That sounds like a classic hedge, but I'll treat it like starting lineups anyway.

The controversial Lyle Marsh gets the start at the RB position. Talented RB Spencer Kulcsar moves to starting WR.

The Quaker O-line looks lighter than usual; the average weight for O-linemen is 272 lbs including a 260 pound sophomore LG named Dan Poulos.

Four sophomores in total are starters, including QB Alek Torgersen.

Freshman Brock Elmore is the starting punter. The kicker is a junior, but has never had a varsity kick attempt.  

Cornell Two Deep Released

QB James Few

The Big Red has released its starting lineup for Saturday's game at Colgate.

The average weight for their starting O-line players is 290 pounds.

No freshmen starters, but six sophomores are and seven frosh are the top backups including five on defense.

Princeton Two Deep Released

The Tigers come first in the annual race to inform the fans.

Who wants to take bets on when Columbia will bother to tell us anything, or if the two-deep will deliberately inaccurate?

The average weight of the Princeton starting O-linemen is 279 pounds.

No freshmen starters but four sophomores are starting, three of them on defense.

Freshman phenom Kurt Holuba is the only freshman listed at all, he's a backup at DE.

11 starters are seniors, nine of them on offense.

A Fans Guide to Getting and Enjoying Columbia Game Day: 2014

The Roar Lions 2014 Blog has spies everywhere.

One of our best spies is "Inwood Tiger," a family man who lives steps from Wien Stadium and always does us the courtesy of updating fans on eating and other choices near Baker Field.

So, I will now publish Mr. Tiger's updated tips on transportation and eating on TOP of my own annual guide to getting to and enjoying game day.

Here's the update from Mr. Tiger:

CityTicket for MetroNorth to Marble Hill is now $4 but still the best way by far from midtown to the game.

 Top eats for 2014 would still be:

- Indian Road Cafe (bistro/wine/beer)
- District 12 (sports bar/burgers)
- Inwood Local (beer/good food)
- Garden Cafe (good food)
- Yummy Thai (good food)
- Pipers Kilt (sports bar/burgers)
- the Farmers Market on Isham St (before the game, not after)

A couple new changes -- the Park Terrace Deli on West 218th did a big renovation and is now a very appealing option for sandwiches on game day.

Also, a new sports bar opened on Broadway next to Carrot Top Bakery near West 213th St - it's called Rebounds NYC.  

You might also mention the Dyckman Street strip, which is now up to close to a dozen restaurants and bars.

So it's time for my annual guide to getting to the game!

Remember this Sign...

... and remember this train!

The football home opener is THIS WEEKEND!

Time to start planning NOW!

I am here to help.

Every year, I publish my guide to getting to the Columbia home games at Kraft Field at Wien Stadium at the Baker Athletic Complex.

And this year, you REALLY need to pay attention to the guide because there are some significant updates you must know about, so read through it carefully:


Every year, the top headline is the same: if you are coming to the game from Manhattan, TAKE THE SUBWAY!

The #1 train and the A train are both great choices to get to the stadium. I have more details on that a little later.


To accommodate fans living or staying on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a FREE shuttle bus will leave from the corner of East 86th Street and 3rd Avenue at 11am on home gamedays.


In 2010, they moved the pregame tailgating/picnic area to the concourse right in front of the stadium and it worked well! It was a little crowded at times, but the crowd was lively and close-knit.

And they are still serving free soft drinks and beer!!!

What could be better???

Now, here's more on how to get there:

Step one: DON'T PANIC

Getting around New York City, and Manhattan in particular, is all about your state of mind. If you're an overly aggressive or too passive driver, you will either drop dead of a tension-induced stroke or become the victim of a panic attack, respectively. The city is fraught with double-parkers, Kamikaze cabs with no regard for life and limb, and people who routinely make right turns from the left lane.

But fear not! The road to the Baker Athletics Complex is filled with special advantages and other options that can make the whole experience livable, decent, and even fun.

The key to avoiding disappointment, dyspepsia, and dismemberment is to LEAVE YOURSELF A LOT OF TIME.

Other than the Homecoming game which starts at 1:30 this year, the Columbia home games will begin at 12:30 this season. With another season's worth of great pre-game activities in the works, (like free beverages, even some beers for those of you over 21), the best thing that could happen is that you show up an hour or so before the game and enjoy a good time in the picnic area. Is that so bad? And if you just make it in time for the game, well then you made it. Either way, going early is the way to go.

Inwood or Morningside:  Make Your Choice Now

Before we talk about getting to the actual game by car, ask yourself where you'd really like to keep your gas-guzzling SUV for the day. Do you want to park it up at the very tip of Manhattan, or do you want to keep it near the Columbia campus where you can spend a very pleasant morning and late afternoon/evening before and after the game? This is not exactly a rhetorical question, as there ARE things to do and see not far from Wien Stadium... but it's not exactly a culinary hotbed, in fact it's quite residential, (in the Baker Field neighborhood of Inwood there are actually a few houses... detached houses in Manhattan!). There are new choices lately. Just over the Broadway Bridge north of the stadium there's a strip mall with an Applebee's and a Starbucks!

There's also a few new food and treat options near the stadium for 2013 as I documented here. They include a sports bar and an old style drug store counter with ice cream and shakes.


You can park very close to the stadium at many of the parking garages within 1-6 blocks of Baker. Most of them are on 10th Avenue between 205th and 215th Streets. I usually use the garage right at the corner of 10th Ave. and 215th.

You can also park the car near the Columbia campus, which is only 100 blocks or so from Baker Field, There is still more to do, see, and definitely eat around there.

A path in Inwood Hill Park... yes, this IS Manhattan!

BUT definitely choose one game, and check out Inwood and its environs during the season. Parts of Inwood Hill Park are the only pieces of Manhattan that still look as they did in 1524 when the Dutch explorers arrived.

A few blocks South of Inwood is Washington Heights a very resurgent neighborhood with lots of interesting Latin restaurants and shops.

The Cloisters... an excellent "Marital Bargaining Unit" if I say so myself

One Washington Heights highlight about 30 blocks South from the Baker Field is the lovely Cloisters. Most Columbia students get sick of the Cloisters after a few years, (some classes make you go there too many times), but it's a great place for the uninitiated. It's also not a bad date spot. So, if you have a wife or girlfriend who's none too pleased about being dragged to a football game, the Cloisters can be your olive branch. No need to thank me if your lady ends up thinking you're a romantic genius; like Billy Flynn, "All I Care about is Love."

But How Do We Get to Neverland?

The directions provided by the athletic department are very good. You can use them with confidence... but don't ignore the key section of those directions for people coming from Queens, Long Island, Eastern Brooklyn via the Belt Parkway, and that includes JFK Airport and La Guardia. If you are one of those people, I'm about to save you anywhere from 45 minutes to 7 hours by urging you to never, never, even if you're a Penn fan, NEVER take the Cross Bronx Expressway!

The Cross Bronx Expressway... dear Lord, why us?

The Cross Bronx Expressway was designed by Robert Moses a brilliant but evil man whose disdain for ordinary people was well documented by Robert Caro in The Power Broker. If you live in New York, drive in New York, or are thinking about driving in New York, you owe it to yourself to read this book. One great section details how the Cross Bronx Expressway was poorly designed from the outset, destroyed good middle class neighborhoods like East Tremont, and virtually guarantees traffic jams at the drop of a hat. And the kicker is, a lot of other urban planners in the 40's, 50's and 60's emulated this man and his designs. Robert Moses is a big reason why driving in America sucks.

So avoid the Cross Bronx, take the Grand Central Parkway to the Triboro Bridge, (now named the "RFK Bridge," presumably to honor the old home of the Redskins), follow the signs to MANHATTAN, (DON'T MAKE The Bonfire of the Vanities mistake), and THEN take the Harlem River Drive North. Take the HRD to the 10th Avenue/Dyckman Street exit. Do NOT take the ramp going up to the George Washington Bridge, stay in the far right lane. Take the HRD to the end and  make the first right at the first light that will take you onto 10th Avenue. If you stay straight, (you'll be driving under an elevated subway track). 10th Avenue runs parallel to Broadway and will take you straight up to 215th Street, 218th Street, or wherever you want to go in the Baker Complex vicinity.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Harlem River Drive is officially a parkway, so if you're driving a U-Haul or a big bus of people, you can't take it. Otherwise, you and your sedan, SUV, pickup truck, etc. can enjoy it. IF YOU'RE TAKING A CAB FROM THE QUEENS AIRPORTS... MAKE SURE YOU TELL THE CABBIE TO TAKE THE TRIBORO/RFK BRIDGE TO THE HARLEM RIVER DRIVE. DON'T LET THE DRIVER TAKE YOU INTO MIDTOWN MANHATTAN!!!

Parking: The Odyssey

Option 1: Donate to CU!

Now if you're going to park near Baker Field, your options are limited, but there ARE options. Your first option is to send a fat check to the athletic dept. and grab one of the sweet spots in the Baker Field complex itself reserved for generous donors. Seriously, I can think or worse ways to spend your money, and having a spot at Baker Field is like being a shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway during "Buffettstock, you get to enjoy your investment in a party atmosphere!

Option 2: Parking Garages Ahoy! 

They are all around the stadium now, especially on 10th Avenue. FYI: in the past, parking has cost fans about $15 for the whole game.

Option 3: Street Parking, or "The Hunt"

Of course, you can try being really sneaky and try to park for free on the residential streets around the area. This is really something for early-birds, as the spots fill up fast. In fact, there aren't a lot of spots to begin with because Inwood is really residential and the local folks like to keep their spots for the weekend. BUT, the eagle-eyed among you may be able to find a nice spot and enjoy knowing that you're a winner even before kickoff by saving a few bucks with a free spot. There are a couple of important pitfalls to avoid:

a) If you aren't really good at parallel parking, don't even think about parking on the streets of Inwood. The hilly terrain makes even seasoned parkers a little nervous, and all those scratched bumpers and fenders on the parked cars are proof of the "goofs" people make from time to time.

b) Inwood is not really a high-crime area, especially during the day, but you should never tempt fate. Lock your cars. DO NOT keep any packages or valuables in plain sight in your car, and you probably should leave them out of the trunk too if you can. This is especially true if you are driving a car with out-of-state plates.

c) Make sure to check the street signs to see if you're parking in a legal spot. Saturdays are usually immune from alternate side of the street parking rules, but not always. You cannot park within six feet, either way, of a fire hydrant, and you also need to give a lot space for bus stops. You cannot block any driveways. And if there's a yellow stripe painted on the curb, you can't park there either. A good M.O. is to eye every open spot with EXTREME SUSPICION, the chances are more than likely that the spot is there because it's not a legal spot.

d) You may be hampered even further in your quest for free parking if the NYPD blocks 218th Street at Broadway which they often do on game days. To be safe, just find your way to Seaman Avenue, which runs parallel to Broadway on the WEST and start looking for spots there. You might consider printing out a Google Map of Inwood, NY to learn to navigate the local streets better. Remember to look out for one-way streets and the occasional street fair which often pops up and further kills parking opportunities on the weekends.


Manhattan is a great and unique place. One of the things that makes it so unique is that every inch of land is super-valuable and the chances of any institution setting aside lots of space for occasional parking is not likely or even sane. Most sensible people living in all parts of Manhattan do so without a car, regardless of their economic stature. A day or two driving around here will tell you why.

That's why we have the best, (but still too expensive), public transportation system in the world. And luckily, there are a number of more relaxing and reliable ways to get to Baker Field.

Public Transportation Option 1: From Columbia Campus

You can ditch your car at one of the many parking garages near the Columbia campus, or try to find free street parking, (it's not much easier than Inwood, but doable), and then take the free shuttle bus or public transportation.

To get the subway somewhat direct to the stadium you can 1) catch the uptown #1 train at 116th Street all the way to 215th Street. Easy.

You CAN 2) walk down the hill at West 110th Street, get on the uptown C train and switch at 168th Street for the A from there. That transfer does not involve the creepy elevator and is much better, but still not ideal.

I love taking the A train from start to finish.

Getting the A directly is a lot easier from Midtown Manhattan, where most hotels are located anyway. From the Columbia campus, you can also take the #1 DOWNTOWN to 59th and then get on the A train UPTOWN from there. It's not too terrible to do that actually.

If you're in Midtown Manhattan, I recommend taking the A at the 59th Street and Broadway station. It is a VERY short ride, (less than 20-25 minutes), from there. The A train runs on the far West side of Manhattan, through Brooklyn, past JFK airport, and all the way to a neighborhood where I did a lot of my growing up called Far Rockaway. The uptown or Manhattan bound A takes you the 207th Street stop, which is the last stop. Exit at the 211th Street exit and then you can either walk the seven blocks along Broadway, (about 35% of a mile), to Baker Field or better yet, enter Isham Park on your left and enjoy a nicer trip that will take you to Seaman Avenue along the left side of the park and you will see Wien Stadium right in front of you at the end of the avenue. This is a more scenic walk and will give you a better idea of what Inwood is like.

To ride the NYC subway you will need a Metrocard. Go to the ticket booth at the station or the automated Metrocard machines and buy a two-trip card. The machines take cash, credit and debit cards.

When you get to the platform, again make sure that you are on the UPTOWN side awaiting the UPTOWN train.


If the subway isn't for you, for the last several years Columbia has been running free shuttle buses to and from Baker Field on game days. They usually run from the 116th Street and Broadway entrance, but ask the security guards at the gate to be sure. I'm not sure how long it takes for these buses to reach the stadium, but they will always be slower than the subway. (There is no faster way to get around Manhattan than the subway... none).

And  there is now a bus running from the Upper East Side! It leaves from 3rd Avenue and East 86th Street 90 minutes prior to kickoff. 

A number of NYC buses, (not free, you need a Metrocard), run to the Baker Field area, but I really don't recommend using them. They are extremely slow, (what do you call it when you have sex on a NYC bus? "Joining the 3-mile-an-hour club"), and erratic on the weekends. BUT if there ever is a fire on the subway or something, it's good to know they're there.

The Marble Hill Station on Metro North

One of the most beautiful ways to get to a Columbia game is on the Metro North commuter railroad. Take the HUDSON RIVER LINE to the Marble Hill stop and simply walk over the footbridge to Baker Field. The views of the Hudson that you will get if you're coming from the North, (if you're looking to go this way from Grand Central Terminal, it's not a terrible idea, but much more expensive than just taking the subway from another station on the West Side), are just great. MTA.info is the website to find the schedules for Saturdays from Grand Central to Marble Hill. Note the reliable 19-20 minute travel time and the many, many options you have for trains all the way through game time. If you are staying on the East Side of Manhattan, this is a GREAT option.

Cab Anyone?

You can always try to hail a yellow cab and tell the driver to take you to WEST 218th and Broadway, (don't say "Baker Field," there's a very good chance he won't know what you're talking about), and go that way. I expect the trip will cost about $15-$18 in cab fare not including tip... but it varies.

In NYC there are also non-yellow so-called "gypsy" cabs that may honk their horns at you and offer you a ride. The official rules in the city say that you can't take a ride with them without arranging it in advance, but I have found they are usually reliable. The price should be about the same as Yellow cab, but they don't use a meter... so make sure you agree on the fare before you get in.

What if I'm coming from New Jersey, and I want to take Public Transportation?

New Jersey Transit trains take you to Penn Station where you can get the A train, or a cab. I'm not sure about the reliability of NJT trains or buses on weekends, but perhaps some of my readers would like to chime in about that in the comments section.

Isn't the Subway Dangerous?

Not really. It's dirtier than it should be, but in general it's fine. Basically, keep your wallets and valuables secure, try to ride with or near larger groups of people, and try not to telegraph the fact you're a tourist by pulling out a map every two seconds. It's okay to ask fellow riders directions; most New Yorkers like proving they know the City.

I'm Coming from JFK, LaGuardia, or Newark Airport. What should I do?

A cab from Newark directly to Baker Field is actually not that terribly expensive. But from the other major airports, I suggest you get into Manhattan via a cab and then take the subway, unless you have lots of bags which will make the whole day a pain. In that case, try to get to your hotel first, dump the bags and then follow the directions above.

What if I get Lost?

Go into almost any store you see and ask for help. Store owners can sometimes seem surly, but they'll probably help you. Cops on the street will be good too.

Can't I Just Come with You?

I'd love the company, but I don't think that will work. I am with you in spirit, I promise.