Thursday, August 21, 2014

Greetings From Williamsport

Took in the japan-Mexico LLWS game this afternoon. 

Check It Out

Here's an oldie-but-goodie – the Dartmouth Big Green football wikipedia page. (LINK)

No time for much more as we pull out of the driveway at O-Dark-30 to start the 8-9 hour drive delivering That Certain Nittany Lion back to State College, Pa., one of my favorite towns ;-)
OK, one more quickie. CLICK HERE for a really terrific Q&A with Joe Sclafani from a year ago says a lot about Dartmouth baseball. Thanks to a loyal reader for the link.
The Harvard preview went on on BGA Premium last night. Look for Penn tonight as long as the wireless is working at our campground outside of State College. No, it's not real camping but we are staying in a tent ;-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Freshman Honored

Incoming freshman safety Kyran McKinney-Crudden is among five Northeast Region Nominees for one of the the NFF High School National Scholar-Athlete Awards. There are 36 nominees nationally and one will be chosen from each of the five regions. (LINK)

Harvard, Princeton and Yale are also represented among the nominees.

Find Kyran McKinney-Crudden's Dartmouth bio HERE.

Don't Worry

With Cornell and Yale already in camp and the Big Green not starting preseason until a week from today, isn't Dartmouth at a disadvantage?

Well, no.

The bottom line is that all Ivy League teams are allowed the same number of preseason practices. They simply schedule them differently because the schools have different academic calendars.

Cornell begins classes next Tuesday. Yale next Wednesday. Dartmouth doesn't start classes until Sept. 15.

The Big Green needs fewer days to squeeze in the allotted practices because the delay in starting classes means it can hold double sessions (Sept. 1, Sept. 3, Sept. 5, Sept. 8, Sept. 10). The start of classes means Yale can't hold doubles, and therefore the Bulldogs therefore need more days to get in the full allotment of practices.

Got it?
Critics of the Big Green's non-conference schedule might disagree but the New Haven Register's Portal 31 blog (LINK) has a short look at Dartmouth that includes this thought:
It’s also worth noting, the Big Green have a challenging non-conference schedule with Central (Connecticut State), New Hampshire and Holy Cross.
Jake Novak over at the Roar Lions blog has posted a link to a study by the Mode blog of where every Division I football player in the country comes from, and where players from each school call home. You can sort by school and/or position among others. It's a great time waster. (LINK)

Not surprisingly, the Ivy League has five of the 10 teams that are most geographically diverse. Here's the top 10:

1. Princeton
2. Harvard
3. Dartmouth
4. Army
5. Notre Dame
6. Navy
6. Georgetown
8 Holy Cross
9. Columbia
10. Yale

And here's a map I pulled up clicking through to Dartmouth hometowns. (You can even filter it down by position if you go back to the original link.)

Click to enlarge..
Week Two opponent New Hampshire has a fun video from its media day. Check it out:

The Wildcats hold their end-of-camp Blue-White game tomorrow.
It's starting. From the Baltimore Sun (LINK):
With a new program announced Tuesday by Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson, athletes in all of the school’s sports will be able to return with their scholarships intact as long as they left the university in good academic and social standing.
Another component of the “The Maryland Way Guarantee” will allow athletes who are unable to continue their college careers because of injury to remain on scholarship, as can those who left teams because of family emergencies or for other reasons.
The program, which will go into effect in November, makes Maryland among the first Division I schools in the country to give what Anderson called a “lifetime” scholarship to its athletes.
Former jayvee quarterback Ed Lucas and Kyle Hendricks are already in the big leagues. Former Dartmouth shortstop Joe Sclafani is closing in on it. He's batting .329 in 51 games with the Houston Astros Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City. Always a hitter, he's batting .291 overall in 268 minor league games. Find his stats HERE.

For a story about Sclafani's value as a utility player, click HERE.
The Cornell 2014 preview was posted on BGA Premium last evening. Harvard will go up tonight and Penn tomorrow.

Two things. First, the email alerts will be coming, promise. There are people still sending along addresses and I'm trying to get that whole list pulled together.

Second, thanks again to those graduates from the Class of 2014 (and their parents, who recognize a good graduation gift when I tell them about one ;-) who have signed up for this fall. It's a great way to keep up on how former teammates and friends are doing and get a daily look at what's happening in the program. (End commercial announcement ;-)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More Scheduling

The scheduling conversation continues. From an alum who covered football for The Dartmouth:
For the people advocating for the Ivies to schedule lower-tier FBS teams and academies, they should bear in mind that there will be minimal motivation for those schools to schedule Ivies. Unless I'm mistaken, only one win over an FCS team can count toward the six that FBS schools need to qualify for a bowl, and the FCS team in question needs to offer scholarships in order to count. I think the Army-Yale deal is a one- or two-time thing, and at least partly a reflection of Army's dim bowl hopes. Army actually has a second FCS team scheduled (Fordham). 
For what it's worth, and I don't know if this is still accurate and applicable, here's the rule:
One win over a FCS team can count toward the win total each year provided the FCS team has supplied financial aid for football averaging out to at least 56.7 full scholarships (90% of the limit of 63 allowed to FCS schools) over "a rolling two-year period" that can include the current season.
I seem to recall there was some kind of Ivy League exception, but I can't find anything to back that up so maybe I invented it ;-)
After playing New Hampshire every year from 2000-2009, Dartmouth football has taken a five-year sabbatical from the Granite State series to get the program healthy again.

The Big Green is finally back on track but guess what? Not only has Dartmouth improved, but so has New Hampshire, which Dartmouth will play in Week 2. Last year the Wildcats made it to the national semifinals and this year they could be even better, given that many of the key pieces from last year's run are back in the fold.

To listen to The Sports Network, the UNH team that shows up on the Big Green schedule Sept. 27 is loaded. TSN (LINK) picks the Wildcats to win the über-tough CAA, writing:
The Wildcats expect an even better regular season this year with all of their veterans. (Sean) Goldrich has finally pulled away from (Andy) Vailas in the quarterback competition, and he can get the ball to a 1,000-yard rusher (Nico Steriti) and 1,000-yard receiver (the All-American RJ Harris). A veteran offensive line will keep the offense moving as well. A much-improved defense was a difference maker last season, and it returns six of its top seven tacklers, led by LBs (Akil) Anderson and (Shane) McNeeley. One of the bigger losses is PK MacArthur, a four-year starter. Still, it's a loaded team that enters the season as the CAA favorite (Villanova and Towson aren't on the conference schedule) and No. 4 in the preseason poll.
Worth noting: Credit much of the improvement in the UNH defense to Defensive Coordinator John Lyons, the former Dartmouth head coach who helped the NFL Europe's Cologne Centurions twice lead the league in total defense in his three seasons in Germany following his stint in Hanover.
When former Dartmouth assistant Tom Gilmore had Holy Cross going a few years ago, a big part of the Crusaders' success was the result of having a dual-threat quarterback by the name of Dominic Randolph. Well, the head coach of the Big Green's final non-conference opponent has finally found the heir apparent.

As a freshman last year, Peter Pujals led the struggling Crusaders to a 31-28 win over Dartmouth on his way to Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors. Pujals is back for his sophomore season and the Big Green will get another shot at him on Homecoming, Oct. 18. Here's a Patriot League video report about the dynamic quarterback:

Dartmouth alum Kyle Hendricks '12, did it again. The Chicago Cubs right-hander raised his record to 5-1 yesterday as he tossed seven inning of three-hit ball and gave up just one earned run in a 4-1 win over the Mets. (LINK) Since surrendering three earned runs in his first big league inning, Hendricks has a 1.13 ERA in the ensuing 47.2 frames. On the season his ERA is a stirling 1.66.

The Dartmouth has a story about Hendricks (LINK) with comments from Dartmouth coach Bob Whalen and several of Hendricks' former teammates.

Former jayvee quarterback Ed Lucas '04, who gave up football to concentrate on baseball at Dartmouth and went on to win Ivy League player of the year honors, is batting .236 in 53 games with the Miami Marlins.
That Certain '14 reported to a local high school this morning to begin her fall as a student-teacher overseeing classes in geology and environmental science. That Certain Nittany Lion, meanwhile, has finished his summer working at Hanover Country Club and hit the links early this morning in a bid to get his handicap down to 3-point-something before we cart him out to State College later this week. He'll need a couple of really good rounds to do it.
Tonight on BGA Premium – A look a Cornell.

If you haven't signed up or renewed for 2014, all the information you need to stay up to speed on all things Ivy League football can be found as THIS LINK.

I'm still working up the "alerts" list, so it might be another week before they start coming regularly to your in box. But don't worry, they'll be coming ;-)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Another Scheduling View

Here's another take on future Ivy League scheduling from someone whose opinions I respect. A former player who continues to follow Dartmouth and the Ivies closely, he thinks the "problem," is overstated. His lightly edited email:
I totally agree that the financial aid and limited number of Ivy spots post-elimination of freshman football have changed everything. Even with scholarships the Ivy League is recruiting better athletes than the Holy Crosses and Sacred Hearts of the world. This is happening real time. The top 5 Ivy teams are much much more competitive than even 5 years ago. We should still schedule the new scholarship schools and frankly we should put an academy or lower tier D1 (non-FCS team) on there every other year. It would help recruiting, and we can compete at that level."
Dave Rackovan, a key member of the staff that helped Dartmouth to a 10-0 record in 1996, is gearing up for his first year as head coach at The Hill School in Pennsylvania. (LINK) Rack coached in the Ivy League for 23 years. He was at Dartmouth from 1992-99 and then moved on to Princeton when Big Green offensive coordinator Roger Hughes took over the Tiger reins.

The Hill School headmaster is former Dartmouth lineman Zach Lehman '95. (LINK)
Opponent previews began on BGA Premium yesterday with a detailed look at a Brown team that graduated a ton of players but has a surprising amount of talent returning. Tonight BGA Premium will weigh in on Columbia. Previews will run seven days a week until daily coverage begins of the Dartmouth preseason.

If you have renewed your BGA subscription, you are good to go. The email "alert" list is still being compiled and vetted so it will take a few days for that to kick in. If you signed up for the "alert" option and haven't given me the address you want the alerts sent to, now is the time ;-)

Brown preview page

And finally, with football around the corner and a trip to State College to bring That Certain Nittany Lion back to school this weekend, I've been getting done what I can around our 9-Acre Woods here on the shoulder of Moose Mountain. Yesterday included a little weeding that proved to be more adventurous than planned.

The first bee sting on my leg was an unpleasant surprise. After 20 minutes of so of holding ice cubes on what was a surprisingly painful sting, I figured the bee that got me had given his life for the cause and I was good to go. Mistake. Turns out that first bee was part of an underground hive I hadn't noticed that got pretty riled up when I came back the second time. I *think* it was just two stings on the other leg this time, but it might have been more. Both legs are surprisingly sore even this morning. I feel like I got hit on each one with a hammer. I'm not sure what kind of bees they were, but I am sure of one thing. I won't be weeding in their neighborhood anymore.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Scheduling Thoughts

As promised, here are thoughts from three different constituencies regarding the Ivy League football scheduling situation in light of the Patriot League adding football scholarships. (These have been lightly edited.)

From a player parent:
My question is really what does it matter? Scholarships are great but in reality are the Ivies somewhat like that way with financial aid, etc.?. I think developing “local” rivalries makes sense. Dartmouth versus UNH, etc. Look at high school. Big schools play little schools and the results vary. I liken that to scholarship vs. non-scholarship. We are not talking about scheduling Penn State for goodness sake.
What really bothers me is no 11th game and no FCS playoffs. That is absolutely ridiculous and terrible. Maybe, just maybe, I get the no playoffs because of exams, but there is no reason not to start the season one week earlier. What Dartmouth softball did was awesome. Why shouldn’t football get a chance to play the Arizona equivalent, say Eastern Washington in a first round game? Yale hockey must have played 6 playoff games few years back, Harvard beat Cincinnati in basketball. Ivy League football with its great coaches and teams would shine brightly on the playoff stage.

From a player from the '60s:
It seems to me that expansion is the only route that makes sense. The Ivy League started as a football league and in my opinion, it is time to increase the size of the Ivy Football League. There are currently 8 teams, ergo 7 league games.  If you invite 2 schools to join you would have 9 league games and leave room for one non-league game (or add 3 teams and go to an 11-game schedule). 
Back to expansion, the obvious candidates are Colgate, Bucknell, and Lafayette (if the schedule is expanded to 11 games to make possible Lehigh-Lafayette).  Holy Cross and Georgetown also deserve consideration, but the religious affiliation and the latter’s basketball situation are problematic. 
 My recommendation is to invite Colgate and Bucknell. Even if their athletic people are not on board, I doubt if their administrations could resist an invitation to join “the Ivy League.”  n fact, I think that the same would be true in Easton, Pa., if the schedule was expanded to 11 games to preserve Lehigh-Lafayette.
I am ambivalent about the playoffs even though it makes no sense for Ivy teams not to participate. The only caveat is that this is based on the assumption that not participating is becoming a serious recruiting drawback. 
From a Dartmouth fan:
It is unfair to have a team playing their first game versus an opponent that is on game four. The discrimination that the Ivy Presidents have administered on football for 6 decades is well documented. My suggestion is to start the season earlier and have a mid-season off week for the entire league as the (Division III) Centennial Conference does. This allows the players to have a long weekend off to heal the bumps and bruises off the season and time to catch up on academics. 
Do you hear me Presidents? Academics. 
I would also consider opening with an Ivy League game so the teams are on equal preparation. Games with the Patriot League must continue. Dartmouth games with Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut are meaningless to me and many others. Lastly New Hampshire should be on the schedule at least once every four years, and Holy Cross every year.
Lastly since they are great academic institutions why not Army, Navy and Air Force on occasion, like this years Army-Yale game?
Green Alert Take: Some interesting ideas, to be sure. Regarding inviting other schools into the Ivy League, the eight Ivies have a unique brand and I seriously doubt they would be willing to invite anyone else into their ultra-exclusive club, thereby watering down the "brand." Would they bring them in as "associate" members? Perhaps, but I'm not sure the chosen two (or three) would agree to anything less than full membership. Interesting idea, though.

Regarding opening against a conference opponent, on the surface that makes sense. It's why the Ivy League did just that for many years. But here's something to consider. Since official conference play began in 1956 only two times has a team with two Ivy League losses won a share of the title. Should you open against a league foe and lose your first game of the year (and half the teams would if they are conference games) your back would be against the wall one week into the season. You've lifted weights all winter, gone through rigorous conditioning and spring ball and trained all summer and after one solitary Saturday you are staring at elimination. Frankly, I think after nine months of hard work the players deserve to enjoy the excitement of finally playing a couple of games before half of them see their title hopes put on life support.

Green Alert Take II: Would opening against a league opponent actually help the out-of-league results? Joe Yukica was Dartmouth's coach from 1978-86, winning three Ivy League titles. The Big Green opened against either Penn or Princeton every year of his tenure before playing the next two or three games out-of-league. Yukica's Ivy League record, even after finishing with three down years, was a healthy 36-24-3. His non-league record was a sickly 0-23-1. Granted, Dartmouth played New Hampshire, a scholarship Holy Cross team on an historic run, Army and Navy during those years, but 0-23-1 is 0-23-1. (The tie, by the way, was against UNH.)
Princeton has announced that the finale against Dartmouth will be broadcast on ESPN3. That's great if your cable or satellite provider entitles you to pick up the online station. Ours doesn't. ESPN tells those of us whose provider is too cheap to provide ESPN3 access to change providers. No can do, ESPN. We only have one option here. When you tell ESPN that they suggest pressuring your provider to offer access. Well hello. Our provider knows we don't have any other option so who do you think is holding the hammer?
Local high school coaching legend Mike Stone, who stepped down after 28 years as head coach at Hartford (Vt.) High School, has been added to the staff at Norwich University. Stoney guided the Hurricanes to 10 state titles and 13 trips to the championship game and once ran up a 27-game winning streak. One of the good guys, he coached Joey McIntyre, Dartmouth's director of football operations, as a high schooler.
The great Thomas Magnum used to say it all the time. "I know what you are thinking." Well, I know what you are going to be thinking when you read what's coming next. "The guy is nuts." Well, I'm not.

It snowed here between 9 and 10 last night. That's right. I said it.

Teeny, tiny fast-moving flakes, but snow. For about 20 minutes or so. When it was 55-degrees out.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking.

I first saw it when I brought Griff the Wonder Pup out for his night-time constitutional. I literally rubbed my eyes, looked again, decided I was crazy and went back inside. Five minutes later I went out again and saw the same thing. I went out one more time with a dark piece of cardboard for the flakes to land on. Unfortunately, they melted on contact. I tried taking a picture, but that idea was as stupid as it sounds.

Pretty sure I was nuts, I went inside and woke up That Certain Nittany Lion and dragged him outside. Yup, he said, it's snowing, and then he went back to sleep.

This morning I asked him whether I made it all up. No, he said, it was snow.

I Googled around and found out that, in fact, it can snow when the temperature is in the 50s. Usually at altitude. And no, it wasn't hail.

I know what you are thinking . . . and I don't blame you.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Two Good Videos For Your Saturday Morning

More from Dartmouth's Football 101. The little feller with the lightest blonde hair you'll ever see who gives a cheer for Dartmouth at the start and then shows up a little later on is Eugene Teevens V:

Dartmouth Coach Buddy Teevens and Defensive Coordinator Don Dobes both say the Big Green has improved its tackling since going away from full-contact practices, and the numbers they've compiled support that idea.

The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks, arguably the best-tackling team in the NFL, also have gotten away from old-school tackling practice. They've adopted a style of tackling borrowed from rugby that allows them to work on it in T-shirts and shorts. Seattle Coach Pete Carroll explains what the Seahawks are doing and shows how they did it in this instructional video:

Because the Ivy League doesn't allow grad students to compete in athletics, Dartmouth has had athletes who missed a season go on to compete at Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Villanova, Virginia and other big-time athletic schools after their eligibility in Hanover had run out. I recall a number of runners, skiers, soccer and lacrosse players who have gone on, but I can't remember a Big Green football player continuing his college career after graduation.

Jake Novak, who blogs about Columbia football, has confirmed that defensive end Seyi Adebayo, who missed most of the last two seasons with injuries, will be suiting up for Boston College this fall.

Adebayo is not the only Columbia grad continuing his athletic career as a grad student. Van Green, a guard on the Columbia basketball team, will finish up his playing career at Rice. (LINK)
Some interesting comments on yesterday's post about non-conference Ivy League football scheduling have filtered in. I'll be posting a few excerpts tomorrow (anonymously, of course ;-) If you have anything you'd like to add to the conversation, drop me a note.