Friday, August 21, 2015

It Begins

With players starting to officially report for training camp today and tomorrow, the 2015 football season has finally officially begun.

Not to make too big a thing of it, but this Columbia football season is more than just a football season for the players, fans and the administration.

It’s a grand experiment and a real execution of the major financial and moral commitment to football so many of us have wanted from the administration for decades.

For Head Coach Al Bagnoli, it’s an important chance to show that life isn't over when you hit your 60s, and that he has several good years of coaching and program building ahead of him.

For some of his key assistants, it’s a crucial chance to prove they are worth the investment and a big loss to the programs that lost them or let them go.

For the 76 returning players on the Columbia roster, especially the 21 returning seniors, this is their last chance to prove that they are much better players than the previous coaching regime allowed them to be.

And for all Ivy League football fans it’s a chance to show that the “have nots” in the league can start the process of reaching the top,  one rung on the respectability ladder at a time.

I’ll have my complete preview for the Lions 2015 season ready to publish in a couple of weeks, but I will say now that I’m not expecting Columbia to be a contending team right away. I don’t think any fair thinking fan or true football expert does. But the player talent level has been improved about as much as it reasonably could be in fewer than six months. The player attitudes have improved markedly. And the level of professionalism in the staff and in the Athletic Director’s office is exponentially greater.  

And perhaps most importantly, I do think CU football will be fun and exciting again this fall. And anyone who suffered through the last two seasons knows how very important that is.

Aggressive agitators like me, Rich Forzani, and so many of the readers here finally got what we wanted with the Bagnoli hire and the serious money and support from President Bollinger that went along with it. We asked for this, we demanded this, and now we have it. If this works out like we’ve always insisted it would, we’re going to look pretty good even though none of us will ask for any credit or care more for that than we will about seeing the team win. If it doesn’t, (and it will take much more than one year to know either way), we won’t be able to avoid a lot of criticism whether we like it or not.

So everyone has a lot at stake in this season from inside and outside the Columbia football world.

It’s time to put it all to the test.

I’ve never been afraid, and you can bet Al Bagnoli’s never been afraid, to take a very public test with very public results.


Coach said...

Jake: good piece, and I am in complete agreement. However, there are 2 parts of the program that we can measure right now and especially after the signing season next spring- financial aid and admissions. Specifically, are we offering the best financial aid package in the league, or just matching other programs, which put us at a disadvantage. Also, is Columbia admissions working with Bags and giving him all the players that fit within each band.
Of course, the general public will never know the answers to these questions, but word will get around soon enough.

oldlion said...

Well said Jake. And kudos to the great job by Rich Forzani '66C and the CAEC for their Herculean efforts in cleansing the Augean stable of the last several years.

PKNIGHT said...

Let the games begin! Lions over Fordham, Lions over Georgetown, Lions 2-0 going inrto Princeton .... you heard it here first!

Anonymous said...

With the influx of talent I do see a 5-5 or better record as possible. That is all it really takes is coaching, talent and execution. Playing like a team, that comes over time but as we know, in a short season it all happens fast. Some catching up to do but not insurmountable.

Real team, real program, real coaching, real progress. 5-5 or better.

Big Dawg said...

My wishes are with the wingman, but if we go 5 and 5, Bags wins Coach of the century and the team goes to Disneyworld.

Gonna be an interesting season, and for once I'm looking forward to it.

Roar Lion said...

I am with Big Dawg. We're not going 5-5 after being uncompetitive in nine of 10 last year. We should be much better and I am looking forward to harder fought games and a team we can be proud of.

Anonymous said...

What would be holding the team back from a winning record or .500? I've been watching college football on a widespread scale for over 3 decades and have indulged in plenty of history as well. There are countless fast (and amazing) turnarounds. Granted, Columbia's hole has grown immense with age but the gap is really not that huge. Brown, Gtown, Cornell should be winnnable games. Wagner is very tough but not insurmountable. Fordham, ya know, anything can happen. That will be a test but we have beaten them before. Yale's defense stinks and they won't fix it this season. WIN. Harvard is all about depth, that could be a problem but I see us giving them a strong game. Penn, Dartmouth have lots of team speed. I will concede the Big Green game but not the Tigers who we routinely enjoy beating in a spoiler role.

alawicius said...

The Fordham game will rock. If we can hold down their super rb (under 125?), and rise up in the 4th quarter, we have a shot. Too much talent on this team now, players and coaches, to be denied. Remember the names Krcilik and Munsil, freshmen receivers who will make a mark.

Coach said...

What is the scrimmage date?