Last year, pre-season predictions put the Cornell football team near the very top of the Ivy League. Experts saw a strong line and a swift backfield carrying the Big Red to a successful season, perhaps even to the championship.
However, as is often the case, these optimistic predictions proved to be the kiss of death for Cornell. A long string of injuries cut down the Ithacans to such an extent that only a last-game victory over Penn saved them from a winless season.
This year the Big Red has a large number of last year's players returning, and barring injuries, one might rate the team a serious contender for the championship. But coach George K. "Lefty" James doesn't think so. "They were all wrong last year. Even without injuries we just didn't have enough ballplayers to come near the top and it's the same way this year," he explained.
James rated the Ivy League in two distinct groups this season. He puts Penn, Princeton, Yale and Dartmouth on top and Columbia, Brown, Harvard and Cornell at the bottom. The Cornell coach thinks that there is little to choose between the squads in each of these classifications and certainly doesn't go along with those who rank Princeton as clearly the best team in the League.
"I'd rank Yale right with Princeton, and put Penn and Dartmouth in there too. They're all deep and all strong clubs," he said.
As for his own squad, he feels that it is "neither deep enough nor strong enough" to do too much damage in the Ivy League. He did say, however, that each one of the bottom four teams would win "its few games" and probably upset a couple of the top quartet of teams.
Although he said that "you can never be pleased when you lose," James was obviously very satisfied with his team's performance on Saturday against Colgate. Cornell had apparently won the game until, with 14 seconds remaining, Colgate tallied on a seven-yard pass play to win 14-13. "I never saw a team play so well and get licked," was his comment on the loss.
It was definitely a surprising performance by Cornell, and on the basis of their success, the coaching staff will probably use the same style of play against Harvard. James alternated two complete teams in the game, one playing the first half of a quarter, the other, the second half.
The Big Red operates out of the normal "T" formation, frequently using flanker plays. With a line averaging under 195 pounds, James relies on speed and deception both up front and in back. The main strength of Cornell's play is in the backfield, built around Tom Skypeck, its big quarterback, and the shifty, fastmoving halfback, Bo Roberson. Roberson did most of the carrying against Colgate, averaging five yards per carry in 20 attempts.
James has found a top performer at fullback in Bob Hazzard, but the powerful sophomore was injured early in Saturday's contest and may not see action against the Crimson. However, Phil Taylor proved a very able replacement for him, and would probably do as well again tomorrow.
Tomorrow, James will also have the services of captain and end, Gerry Knapp. It was feared that Knapp would be out for the season as a result of injuries sustained in practice, but with his shoulder in a leather brace, he will see limited service against the Crimson.
James feels, however, that Saturday's contest will be somewhat of a guessing game, as he tries to feel out a Crimson squad which he has never seen. "We have been preparing for everything," James said, "and are ready for a very tight contest."
Braves Tie Up Series, 4-2
NEW YORK, Oct. 3--Lew Burdette, the pitcher the New York Yankees traded away in 1951, tied the World Series up for Milwaukee today by beating his old mates, 4-2, in the second game at Yankee Stadium. Bobby Shantz was the losing pitcher.