Thursday, October 13, 2011

Take Heart. Or Leave It?

Two extremely close games aside, the Dartmouth series against Sacred Heart doesn't have much juice for a lot of people on this side of the divide. But get used to it if the New Haven's Portal 31 blog has it right. From Portal 31:
"We play Dartmouth again next year, I think there is another two-year contract with them," (Sacred Heart coach Paul) Gorham said. "We are playing Colgate next year and we are looking to pick up others. The Ivy League schedules are so far out, I believe somebody dropped Columbia or Columbia dropped somebody which allowed us to pick them up. I was talking with (Dartmouth) Coach (Buddy) Teevens before the game with Dartmouth. He wants to continue to series. It is not that bad a trip, 2 1/2 hours, 2:45 and it is pretty evenly matched. It is good for both teams, I think."
(It's more like 3 1/2 hours – or four-plus if you drive the way I do ;-)

The Dartmouth game notes for Saturday's game at Holy Cross have been posted here. They include this recap from last year's contest won by Dartmouth, 27-19:
Dartmouth erased a five-point deficit in the fourth quarter by converting two field goals and forcing four turnovers, the third of which was picked off and returned for a touchdown with 48 seconds left. In all, the Green forced six turnovers in the game, four being interceptions by Ryan Taggart. Since that day, however, Taggart has been picked off just twice while attempting more than 300 passes.
Also from the notes:
While Dartmouth’s record since the start of the 2010 season is just 7-7, it’s easy to think about what might have been with four of those seven losses decided in the final 90 seconds, and another in overtime. But to be fair, three of those seven Big Green victories were not decided until the last two-and-a- half minutes as well

From a Holy Cross message board post about Dartmouth football:
Sad to see them scuffling as they have for most of the last 25 odd years.
It may seem as if it has been that long but it has been "only" 14 years since a fabulous run ended for the Big Green. Between 1990 and 1997 Dartmouth went 58-19-3 overall and 43-11-2 in the Ivy League with four championships. Included in that span was a 22-game unbeaten streak.

The Sports Network's Craig Haley has posted his picks for this weekend's games and they look like this:
  • Holy Cross over Dartmouth
  • Brown over Princeton
  • Penn over Columbia
  • Harvard over Bucknell
  • Colgate over Cornell
  • Yale over Lafayette
  • Sacred Heart over St. Francis
Sean Shapiro, Haley's compatriot at TSN, focuses on just a few games and this week Harvard-Bucknell is one of them. Gotta admit I had to look twice before I believed he picked Bucknell to win, 23-21, at Harvard. Maybe he knows something the rest of us don't. Should the Bison win check back here next week to find out how crow tastes.

The latest Gridiron Power Index synthesis of polls and rankings is in and the Ivy League shakes out this way:
21 - Harvard
T34 - Brown
42 - Yale
64 - Cornell
88 - Penn
98 - Dartmouth
104 - Princeton
121 - Columbia

The Dartmouth Club of Central Massachusetts is hosting a tailgate party Saturday beginning at 10:30 on Freshman Field, adjacent to McKeoun Street behind Fitton Field. Dartmouth Friends of Football are invited and should look for the white club tent, which will feature a Dartmouth banner. The forecast, by the way, calls for temperatures in the mid-60s with winds of 15-20 mph and gusts to 30 mph.

A columnist for the Columbia Spectator writes about the current state of the winless Lions . . .
Given how poorly the season is going so far, a loss is a loss no matter by how many points. Why can’t we just shake things up? Maybe the team’ll take on a new scheme well and start, you know, tackling, or whatever, no big deal. The worst thing that could happen by switching schemes is what? The defense still can’t tackle and the Light Blue still loses? Gosh. That sounds a lot like what they’re currently set up to do.

There are a few of us who wonder occasionally if giving this player or that an occasional snap on the side of the ball might be worth trying. Penn coach Al Bagnoli is doing just that with converted running back Matt Hamscher. The Daily Pennsylvanian writes:
But Hamscher doesn’t just play every snap on defense or return kicks and punts. He also uses his running back roots as a weapon on offense.

Though he doesn’t get much practice time with the offense, Hamscher is used in special packages, posing a rushing and receiving threat, as well as acting as a decoy.
Penn, by the way, has lost standout tailback Lyle Marsh for the season with a broken ankle. The DP blog The Buzz has a note.

The plan was for Dartmouth to practice again today on the "true" grass of Blackman Field but given heavy rain overnight and more expected during the day it would be a surprise if they aren't on Memorial Field. Check Green Alert tonight for a look at how practice went.

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