Friday, October 31, 2014

Bulldogs on the Way


Will Varga go for 200? 300? More? 

Yale Elis at Columbia Lions

November 1, 2014

Location: Robert K. Kraft Field at Wien Stadium

Kickoff Time: 12:30pm

Gametime Weather Forecast: 50 degrees and a 50% chance of showers. Windy.  

The Spread: Yale is favored by 32 points


The game will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network

Make sure you get the audio and superior commentary from Jerry Recco and Sal Licata.

Lead Stories/Questions

-Will Columbia continue to lose but by less than disastrous and embarrassing scores?

-Will Tyler Varga rush for 200+ yards?

-Will the Yale offense score 50+ points? 60+?

-Will the wet weather even the playing field just a bit?

Streak Watch

Columbia has now lost 17 games in a row, continuing the longest losing streak since the record 44-game slide from 1983-88. Columbia has not won a game since 11/14/2012 or 690 days ago.

Players to Watch

-Try this on for size: Yale RB Tyler Varga leads the league in rushing and is a machine who could have a career day against the Lions. Yale WR Deon Randall leads the league in receiving and is a machine who could have a career day against the Lions. Yale QB Morgan Roberts leads the league in passing and is a machine who could have a career day against the Lions. Oh, and WR Grant Wallace is darn close to Randall in receiving yards and he could have a monster day too. Pick your poison.

-As good as the Yale offense has been, the defense has been weak. This could be a big day for RB Cameron Molina or QB Trevor McDonagh.

Columbia 3 Keys to the Game

1)      Stack the Box

Yeah, Yale has a great passing game but on a very windy/rainy day the aerial attack will have to be muted. Columbia needs to concentrate its meager defensive resources on stopping the run. And any blitzes should be run blitzes as the Lion pass rush has been totally ineffective all season anyway.

2)      Screen, Screen, Screen

The one consistent offensive play CU has used all year has been the screen. Molina and Chris Schroer usually execute it pretty well. This Yale defense seems particularly susceptible to this play.

3)      Bone Up

Columbia continues to help defenses dissect our already-too-weak running game by using a single back set more often than not. On a slippery, rainy, and windy day it would be fun to at least confuse the defense by loading the backfield with potential runners, including the darn QB. Why is it so forbidden for our QB’s to run… ever? 

YDN Makes it Clear

The Yale Daily News has this piece out today previewing tomorrow's Yale-Columbia game.

You don't have to read between the lines too much to see just how the Elis are approaching this game:

Like a practice.

Here are a few quotes that make that very clear:

“As a secondary, we work on pre- and post-snap reads, making sure we have the right alignment and assignment before making our reads,” safety Foyesade Oluokun ’17 said. “We want to be more confident and execute in games the way we know we can.”

In other words, playing Columbia is a good opportunity to focus on mechanics... you know, since winning isn't ever going to be a problem.

“I always enjoy playing away,” (QB Morgan) Roberts said. “It’s a little more business-oriented, staying in a hotel and that whole deal. Our guys are excited.”

Translation: Beating Columbia is easy, but boring. The only real suspense is whether our hotel rooms will have free cable.

“Columbia is a team that I think is where we were two years ago,” head coach Tony Reno said. “They have a good group of players that haven’t had as much success as they probably could have [had].”

Translation: Look how much better a job I'm doing than Pete Mangurian! Geez, that guy makes everyone look good.


Columbia’s annual Giving Day raised a record $11 million-plus on Wednesday.

For the record, I decided to show my disgust for the football program and its mismanagement by giving $300 on Giving Day… to baseball.

I figured $300 in hopes of an Ivy championship 3-Peat made a lot of sense.

I know it’s not a lot, but I know it was appreciated.

Also for the record, I now promise to donate even more money to football as soon as the news breaks that Pete Mangurian has been fired. And I encourage everyone here to do the same. And I’m also planning to donate yet more as soon as we learn that a quality new coach has been hired and the same for a new athletic director.

We could even start the pledging/telethon right here.

Let’s let the administration know we’re willing to put our money where our mouths are and let it know just how much money we’re talking about.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Week 10 Picks

It was a tough week for me last week with a 3-3 record straight up and a 3-3 mark against the spread.

That puts me at 35-14 straight up and 24-23-1 ATS for the year.

On to this week’s games:

Dartmouth +9 vs. Harvard

The big one. Harvard won a rare road game against an undefeated, (in the league), Ivy opponent last week. I don’t think they can do it twice in a row. The Big Green to win.

Brown -3 at Penn

I like the Bears upward trajectory this season.

Cornell +16 vs. Princeton

Princeton has never played all that well in Ithaca, and as bad as this Big Red team is I think the timing is right for Cornell to stay within two scores of the Tigers. Princeton will win, but not by 17.

Colgate +21 at Fordham

The Rams are hitting their stride, but this won’t be a total blowout. Rams to win, Raiders to cover.

Monmouth -4 ½ vs. Charleston Southern

I like the Hawks at home.

Albany +18 at New Hampshire

I like the Great Danes to make a game of this.  UNH by 15 or so. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Cupboard was not Bare

Sean Brackett in 2010

Of Pete Mangurian's many crimes and misdemeanors as Columbia football's head coach, perhaps the worst was his egregious phone call to Robert Kraft complaining that the previous regime had left the "cupboard bare" of talent going forward.

Even if it were true, such an excuse should have been immediately flagged by Kraft and anyone else who heard it as a serious sign of a coach who was looking to shirk responsibility.

And since it wasn't true, it should have also flagged Mangurian as a coach who cannot evaluate talent properly for the Ivy League... which he clearly cannot.

The fact is, Norries Wilson was fired because he didn't get wins DESPITE amassing very good numbers of more talented players than his predecessors. Either no one in our incompetent and corrupt athletics department bothered to tell Mangurian this, or he just didn't listen.

Anyway, we received more proof today that the cupboard was not bare as the AFL's Las Vegas Outlaws published this press release touting QB Sean Brackett's accolades. Brackett is a charter player for the new team.

Oh, and joining Brackett in that empty cupboard Mangurian claims to have inherited was Josh Martin, who is currently getting more and more quality playing time with the KC Chiefs.

Columbia also handed Mangurian top players like TE Hamilton Garner and OL Scott Ward. Both were marginalized by the "genius" known as Mangurian.

25 days from now, when Mangurian is fired and we start interviewing new candidates, those candidates will be asked to take over a team in much worse shape than what Mangurian took over in late 2011. But the best candidates are the ones who won't be working harder on making up excuses and stonewalling student reporters than they will be on fixing the team.

Two More Names + Ivy Power Rankings

The D-III coaching ranks are often a great place to find a good football coach, as Penn found out in 1992 when they hired Al Bagnoli from Union College, (he took that job after turning Columbia down in 1989).

With that in mind, there are a couple more names we should throw into our mix of coaches we should consider to replace Pete Mangurian when he is dismissed in 25 days.

Jim Margraff

Margraff has made Johns Hopkins into a consistent winner and has been on the CU head coaching radar for years. He has the admiration of the many players he coached as an assistant at Columbia under Ray Tellier and he also worked with the first few very good teams at Penn in the 1980's.

Chris Wilkerson

Wilkerson was at Dartmouth for nine seasons before going to the University of Chicago last year. He's made a quick turnaround for the Maroons and he certainly understands coaching in a tough academic, urban environment. He also recruits the NYC area.


1) Dartmouth

Don't believe the politically correct talk from the Big Green coaching staff. The truth is Dartmouth absolutely cruised to its 27-7 victory over Columbia Saturday.

2) Harvard

So it turns out all Harvard needed was Connor Hempel back at QB to look like a dominant team once more. The epic takedown of Princeton had some other roots as well, including a keen desire for revenge after two straight tough losses to the Tigers.

3) Yale

The Elis seem poised to pounce now that Princeton seems exposed and all Yale needs is to stay at one loss before the big game in Cambridge. The offense is multifaceted and powerful.

4) Princeton

The Tigers crashed down to Earth last weekend, so now the challenge is to try to recover and salvage a solid season.

5) Brown

The Bears are starting to look better and better. Penn will be hard pressed to beat them this weekend.

6) Penn

The Quakers could have been beaten by a lot more against Yale last weekend, but they got a pass. Brown won't be as generous.

7) Cornell

Very few bright spots.

8) Columbia 

Not even in anyone's rear view mirror,

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Our Short List

Pete Mangurian will be fired in 26 days, so it’s actually a little late to begin the process of searching for his replacement.

But here we go.

Many sources now tell me Mangurian's salary is more like $500,000 a year and near the top of the Ivies. That makes his hiring and the job he's done here even more of a scandal, but at least we know more money is available than we thought. 

I’ll start with my top two choices, and please note that they were my top two choices and 90% of the fans’ top choices from three years ago. Does anyone in their right mind think we would be this bad right now if we had hired one of these guys instead of Mangurian?

Of course not.

Tom Gilmore

Tom is just a good a choice for Columbia as he was three years ago, despite Holy Cross’ difficulties in that period. The truth is, HC is deliberately not keeping up with its Patriot League opponents in the new athletic scholarship financial race. And yet, the Crusaders are still a very tough team. Gilmore turned this program around 7-8 years ago, but is now better-suited to do his magic in the Ivies. He’s a tough coach, but someone who has the deep respect and admiration from his former players. Mangurian does not have that in case you hadn’t noticed.

Joe Moglia

Moglia would have taken the Columbia job in 2011 if CU had been smart enough to offer it to him. Now, it’s not so clear but Joe would still get a step up in media attention and visibility if he came up north. Right now, he’s still doing miracles with Coastal Carolina and probably would like a shot at a big-time FBS team very soon. But I think he would still entertain an offer from Columbia very seriously. A big bonus here is we wouldn’t have to pay him.

Now, for some other interesting options.

Dartmouth’s quick and efficient turnaround from 0-10 in 2008 to contender by 2010 to top 3 team in 2013 and now a top 1 or 2 team in 2014 is worth noting.

Here are two guys from that program who catch my attention:

Keith Clark

The Green’s offensive coordinator has weathered the graduation of two once-in-a-generation quality RB’s in Nick Schwieger and Dominic Pierre in the last couple of years and still has his offense moving well. Clark was our O-line coach for our 1996 8-2 season and he knows what Columbia is all about. He is more than ready to be a head coach.

Cortez Hankton

A totally outside the box choice, except he’s not. The Big Green WR coach is universally acknowledged to be on the fast track to stardom. He’s a killer recruiter, great teacher, and has the personality to move mountains. No one at Dartmouth can believe he came back for a third year there and they are thanking their lucky stars. He’s worth taking a very long look at.

Princeton’s turnaround is also very instructive for our purposes. But the Tigers only have one guy I’d investigate as a possibility:

James Perry

The Princeton OC and former Brown QB and asst. coach was vehemently hated by Roger Hughes’ players when he came to the Tigers with Bob Surace. Now he’s universally loved as he’s turned Princeton into a scoring machine. And it didn’t take long.

I have some other names, but let’s get the conversation started.

In any event, we must never allow the A.D., an interim A.D. or anyone to subvert the hiring process like Dianne Murphy did in 2011 with Mangurian. There couldn’t be a better example of “garbage in, garbage out,” as that fraudulent “search process” yielded a disastrous coach.

26 days to go… 

The Hard Truths

We don't have to imagine how he'd describe Columbia football anymore

When you see a team in a downward spiral, with bad management from top to bottom, it’s pretty obvious.

But in today’s world of timid beat reporters and organizations that can spell the message the way they like, falsehoods sometimes are given a lot more time and credence than ever before.

That’s what we’ve been experiencing as CU football fans as the obvious failures of a terrible 0-6 team with a 17 game active losing streak are still being defended by a powerful few.

There’s a team across the river from Wien Stadium that’s just about as bad. It’s called the NY Jets. And it’s leadership, namely GM John Idzik, did an eerie Pete Mangurian/Lee Bollinger/Dianne Murphy/Bill Campbell impersonation yesterday in a terribly rambling and falsehood-laced news conference.

Luckily, the major sports media in NYC is a little too savvy and strong to let something let that go when it comes to one of our NFL teams.

WFAN’s Mike Francessa just gave Idzik and the Jets all they deserved in this epic rant  on video. 

Please watch the whole thing and just substitute “Columbia” for every time he says the Jets and “Pete Mangurian,” “Dianne Murphy,” “Lee Bollinger,” or “Bill Campbell” every time he talks about the Jets organization.

Then you just might get what we’re going through here.

Now we don’t have to imagine what it would sound like Francessa or any of his peers saying the following:

“You guys are congratulating yourselves on improvement. WHAT improvement?!? You just lost on Homecoming by three scores to a second team quarterback!!”

“Mangurian says there’s ‘empirical evidence’ the team is getting better. What evidence is that? You’ve lost 17 straight games by at least two scores every time! What on Earth are you talking about?”

“Mangurian tells you he’s won before elsewhere. No he hasn’t! He had one winning season at Cornell with Jim Hofher’s recruits and then the kids he brought in stunk up the joint for three years after he left! He was FIRED from other NFL jobs for being a jerk! And NOW you’re surprised that he’s a jerk here? Where was the due diligence in vetting this guy? Where was the football committee? Where was Bill Campbell?“

"You have to hold Bill Campbell and the other decision makers ACCOUNTABLE!"

"You've got players jumping around and high-fiving after one good play when they're down by 30+ points! It's an embarrassment! The other teams find it so east, they think they're in a preseason scrimmage!"

Monday, October 27, 2014

Second Strung

Beating Columbia is now easier than those phony courses at North Carolina

Dartmouth 27 Columbia 7

Why Dartmouth Won

Like every other team playing Columbia for the last 23 months, the Big Green totally controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Dartmouth defense held the Lions to 44 yards rushing, while RB Kyle Bramble had 126 yards on an efficient 23 carries. Despite not playing their best player in QB Dalyn Williams, Dartmouth still passed the ball well. Finally, the Big Green yielded only seven points despite three turnovers.

Why Columbia Lost

Columbia's offense simply cannot score, even though it did show a better ability to move the ball. Even on CU's one scoring drive, it had to overcome four penalties and it needed seven tortuous plays to go just 23 yards to the end zone. On defense, Columbia allowed Dartmouth to convert a healthy 11 of 18 3rd downs plays.

Key Turning Points

-Dartmouth made a big statement on its opening drive, moving 75 yards in 10 efficient plays. Backup QB Alex Park dispelled any concerns Green fans may have had by completing his first three passes and going 5-6 overall on the drive for 36 yards.

-After CU DB Trevor Bell picked off a Park pass on Dartmouth's second possession, the Lions were poised to tie things up when they started their ensuing possession at the Green 45. But Columbia gained all of two yards before having to punt and the offensive futility was evident.

-After Columbia finally scored to make it 17-7 late in the half, a good Dartmouth kickoff return gave the Big Green a short field and they scored a TD just before the break to dash the Lions burgeoning hopes and put the game away.

Columbia Positives

-The Lions moved the ball well offensively despite not being able to score. They even out-gained Dartmouth in passing yards, 282 to 268.

-Columbia's run defense was generally strong, but without Williams in at QB to keep run defenses honest, that may be a misleading achievement.

Columbia Negatives

-QB Trevor McDonagh put up some generally good numbers, but his two picks were inexcusable.

-The penalties were numerous and untimely. A week after committing a mind boggling eight false start penalties, the Lions committed five on Saturday and also had a costly personal foul to extend a Dartmouth drive. Columbia had 10 penalties overall for 68 yards.

-Columbia did get one sack on the day, but there was generally no pressure at all on Park. This has been the case all season long.


-Trevor Bell truly deserved the John Toner Homecoming MVP award this year. Too bad not one of the recipients of this nice newer tradition for CU football has ever enjoyed getting this award in a winning game.

Overall Lessons

-Dartmouth benched their best player as a precaution and the Big Green still came into Columbia's Homecoming and won by three scores.

We have been reduced to the kind of role junior colleges or D-III teams play against Ivy teams in preseason.

Any talk of progress from this coach or administration is an insult to everyone's patience and intelligence.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friday, October 24, 2014

Homecoming Horror Show, Part 14

These paper bags will be distributed at the Homecoming tent before the game

Dartmouth Big Green at Columbia Lions

October 25, 2014


Location: Robert K. Kraft Field at Wien Stadium

Kickoff Time: 1:30pm

Gametime Weather Forecast: 61 degrees and sunny

The Spread: Dartmouth is favored by 29 points


The game will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network

Make sure you get the audio and superior commentary from Jerry Recco and Sal Licata.

Lead Stories/Questions

-Will Dartmouth hand Columbia one of its most embarrassing Homecoming losses ever?

-Will the fans at the game voice their anger at Coach Mangurian and the administration? 

Streak Watch

Columbia has now lost 16 games in a row, continuing the longest losing streak since the record 44-game slide from 1983-88. Columbia has not won a game since 11/14/2009 or 683 days ago.

The Lions have also lost 13 straight Homecoming games.

Dartmouth has defeated Columbia five straight times by an average score of 33-9.

Players to Watch

Dartmouth: QB Dalyn Williams runs and passes very well. As a runner, he could particularly shred the soft middle of the CU defense. This could be a career day for Williams.

Columbia: QB Trevor McDonagh should be even more comfortable as the starter and might test a still somewhat questionable Dartmouth pass defense.

Columbia 3 Keys to the Game

1)     Throw it Deep… a Lot

If your offense isn’t working too well, you might as well try to get maximum positives the few times that it does.

2)     Make Williams Stay Put

Williams can really hurt Columbia with his passes, but he’ll absolutely slaughter the Lions if he feels like he can run regularly.

3)     Mix up the Running Game

Cameron Molina is just unable to do much on his own with the kind of run blocking the O-line is not providing. CU needs to go into a 2-back or even wishbone set once in a while and at least confuse the defense somewhat. 

Profile in Cowardice

Two days ago, Head Coach Pete Mangurian did an interview with WKCR's Ryan Young, (the same guy who wrote the great column I discussed yesterday).

The interview started out fine, with Mangurian answering specific questions about the loss at Penn last Saturday.

Then it took a turn for the surreal when he insisted the team was clearly better than where it was when he took over. He stressed that no one on the team has quit, even though the senior co-captain of the team has quit, (Brett Nottingham). Then he continued to push the blatant falsehood that he ALWAYS said that wins on the field would be the last thing to happen in the improvement process.

For those who have forgotten, Mangurian came into last season insisting that the team be judged on its won-lost record. This new "wins come last" line of his is ridiculous on its face AND it's a case of revisionist history.

And then at the 5:25 mark of the interview, Mangurian just shuts down any talk of his record and the program overall and insists they only talk about tomorrow's Dartmouth game.

This is the level to which we've sunk. A student journalist can't even ask the most basic questions.

But listen to the whole interview here and judge for yourself.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

To Tell the Truth

I really liked today's column by Ryan Young in the Columbia Spectator.

This is the link to the full article.

I want to pull out some of the key parts for effect:

"This year, there is absolutely no hope going in. Let me not understate this. There may not be a single Homecoming game in all of college football in recent years that looks as hopeless as this one."


"... most Columbia students will likely exhibit the same lack of concentration this Saturday. Most of them will show up knowing that Columbia’s football team is not very good, and will soon realize how historically bad it is. They will get bored and leave at halftime with the team down by three scores. Some will connect the ineptitude to the rest of Columbia athletics, and their apathy will heighten."


"... maybe Athletics can just showcase something else on Saturday—an ability to listen to its students, alumni, and fans. Maybe this way, those who make up the Columbia community can take hope and pride—instead of a 25-game losing streak—into next year’s Homecoming game."

Please read the whole thing, because it's important to note that at least some current students, and not just the battered old alums, realize just how terrible this team is, this program is, and this athletic department is.

These kids are starting to realize that this is their college experience that's being messed with and their chance to really do something fun every fall weekend weekend that's being lost. 

A handful of current student voices making good points like Ryan's is worth about 10,000 of alums and other fans. 

So thanks to Ryan Young for seeing the truth and expressing it so well. 

Week 9 Picks

Last week, I was 5-1 straight up  but just 3-3 again against the spread.

My overall record now is 32-11 straight up and 21-20-1 ATS.

This week’s games:

Princeton +6 vs. Harvard

I think Princeton has just enough to beat the Crimson again, especially at home. 

Yale -17 vs. Penn

Quakers looked bad to me last week against the much worse Lions. Last week, the Quakers were the prettiest horse in the glue factory. This week, they’ll be nags.

Brown -11 ½ vs. Cornell

I don’t like the Big Red on the road at all. Brown is getting its act together for the most part. The results will be rough for the Big Red.

Fordham -16 at Lehigh

The Rams have kicked it back into high gear, while Lehigh is still merging into the right lane. Fordham should win by 17-20.

Monmouth -6 at Presbyterian

The Hawks should be fresh and ready after the week off.

Colgate +6 ½ at Albany

Albany surprised me with their big win last week, but I still don’t think they’re a full TD better than Colgate. I like Colgate to win. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ivy Power Rankings

This was mostly a “push” week for the Ivies with the leading title contenders simply treading water. But we still learned some new things…

1)      Dartmouth

Homecoming or no Homecoming, playing a non-Ivy opponent at this stage of the game is a bit of a trap for any team. I’m a big fan of Tom Gilmore at Holy Cross anyway, so any win over his guys is generally nothing to ever be ashamed of in my book. The Big Green are still the team to beat.

2)      Harvard

The Crimson are still hobbled by injuries, but I’m not sure anyone will beat Harvard at home. Now the biggest test of the year so far comes for Harvard as Tim Murphy needs to prove he can win a big one on the road at Princeton this Saturday. We’ll learn a lot about BOTH teams after that one.

3)      Yale

They may be in 4th place in the standings, but Yale is still better than Princeton in my book right now. That offense is just an arsenal that fires every down. The defense is iffy, but can still beat most Ivy opponents.

4)      Princeton

An injured Quinn Epperly didn’t slow Princeton down all that much in last Saturday’s win over Brown. Could it be that the Tigers are better without him? The Crimson will really want revenge over Princeton this Saturday, so the Tigers better have all their weapons firing. But in the end the game will be decided by how well the PU defense plays.

5)      Brown

This just isn’t Brown’s year, but I see a good future for the Bears very soon.

6)      Penn

I’m shocked at just how bad Penn is right now. This is the worst Quaker team since 1991, and still they beat Columbia by 24 points. Penn is due for a very bad beat down against Yale this weekend.

7)      Cornell

The Big Red just may be bad enough to lose to Columbia in 3 ½ weeks, but probably not. The offense is really punchless and the defense is just passable.

8)      Columbia

Why does a coach in his third year with a team not have a viable offensive or defensive line? Because it’s Columbia and the people who would care at every other school don’t care here. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sour 16

Penn 31 Columbia 7

Why Penn Won

After a slow start on both sides of the ball, the Quakers suddenly remembered that Columbia cannot stop straight-ahead running on defense and could not protect against the blitz on offense. The result was 276 yards rushing for the Quaker offense to just 20 rushing yards for the Lions. And once the blitz package was used, Columbia did not score again.

Why Columbia Lost

Columbia’s passing game could not sustain its opening success and the running attack was weaker than it’s been all season, which is saying something. Meanwhile, CU’s O-line committed a whopping 14 false start/motion penalties in what has to be a modern Ivy record. On defense, the Lions could not stop the simple runs up the middle even when everyone in Franklin Field knew they were coming. Columbia allowed more than five yards per carry on 54 Penn carries.

Key Turning Points

-With Columbia leading 7-0, Penn faced a 3rd and 3 at the CU 27 with about 5 minutes left in the 1st quarter. QB Alek Torgerson’s pass sailed high over Spenser Kulcsar’s head, but CU CB Trevor Bell knocked Kulcsar down on the play and even though the pass was clearly uncatchable, the refs are never going to ignore that much contact. The pass interference call gave Penn a 1st down at the Lion 12. On the next play the Quakers scored the tying TD.

-With about 3 minutes left in the half and Penn ahead 14-7, Ray Pesanello recovered a Torgerson fumble at the Quaker 30. Columbia got as far as the Penn 19, but had to settle for a FG attempt that sailed wide and Penn dodged a bullet.

-Still leading 14-7, Penn was forced to punt after a three-and-out at their own 26. But Columbia roughed punter Hunter Kelly on the punt and Penn retained possession. 12 plays later it was 21-7.

Columbia Positives

-QB Trevor McDonagh was a clear upgrade and he showed decent poise.  The fact that he did not throw an interception was a big positive.

-It was good to see CU Tight Ends Garrett DeMuth and Zach Dansby make an impact as receivers.

Columbia Negatives

-The offensive line is a mess and a penalty machine. In addition to the bevvy of false starts, (mostly committed by Billy Lawrence), Kendall Pace was flagged for holding twice. The blitz totally flummoxed this group time and again.

-Double-teaming Niko Padilla equals destroying any chance of a CU run defense. This is a screaming problem.

Columbia MVP


Lessons Learned

This is the worst Penn team I’ve seen since 1991, and still the Quakers were about to beat the Lions by four scores. Columbia keeps redefining the meaning of “hit bottom.” 14 motion penalties 8 motion penalties, and 3 holds on the O-line are inexcusable. And the lack of any kind of Lion rushing attack is just as bad. We were promised the O-line would be better this year, but I don’t see a bit of it. After all the machinations over the O-line that we’ve been through under Head Coach Pete Mangurian, it’s crazy that this is still the weakest unit on the team by far. The closer Mangurian gets to something, the more it stinks.

And to think, we could have saved ourselves from all of this by doing what everyone knew had to be done last year and letting Mangurian go. 

Columbia has now lost 16 straight, all by at least two scores. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Gameday in Philly

Columbia Lions at Pennsylvania Quakers

October 18, 2014

Location: Franklin Field 

Kickoff Time: 1pm

Gametime Weather Forecast: 66 degrees and sunny

The Spread: Penn is favored by 21 points


The game will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network

Make sure you get the audio and superior commentary from Jerry Recco and Sal Licata.

Lead Stories/Questions

-One of these two 0-4 teams will finally get into the win column today. 

-Columbia faces its first game of this season without senior captain Brett Nottingham even on the team. Will the team look like the wheels have completely come off or put up a decent effort?

Streak Watch

Columbia has now lost 15 games in a row, making this the longest losing streak since the record 44-game slide from 1983-88. Columbia has not won a game since 11/14/2009 or 676 days ago.

The Lions have also now lost 19 games in a row on the road. The last away win was over Cornell at Schoelkopf Field on Nov. 14, 2009. That was  1,799 days ago.

Penn has defeated Columbia 17 straight times, dating back to a 20-19 OT win for the Lions at Franklin Field in October 1996. 

Players to Watch

Penn: QB Alex Torgerson is talented, but interception prone. Will he get over his INT problem today? LB Dan Davis is salivating as he assays the CU O-line. 

Columbia: Can QB Trevor McDonagh put up good numbers against a first string defense? RB Cameron Molina had his first real quality playing time at Penn in 2012. He was brilliant in limited duty and will get a chance to repeat that.

Columbia 3 Keys to the Game

1)      Wound Penn's confidence with an early score


2)      Don't rely too much on screens 

Penn's LB's are very good and will be ready for that strategy. CU needs to try to throw it deep early.

3)      Let McDonagh run a bit

It's the last thing Penn will be expecting.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Giving Day, No Ted Gregory

The new annual Columbia tradition of "Giving Day" is coming on October 29th.

I hate to make students and other divisions at Columbia suffer, but this is a chance for our voices to be heard on the mess in football and athletics in general.

I just can't see why anyone who is unhappy with the way this administration treats athletics, ignores the alumni, and truly hates and denigrates the fans would participate in this event.

There are so many good people and projects at Columbia who will miss out on added funds if this becomes some kind of wider boycott, but this unresponsive, defensive, and abusive administration has left us with no choice.

Not this guy

Stop the Gregory Campaign NOW

Another thing true supporters of Columbia Athletics need to do is make sure the wrong person isn't hired as the new A.D.

Two separate sources have now told me that former Lion football star and close Bill Campbell confidant Ted Gregory is pushing to get the job.

Mr. Gregory is a very nice person, but his failure in the Pete Mangurian hiring process alone should bar him for any decision making role at CU forever.

Remember, it was Gregory who supposedly assembled and led the search committee that clearly did not search and did not vet the candidates at all. They just rubber stamped Dianne Murphy's previously-made decision, all with Bill Campbell's urging.

Gregory is simply a crony of Campbell's as it is. His role would be to be Campbell's eyes and ears on the department, but this is a department that's already suffering from decades of cronyism as it is.

Bill Campbell is a great person and a giant of support for CU. This is not a personal attack. But the fact is, he's not a great judge of coaching talent and perhaps some of the people surrounding him don't have his best interests at heart.

Ted Gregory cannot be our next Athletic Director, period.

Week 8 Picks

Last week I went 4-2 straight up and 3-3 against the spread.

My overall record is now at 27-10 straight up and 18-17-1 ATS

There aren’t as many games to pick today because both Fordham and Monmouth are off. Plus, we have some more in-league games that also cut down on the inventory.

Princeton -6 vs. Brown

The Tigers have to wake up and wake up now. Brown will make it a game but lose by 7-10 points.

Harvard -18 vs. Lafayette

The Crimson are poised to finally break out after a few sluggish games in a row.

Colgate +7 at Yale

Yale will pull this one out, but Colgate got a taste of Ivy blood last week against Princeton and now they want more. This game feels like an Eli win by a FG.

Holy Cross +12 at Dartmouth

The Big Green will let down a bit and Holy Cross usually gets way up for this game. Dartmouth will still win by 7-10 points.

Lehigh -7 ½ at Cornell

Lehigh needs a nice win and the Big Red will give it to them.

Maine -5 ½ vs. Albany

The Great Danes seem to be running out of steam now, despite a big improvement from last season. The Black Bears will win by a TD.

Scouting Penn

Columbia fans will not miss this guy


What’s a bigger shock, the fact that Columbia has lost 15 in a row or Penn has lost 8 in row?

It’s hard to believe, but true. The Quakers have gone 0-4 to start this season after fading out with four straight losses to end 2013.

As bad as it is for Penn right now, the entire fan base is taking Saturday’s game completely for granted against the Lions. Maybe that’s warranted, but the Quakers have been blown out three games in a row and are having trouble holding on to the football with a -6 turnover ratio.

All of this is ruining Head Coach Al Bagnoli’s farewell season. And that begs the question of whether it was wise for Bagnoli to let everyone know this would be his final season so far in advance. This may have affected recruiting adversely and thrown too much uncertainty into the mix even though Ray Priore was immediately named the next head coach at the time of Bagnoli’s announcement.

Whatever the causes, this appears to be the worst Penn team since the pathetic 1991 squad that led to a house cleaning and Bagnoli’s hiring in the first place.


New QB Alex Torgerson is talented, but like many young QB’s he’s throwing too many INT’s. His favorite target is RB-turned-WR Spencer Kulcsar who’s grabbing about six passes per game and 75 yards per game. But, and this is a leitmotif for this offense, he has no TD catches. Torgerson is also facing more pressure than Penn QB’s are used to. He’s been sacked 12 times, an average of three times per game.

RB Lyle Marsh is out for the season and the running game has suffered accordingly. Klyle Wilcox is the top rusher, but he’s only averaging nine carries per game because Penn has been so far behind in a number of games so far this year. Saturday could be the day he really breaks out and gets some serious carries. Freshman RB Tre Solomon from Brooklyn could also make a splash this weekend, as he’s been impressive in limited duty.


Sporadic injuries have hurt this unit, but not as much as playing four very good offensive teams in a row. In other words, it’s hard to tell just how bad or good this Quaker D really is.

Junior linebacker Nolan Biegel has been a nice new impact player this season and he leads the team in tackles. But senior LB Dan Davis is still the leader of this team and he has three sacks so far this year. Feerooz Yacoobi is a major force at defensive end and Evan Jackson is the leader of the secondary.

Again, the defensive stats are ugly, but the names listed above serve as a cautionary note to anyone who thinks the Quakers are an easy mark.


A bright spot this year for Penn has been the emergence of junior PK Jimmy Gammill. He’s 8-9 on FG’s, and he’s hit a 48-yarder. Freshman Hunter Kelly has been a solid punter.

Kulcsar is doing the punt returning and is solid as well. Benjamin and Eric Fiore are splitting the kickoff returning duties and have been unspectacular in that job.

Penn’s kick coverage has been a mixed bag. They’ve been good on kickoffs, but rusty on punt returns.