Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Charting The Way

Each year BGA Daily has posted charts featuring the Dartmouth offense, defense and special teams for the coming season. Given that it has gotten a little trickier with the COVID "Super Senior" variable this year's charts are based entirely on the roster on the team website. Corrections are encouraged.

Today: The Offense. Defense will be posted tomorrow and Special Teams on Thursday.

(Click on chart to enlarge.)

Celebrating the anniversary of its annual Athlete of the Year Award, the (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) Gazette had a STORY last week fashioned around its first male winner, Todd Twachtmann '87, a four-sport standout in high school (baseball, basketball, football and golf).

Twachtmann arrived at Dartmouth after a heralded high school career that saw him run for 1,192 and 1,521 yards his final two seasons and twice be selected to the Iowa all-state first team.

The 2010 inductee into the Iowa prep Football Hall of Fame would go on to be the leading rusher on Dartmouth's 1983 freshman football team with 165 yards and a 5.3-yard average. He also  finished third in receiving with nine catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

But after one season of football he turned his attention to baseball, where he enjoyed a terrific career.

As a Big Green senior the catcher nicknamed "T-Square" batted .416 while serving a solo captain of a team that not only won the Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League title with a 14-2 record but advanced to the NCAA Northeast Regional and defeated Michigan, 4-0, in its tournament opener.

Twachtmann – the rare Big Green athlete to become a father while still in school when his wife delivered twin girls after his sophomore year – won Dartmouth's Kenneth Archibald Prize for the best all around athlete with regard to moral worth and high standing in scholarship and graduated with two engineering degrees before earning his MBA from the University of Iowa.

Even with all that on his plate, he went on to play on six Amateur Softball Association national championship teams and represent the United States in the Pan American Games.

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HERO Sports has a piece about what it considers the top 25 FCS running backs and like the NCAA piece last week (LINK) it has Sacred Heart's Malik Grant at No. 5. (LINK)

Green Alert Take: Reading down the HERO piece I half wondered if Dartmouth's Nick Howard would get a mention. Given that he was nominally a quarterback last year I didn't really expect to see his name there – but he deserves to be included.

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I might have missed this and you may have as well but former Dartmouth coach Callie Brownson has added assistant wide receivers coach to her duties as the Cleveland Browns' chief of staff. From a story about Brownson, who has made no secret of her interest in on-field coaching (LINK):

When (head coach Kevin) Stefanski met with Brownson and told her she'd be receiving an assistant role under O'Shea, Brownson couldn't hide her excitement. 

"Inside, I was like, 'Yes,'" she said. 

Brownson is the head coach of the U.S. Women's Tackle National Team playing in the World Championships later this month. She played for the '13 and '17 gold-medal winners.

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EXTRA POINT
We're back from our couple of days at our good friends' lake house where Griff the Wonder Dog feels 100 percent at home. Seeing him hop out of the car and run right to the front door of the house on his own reminded me of a story a loyal Dartmouth fan once told me.

An alum from the late '50s, he lived most of the year in Florida but would come back to the Upper Valley each year for for nine or 10 weeks, depending entirely on whether Dartmouth's final game was home or away. If it was here, he'd be here for 10 weeks. If the game was at Princeton, he'd pack up and spend the night down there before driving home to Florida.

That's right. The fellow arranged his life around Dartmouth football games, returning each year to the same extended stay motel. He told me once that when he'd pull into the motel parking lot after the long drive from Florida his golden retriever would run right to the building's main entrance, and once inside it would run down the hall and wait for him in front of the door to the exact room he stayed in each year.

Monday, July 04, 2022

Red, White and Blue

We are heading back to town for our local Fourth of July parade today and enjoyed this one yesterday. Have a safe and happy holiday with friends and family!

Sunday, July 03, 2022

Campione!

Recognize that guy holding the championship trophy? That's Dartmouth grad Jared Gerbino '20 after he helped the Firenze (Florence) Guelfi to a 21-17 win over the Milano Seamen in the Italian Football League’s (IFL) national championship game yesterday at Stadio Dall’ara in Bologna.

A computer-generated translation of the game story said of Gerbino that he "literally drags his opponents running into the endzone," on the 19-yard touchdown reception that put Firenze Guelfi ahead for good in the championship game.

Gerbino, who played tight end and running back in addition to sharing quarterback duties under coach Art Briles, was interviewed in the run-up to the Italian "Super Bowl" here:

 

He finished the regular season running for 727 yards and 13 TDs  in eight games, third in the IFL, and had 472 receiving yards with seven touchdowns, also third in the league.

He helped his team advance to the championship game by running for  90 yards and a touchdown in a semifinal victory over the defending champion Parma Panthers and is featured prominently here in his No. 1 jersey:


Here's Gerbino at quarterback looking for the signal in yesterday's championship game:


And here he is afterward with former Dartmouth teammate Ross Andreasik '20:



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EXTRA POINT
While friends who have a lake house are away on their annual week-long vacation with family they generously invited us to spend the holiday weekend on the lake. We packed up everything we thought we would need yesterday and headed 23 miles up to their beautiful lakeside home.

Did I say we packed up everything we thought we would need? We forgot one important thing: Scrabble. Sorry, but it's just not a vacation weekend for us without the legendary word game.

Given that this is a lake house, we figured they had to have Scrabble. We thought we'd looked absolutely everywhere and had come up empty until I opened up the beautiful old wooden trunk they used for a coffee table. Lo and behold, Scrabble!

And as an extra bonus, Boggle, our second-favorite word game.

Saturday, July 02, 2022

Take A Look

The fellow from Australia who runs the Wide World of Stadiums YouTube site has posted another of his  somewhat interesting (?) football stadium videos, this time featuring the Northeast Conference.

At the 2:41 mark you can see a little bit of Sacred Heart's 3,500-seat Campus Field, where Dartmouth will play the homestanding Pioneers on Sept. 24. 

      

Central Connecticut's Arute Field, where Dartmouth played in 2015 and is slated to play again in 2027, is also in the video.

In case you were looking the other way when I posted it earlier, the Aussie fellow with a strange sense of humor took a look at Ivy League stadiums HERE.

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Draft Scout has a list of its 75 Top Small School Prospects in the rising senior class HERE and it includes two Ivy Leaguers. Both are from Princeton.

Coming in at No. 10 is 6-foot-2, 200-pound wide receiver/decathlete Andrei Iosivas, a member of the All-Ivy League second team last fall. Uche Ndukwe, a 6-3, 270 defensive end who checks in at No. 51, another member of the 2021 all-Ivy second team.

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Several weeks ago this space posted the 247Sports ranking of all-time Dartmouth recruits HERE. Those of you who have been regular visitors know we here at BGA (that would be Griff the Wonder Dog and me) don't put much stock in recruiting rankings at the FCS level. In fact, we don't put any stock in them. 

A visit to the all-time ranking for not just Dartmouth but every Ivy League school reinforces the doubts we have about the rankings.

Here are the top-rated recruits all-time (or at least since 247Sports started) for each Ivy League school with the composite ranking, year of high school graduation, high school and town:

Brown
Corner Joshua Morris .8199
2013 LaSalle Academy (Providence, R.I.)

Columbia
Wide receiver Marcus Libman .8299
2020 Pinnacle (Phoenix, Ariz.)

Cornell
Quarterback Harley Kirsch .8221
2016 Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.)

Dartmouth
Tight end Jordan Kirkbride  .8480
2019 Bishop Hartley (Columbus, Ohio)

Harvard
Athlete Cooper Barkate .8889
2022 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Penn
Center Travis Spreen .8577
2018 Jesuit (Portland, Ore.)

Princeton
Quarterback Brevin White, .8946
2018 Paraclete (Lancaster, Calif.)

Yale
Offensive lineman Jon Bezney .8649
2014 Mariemont (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Green Alert Take: Not much in the way of household names there, huh? Morris spent one year on the Brown roster. Libman led Columbia in receiving last fall. Kirsch was the No. 3 quarterback at Cornell as a sophomore but then disappeared from the roster. Kirkbride did not end up enrolling at Dartmouth. The jury is out on Harvard's Barkate, who will be a freshman this fall. Spreen was a spot starter at Penn, appearing in 18 games. White, who can be a fifth-year senior this fall, has yet to play at Princeton despite being 247Sports' highest-rated recruit ever. Bezney had the biggest impact on this list, earning first-team All-Ivy League recognition.

Green Alert Take II: Can I ask a favor of those of you who insist on using rankings like these to compare recruiting classes? Please stop.

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Huge thanks to those who signed up for BGA Premium when the new cycle started yesterday. As noted here before, because the process is not automated and the membership program I use is a little primitive (read: inexpensive) I have to jump through a series of hoops for each subscriber. It can be a bit of a thrash, so having a head start getting people up and going is helpful. 

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EXTRA POINT
With the temperature in the mid-80s yesterday I played a little hooky from the computer and headed to a pretty little lake a bit north of here with Mrs. BGA.

Vermont has mountains but they will never be confused with those in Colorado. Unlike California, it doesn't have a dramatic seacoast (even if Burlington is sometimes referred to as the west coast of New England). And it certainly doesn't have a skyline like New York City.

Still, there's something incredibly beautiful and peaceful about the Green Mountain state as this screengrab showing the little lake where we spent the afternoon shows:

Friday, July 01, 2022

Friday Fun

Happy Canada Day to our friends from The True North. To get in the spirit, click here and listen to what has to be one of the most beautiful – and eminently singable – national anthems in the world.

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I’m not sure how I missed this when it was first posted but here’s a 4 1/2 minute look at Memorial Field. To be honest, it gets a little old after about the first 90 seconds but it’s worth a look:

 

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The Dartmouth football office has posted the highlight package from the Big Green's win over Princeton at Yankee Stadium in 2019 on its social media:

You can watch the entire Dartmouth-Princeton game from Yankee Stadium HERE until ESPN or YouTube catch on and force the video to be taken down. (Mac people who want to save the game to their computers before that happens can download  using the free Clipgrab app or some other software.)

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Something called Big Blue View has few paragraphs HERE under the headline, Niko Lalos competing to stick with Giants for third season; Lalos faces a lot of competition in that effort but offers nothing new regarding the former Dartmouth linebacker.

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Signup for the 2022 cycle of BGA Premium begins today. A few reminders:

• If you are a returning subscriber your password will remain the same. If you forgot it, there's an itty bitty link that says "Forgot?" under the padlock icon on the Member Login page. Click that and you'll be prompted to reset your password.

• For new subscribers there is a link on the signup page that you need to click to send me an email notification. The first time I'm online after receiving that email I will send you the link you need in order to complete your membership. Usually that's within an hour or so, but it will be longer if I'm away from my computer. In any case, it will be the same day. (It would be a lot easier if the entire process was automated but that's never been remotely in the BGA budget.)

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EXTRA POINT
Trading emails with the father of a player the other day I asked what the player was doing for the summer. A lot of the time that means internships on Wall Street or in commercial real estate in Chicago or the like. This player is battling 95-degree heat doing work that is a lot less glamorous. I have a lot of respect for that and can relate.

Between college and grad school I worked for Bekins Moving and Storage. While I spent a lot of time battling hide-a-beds, triple dressers, armoires and upright pianos with the likes of Coot, Collie and a cross-eyed driver named George, one of my most vivid memories has nothing to do with carrying furniture. It is from a 90-plus degree day when instead of humping ridiculously heavy dish barrels on my back I was on a crew packing box after box after box with the shipper's "junk."

As one of the "college boys," I usually got stuck packing up basement tool benches and dirty garages and the like. On this day, I was dispatched to an unventilated attic. I don't remember how many hours I was up there but I do remember it was absolutely brutal, so hot that even having stripped off my green Bekins T-shirt I was soaking wet within minutes.

When we called it a day around 4 p.m. I grabbed my "tape gun," knife and marker, but when I looked around for my shirt it was nowhere to be seen. I can't say for sure but guess I'd packed up 25 or 30 "medium" and "large" boxes and realized, to my horror, my shirt was inside one of them.

I wasn't about to slice open all those boxes searching for my shirt so I had no choice but to get creative. I took two large sheets of the white newsprint we used to wrap up breakables, taped them loosely together on the sides, cut out an opening for my head and drew the Bekins logo on the front. I remember sheepishly coming down from the attic wearing my paper shirt and telling the shippers they would find my shirt in one of their boxes down in Florida or out in California or wherever they were going.

So no, I didn't do a fancy internship that summer, but I'm going to guess I've got better stories than the guys who did. Like sitting on the left of the driver one time when we had five guys in the cab of a truck. Or the time we were in a donut shop and saw our 18-wheeler roll backwards out of a parking lot and across an intersection before slowing to a stop, fortunately without hitting anything or anyone. Or the time I was in the passenger seat when a driver who came to be nicknamed "Crash" totaled our truck at a toll booth on the way to Florida. Or how we tried to clean up when the baron and baroness whose furniture we just finished unloading invited us to stay and have dinner with them in their mansion. That after three days on the road without a shower. Oh the stories I could tell . . .

Thursday, June 30, 2022

ConGRADulations


The University of Virginia athletics website has a story about Jacob Flores that includes this explanation of his move by the grad transfer offensive lineman from Texas (LINK):

“I could have taken a fifth year at Dartmouth, which was a high possibility for me, because we did have a very good team (coming back). But I just decided that we had a good senior year, and the ultimate goal is to make it to the NFL, and I think playing FBS and playing at a Power Five school will give me better film.”

And this:

Flores is already strong enough to thrive in FBS, (Virginia offensive line coach Garett ) Tujague said. “I think first and foremost the biggest thing he’s going to have to overcome is the speed of the game. The size part is not so much an issue as the speed. But just watching him run and do change of direction, he’ll be fine by the time we get out of fall camp. I think for him the most important thing is to know the playbook inside and out. He’s gone through four years of a word meaning this, and we may have the same word and it means something totally different. So re-training his lingo to our system is important.” 

How hard did Virginia recruit the second-team All-Ivy League lineman with two years of FBS eligibility remaining? The story notes that  in addition to Tujague, UVa head coach Tony Elliott and offensive coordinator Des Kitchings all flew up from Charlottesville to court Flores over dinner at Molly’s restaurant, a Hanover staple.

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Flores, of course, is just one of the Dartmouth players from the 2021 Ivy League championship team continuing his career at the FBS level. Corner Isaiah Johnson will play at Syracuse, offensive lineman Jake Guidone at Connecticut, linebacker Jalen Mackie at UMass, tight end Robbie Mangas at Buffalo, tight end JJ Jones at New Mexico State and quarterback Derek Kyler at Pitt.

Green Alert Take: There are a lot of FCS fans who look down on the Ivy League because it doesn't compete in the NCAA playoffs. Having seven players from last year's team going on to the FBS really should open their eyes just a little bit.

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Per the NCAA, Dartmouth this fall will be facing one of The top 5 returning FCS running backs in 2022. That would be Sacred Heart's Malik Grant. From the NCAA story (LINK):

Sacred Heart's Malik Grant entered 2021 in a backup role to one of the FCS's premier running backs and Walter Payton Award finalist, Julius Chestnut. Then Chestnut got hurt in the first game of the season, thrusting Grant into a starting role.

There wasn't a drop-off in the slightest. Grant finished the season with 1,347 rushing yards, the fourth-most in the nation, and finished 20th in Walter Payton Award voting. Grant helped lead Sacred Heart to back-to-back NEC championships.

Grant now enters 2022 in a lead-back role, with a full offseason as a starter. He should build off his breakout season. 

The 5-foot-9, 200-pound Grant carried 24 times for 92 yards and a 3.8-yard average in Sacred Heart's 41-3 loss in Hanover last fall. 

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Signup for Big Green Alert begins officially tomorrow. As has been the case since BGA went online prior to the start of the 2005 season, every full practice as well as every game is covered in person. There will be at least one story posted each night – seven nights a week – from the start of the opponent preview series prior to the start of camp through the finale against Brown on Nov. 19.

For more information or to sign up, visit BGA Premium here.

While you're here, I've made BGA's "oral history" of last year's Ivy League championship-clinching win over Brown that was posted on the night of the game available to everyone. To revisit that game or read about it for the first time, click HERE.

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EXTRA POINT
Late last summer I was parked at our local lake working in our '84 VW Westfalia camper, AKA the BGA Mobile Headquarters, when a couple walking past me stopped and pointed into a towering pine near the water's edge. It turned out there were two bald eagles perched in the top of the tree.

I quickly dug into my computer backpack to pull out my binoculars and camera. Argh! I'd left them home.

Several days ago I returned to the little lake, just about two miles as the crow (or bald eagle) flies. Alas, no bald eagles.

Sitting here in our Vermont hillside home Tuesday morning working on BGA Daily I glanced out the window, typed a few more words and it suddenly hit me what I just saw. It was a bald eagle riding a thermal no more than 25 yards outside my window.

I immediately started frantically looking for my camera. It doesn't have much of a zoom lens, but it's certainly better than my iPod for getting a picture at a distance. While the thermal gently carried the eagle up and slightly away from me I searched all around the BGA home office for my camera, to no avail.

The eagle had drifted off a good distance by the time I finally gave up and shot the picture below with the iPod.

A minute later, with the eagle just a dot in the sky something came to me, and the irony is rich.

Where was the camera? In my computer bag where I'd put it to make sure it was available if the eagles were at the lake when I was working there last week.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

TV Ad Nauseam

Following up on yesterday's posting about this year's TV games, here's more than you ever wanted to know about Dartmouth's football history on the tube worked up from the program's own Dartmouth Football on Television page HERE. (For the record, while that page includes a few somewhat dubious stations, it does not include ESPN+ contests.)

Dartmouth's first televised game: Holy Cross 28, Dartmouth 6 on Sept. 26, 1953 from Lynn, Mass.
Dartmouth's all-time TV record: 47-62-1

Longest TV Wins Streak:
    5 – Oct. 22, 1955-Nov. 13, 1965
    5 – Sept. 23, 1995-Oct. 4, 1997
    5 – Oct. 4, 2019-Oct. 16, 2021

Longest TV Losing Streak:
    12 – Sept. 20, 2008-Oct. 29, 2011

Number of Televised Games Against
Harvard – 21
Penn – 15
Yale – 14
Cornell – 10
New Hampshire  – 10
Columbia – 8
Brown – 8
Princeton – 8
Holy Cross – 5
Lehigh – 4
Colgate – 3
Fordham – 1
Lafayette  – 1
Massachusetts – 1
Navy – 1

Records Against Opponents On TV
Fordham – 1-0
Lafayette  – 1-0
Massachusetts – 1-0
Cornell – 8-2
Brown – 5-3
Holy Cross – 3-2
Columbia – 4-4
Princeton – 4-4
Yale – 6-8
Harvard – 7-13-1
Penn – 4-11
New Hampshire – 2-8
Lehigh  – 1-3
Navy – 0-1
Colgate – 0-3

Most Frequent Broadcast Locations
Hanover – 58 games
Cambridge – 11 games
Philadelphia – 7 games
New Haven – 6 games
New York City – 5 games

Games By TV Outlet
ABC-9 (Manchester, N.H.) – 22
ABC – 12
NESN – 9
ESPNU – 7
Fox College – 7
NBC Sports – 7
ESPN – 5
PBS – 5
Charter TV3 (Worcester, Mass.) – 3
NBC – 3
One World – 3
Versus – 3
WFMZ-69 – 3
YES – 3
CBS – 2
NBC Regional – 2
SportsChannel – 2
Time-Warner – 2
American Sports Network – 1
CN-8 (Philadelphia) – 1
Comcast (Philadelphia) – 1
CSNNE – 1
Eleven Sports – 1
Freedom Network – 1
NBC Sports Regional – 1
SNY – 1
WLIG-55 – 1

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EXTRA POINT
I got home from my hike this morning only to hear a periodic chirping sound coming from upstairs. I had a hunch what it was and I wasn't happy about it.

As I suspected, it was a smoke detector and, lucky me, it happened to be the one in the home office of the BGA World Headquarters.

And why wasn't I happy about it? Because the last time we had a smoke detector alerting us that its battery needed to be replaced it was the middle of the night and the Rubik's Cube engineering of the thing left us scrambling for a long time looking for the instructions on how to open it up and get at the battery. In the end we had to watch a YouTube video to figure the thing out.

This time I actually recalled having seen the smoke detector manual in a junk drawer in the past week or so while I was looking for something else. Off I went, rifling through the drawer and then a pile of manuals for the dishwasher, robot vacuum, garage door opener, oven, air exchanger and more before, eureka! I found it!

Alas, it was in several different languages and none of them were English. The previous owners had left the manual for us but not the only one that mattered.

And so it was back to YouTube trying to find a video offering tips on replacing the battery in our model. I eventually found one that was close enough and managed to access the battery compartment. Fortunately, I had fresh batteries – but even when I finally got them in, it wouldn't stop chirping. 

Figuring it couldn't hurt, I hit the "test" button.

Well, it did hurt.

My ears.

All of a sudden, from all around the house I heard a piercing scream and a robotic voice shouting, "Evacuate. Evacuate." (I can promise you the piercing sound would do it for me. I don't need the suggestion to leave the house.) I found myself half wondering if passers by were going to run up to the front door and break it down or the fire department was going to roar up our driveway. 

Try as I might, I couldn't get the detector to shut up. Back to YouTube and then the web I went, and that proved fruitless. I finally decided to push the test button again, wondering if maybe I needed to hold it for three seconds or something.

I'm not sure what I did but, mercifully, the noise finally stopped. I waited, expecting another chirp or my friend Mr. Alert telling me to Evacuate. Evacuate.

But I heard nothing but Wonderful silence and Griff the Wonder Dog snoring under my desk.

I could finally start in on BGA Daily.

Two things. 

First, I'm a little later than usual today. Now you know why.

And second, do the engineers who design smoke detectors understand that the trickier it is to replace the batteries the more likely it is that people are going to eventually give up and disconnect them? It shouldn't be this hard.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

"TV, Or Not TV, That is the Question"

The Ivy League made its 2022 TV schedule official with a release yesterday. Here are the games slated to be broadcast on the so-called "linear" networks:

Friday, Sept. 30 – Penn at Dartmouth – 7 p.m.  (ESPNU)
Friday, Oct. 7 – Harvard at Cornell – 7 p.m.  (ESPNU)
Friday, Oct. 14 – Brown at Princeton – 7 p.m.  (ESPNU)
Friday, Oct. 21 – Princeton at Harvard – 7 p.m.  (ESPNU)
Friday, Oct. 28 – Yale at Columbia – 6:30 p.m.  (ESPNU)
Saturday, Nov. 19 – Yale at Harvard – TBA

Total appearances:
3 – Harvard
2 – Princeton, Yale
1 – Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn

Green Alert Take: Dartmouth's release features a great picture of the packed home stands. The shame is that the TV cameras only show the other side of the field where the smaller stands have a much less impressive crowd.

The Ivy League scheduling agreement with ESPN started in 2018. Dartmouth's ESPN games since then:
2018 – 1
2019 – 3
2021 – 3
2022 – 1
(The 2020 season was canceled.)

Find the Dartmouth press release announcing the TV game HERE.

Overall ESPN "linear" appearances 2018-22:
Harvard – 9
Dartmouth – 8
Princeton – 8
Yale – 7
Penn – 5
Brown – 4
Columbia – 4
Cornell – 4

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SI's Fan Nation has a story on its New York Giant site with this tag line: Niko Lalos showed enough flash to earn himself some playing time in 2020. But with a crowded outside linebacker room before him, can he hold on to a roster spot? The bottom line from the story about the Dartmouth '20 (LINK): 

He's facing some stiff competition at both defensive end and outside linebacker that he will have to outwork, and the numbers just don't favor his chances right now. Still, stranger things have happened . . .

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As noted here before, because I already have enough "time suckers" in my day (including BGA Daily ;-) I don't do Facebook. A loyal reader who does, however, shared a note culled from former record-setting quarterback Dalyn Williams '16 page noting that he has just started as the quarterback coach at St. Mark's School in Dallas.

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Speaking of former Dartmouth football players, onetime tailback Bill Daly '86 has been the NHL's deputy commissioner since 1997. Here he is presenting the Stanley Cup to the Colorado Avalanche:


And here's Daly, who went on to earn his law degree from NYU, in the Dartmouth football media guide as a senior:


Daly carried 62 times for 224 yards and two touchdowns, and caught eight passes for 81 yards and one touchdown as a senior in 1985.
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The Analyst, the bible of FCS football headed by former Princeton beat writer Craig Haley, has a look ahead to the fall under the headline, More FCS conferences than not will have a new champion. (LINK)

Craig sees strong favorites to repeat in three leagues – but the Ivy League isn't one of them. From the story:

From 14 leagues, the likely strongest chances for repeats are in the Missouri Valley (North Dakota State), MEAC (South Carolina State) and Patriot League (Holy Cross). Everywhere else, it’s anybody’s guess. There definitely will be new champs in the ASUN-SWAC Challenge (Sam Houston ineligible) and Big South (Kennesaw State left the conference), but expect it to occur in a bunch of conferences.

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EXTRA POINT
That Certain Nittany Lion '16 began playing golf at the Hanover Country Club as a middle schooler and went on to work at the club through high school and college. It was a home away from home where he grew into a low single-digit handicap player and developed a love for the game that saw him earn his way onto the Penn State club golf team and help it advance to the national championships.

I first brought him to the Traveler's Championship in Cromwell, Conn., for the final round in 2010 and carted him down to the PGA event every year until he started attending the Sunday final with friends. He hasn't missed one since the first, with the exception of the 2020 COVID cancellation.

He was there for Jim Furyk's 58, Jordan Spieth's famous hole-out from the sand on 18, Bubba's first tour win and last year's ridiculous eight-hole playoff. To see as many players as he can, he and his buddy hit the highway up here each year between 4 and 5 a.m., and spend the day walking miles and miles around the course.

The two of them hung around this year not only until the final putt rolled into the cup, but until the winner finished his post-round interview with the Golf Channel. With the overflow crowd long-since departed his friend was rewarded with Xander Schauffele's autograph on a Travelers flag and TCNL '16 got a nice shot with the new champion:


Almost hard to tell which one is happier: The fellow on the right who just won $1,494,000 or the fan on the left. TCNL '16 was rightfully impressed that the new champion, who had been through the trophy ceremony, the press conference and individual interviews before doing his thing on the Golf Channel set, instead of blowing them off took the time out to make the day of a pair of Northern New Englanders who wouldn't get home until around midnight because they waited around to meet him. Schauffele will never know it, but it's a pretty safe bet he's got a couple of new fans who will now be rooting for him until he's on the Champions Tour.