Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Waiting for... this?!?

Chase Edmonds

It’s a cruel twist of fate that while Columbia fans have been anxiously counting down the days until the football season starts ever since Al Bagnoli was hired in February, the very first game happens to be against a powerhouse team like Fordham.

Most experts don’t see this game as a question of whether Columbia can win. They see it as a question of whether Columbia can escape without a major injury.

The deterioration of the series has come along rather quickly. Columbia beat the Rams at Fordham as recently as 2009, and the 2012 game at Wien Stadium came down to the final moments.

But the effects of a well-executed move to full athletic scholarships for football finally kicked in for the 2013 season, and Fordham hasn’t looked back since.

This is now a team that since 2013 has won 24 and lost just five games. It has a 14 game home winning streak and averages 37 points per game over that 29 game span. Coach Bagnoli himself has already been swept up in the Ram hurricane as his Penn Quakers lost to Fordham in the Bronx by a 60-22 count last season.  

This weekend’s game should be interesting as the Rams face Villanova at home. Fordham had its worst performance of that 29-game period in a stunning 50-6 loss to the Wildcats in Pennsylvania last year. But in 2013, the Rams really made a statement with a 27-24 win over ‘Nova in the Bronx. I expect revenge to be on Fordham’s mind when this game kicks off at 6pm.

It’s pretty clear Fordham University wants to move up to FBS football, but its location in the Bronx makes it impossible to play its home games at a big enough stadium to qualify for that move. The only option is to get enough home games at a venue like Yankee Stadium or MetLife Stadium to get a waiver from whichever conference it hopes to join. It’s a convoluted process, but anything is probably easier than getting the approvals and the cash to build a 40,000+ seat expansion for Fordham’s existing Jack Coffey Field. I suppose it’s possible, but I wouldn’t wish the regulatory hurdles Fordham would have to jump through with Bronx politicians, and those “community organizations” that always seem to pop up whenever there’s a good shakedown of a corporation or university available. Columbia gets that all the time.

The best Fordham can do now is focus on the things it can control, which is spend a lot more money to make sure the best possible recruits come to the program. One of those players was RB Chase Edmonds, who showed up last year after being the best high school RB in Pennsylvania in 2013. Think about that for a second. A school like Fordham, with a 7,000 seat home stadium, snagged the best high school RB in the entire football-rich state of PA. That’s not really the kind of thing that happens in the non-fantasy world. The addition of Edmonds proves Fordham isn’t taking any prisoners in the recruiting wars. Most FCS teams, and certainly the Ivies, cannot even come close to competing with that kind of resolve.

If Fordham is one day successful in making it to the FBS, I don’t know what effect that will have on Columbia football. It could help, as some talented players are likely to check out Fordham’s campus and realize Columbia is a much better option in Manhattan. But that’s too much speculation even for me.

In the meantime, we have just 10 days left to wait as Columbia comes closer to completing its marathon 301-day offseason. Getting a game at Fordham, on their Homecoming no less, seems like a funny way to celebrate the end of the wait but there’s no changing this schedule for this season. 


Chick said...

I think the biggest question about the Fordham game for us is not who wins, or the scoring margin or yardage. but whether the Lions come out with determination to compete and to maintain that focus throughout the game. If they do, a loss won't matter. It will be a good step forward.

oldlion said...

It isn't resolve but academic standards. Fordham is able to take kids the Ivies can't touch and give them free rides. It is a quick way to boost the profile of a school which needs a lift.

Coach said...

We clearly should not be playing Fordham, or any other scholarship school-at least until we have some winning seasons.
But let's not look at Fordham like they are Ohio State, for goodness sake. They are a good football team- nothing more. If they play lousy and have turnovers, we can beat them. They are bigger and stronger but not by much. Our kids are in the weight room as much as the Fordham players.
The greatest difference are the skilled players- receivers and running backs. Chase is a good player, but c'mon, he is not going to start for Ohio State or Alabama. Let's not put him in the Hall of Fame yet. No reason we cannot compete with them.

Anonymous said...

They don't need Edmonds to beat Columbia. They have 3-4 solid backs ready to go. I'd be surprised if Edmonds carried more than a handful of times. Most of the Fordham bench will get in the game.

Chick said...

Sorry to hear Josh Martin '13 has been waived by the KC Chiefs, even more sorry that what may be a serious concussion was involved, Martin, lb and soecial teams player, was hurt in the final preseason game.
He cleared waivers which puts him on Chiefs' injured reserve list and they retain rights to him.
Martin was about to start his third season with Chiefs. Let's hope for good recovery and return to active roster when feasible. I think he visited the Lions' preseason training.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, just noticed the FCS rankings. New Hampshire, who is supposed to be among the elite of the FCS was badly pancaked by San Joe State and is ranked 15th. Fordham, who displayed elite play vs Army, is ranked 16th.

I realize rankings are by their nature imperfect but this one is way off. San Jose State is ok. They do get a lot of strong athletes who are academically borderline and that helps their athletic programs overall. That school is local to me so trust me, they have very low academic standards. UNH is a good school. I'm sure they allow their share of academic borderlines as well but not as many. First game or not, long road trip or not, FBS opponent or not UNH should have been embarrassed like that and still be ranked ahead of a Fordham team that showed a lot more in week 1 against a FBS opponent.

Chen1982 said...

Wonder why a top high school player would pick Fordham. Academically, somewhere like a good state school like UNC or Rutgers or Penn State.
Athletically, Why wouldn't you go where they have a much better campus and stadium etc?

took my GMAT in Fordham back in the day and feel lucky to have returned home unscarred.

I just don't get how Fordham attracts its student body?

oldlion said...

I agree with Coach. This year we have a four man front which goes eight deep or more and should permit us to clog the line of scrimmage. And Fordham may not have as good a defense as in the last few years. But Imstill can't wait for this series to be over.

oldlion said...

Memo to alswingman: you are way too negative. This blog is for people who love and support Columbia football.

Chick said...

I'd rather get better and keep the series with the Seven Blocks of Granite only a coupe of miles away.
As for now, I hear you Coach and of course I hope this game works out as a positive for us; I wasn't expecting a disaster, but I"m always nervous after our history. Fans need a positive backdrop just as the program does. Can't help recalling the 69-0 debacle in our final game against Rutgers....or the more rapid deflation than Tom Brady's balls in that Brown game where we won the first half 28-0 but lost the second half 56-0 (or was it 57? Who"s counting?)

DOC said...

Chick - as Columbia fans we can never forget:
November 19, 1994 - In its 1,000th game, Brown sets an NCAA Division 1AA record by scoring 56 second half points as the Bears rally from a 24-3 halftime deficit to defeat Columbia 59-27 in New York City.

Coach said...

Don't forget the 77 points that those bastards from Holy Cross put on us in 1983.