Practice for ECAC and NCAA winter sports officially opened yesterday. Of course, most schools circumvent the intent of the restriction and ask their squads to begin practice several weeks earlier without the supervision of a coach. Cornell was actually caught in the act two years ago by a wandering Crimson reporter, but no one pressed charges with the league officials because the guilt was too universal.
Looking forward to the winter season, one learns to appreciate the remaining football games more and more. For, above anything else, this Ivy football season is distinctive for its widespread mediocrity, while each winter sport is dominated by a single school. Glancing over the upcoming events, one can pick the winners and losers of winter acclaim rather easily. In basketball, Penn dominates the scene, and Princeton and Harvard have little to fear from Brown, Cornell, or Yale. In fencing, Columbia has taken the Ivy title 13 of the past 15 years, and in most other sports one team is associated with the role of champion (Gymnastics-Cornell, Squash-Harvard and Penn, Swimming-Penn and Yale, Track-Penn.). Hockey might be considered a three-way race between Cornell, Brown, and Harvard; and only wrestling stands as a pure toss-up.
In each of the winter sports, then, there is at least one weekend match that has to be classified as less than thrilling in its competitive nature. Brown-Harvard in swimming, Cornell-Harvard in squash, or Princeton-Harvard in hockey? It's hard to decide which could be called exciting.
Much to the displeasure of the predicters, but ever much more to the pleasure of the fans, Ivy football this season is clearly the most likely to produce weekly cardiac arrest. After only two weeks of competition, six of the eight teams are defeated. And the widest margin of victory in the entire league last Saturday was Cornell's five point edge on the Crimson. Brown and Penn's showings against Dartmouth and the inconsistency of Yale and Columbia will undoubtedly boost ticket sales for the rest of the fall throughout the league.
It is a refreshing thought (especially for trailers like Harvard) to picture the possible outcomes today. A victory for Harvard here, Yale over Cornell, and Penn over Princeton will create a (believe it or not) six-way tie for first. Who could ask for anything more?
The nature of Ivy athletics has changed a lot in the past few seasons as a higher level of professionalism has entered the league. Ivy teams now compete in winter national championships in basketball, fencing, gymnastics, squash, swimming, track, and hockey. But while the level of quality play has improved, the importance of Ivy play has proportionally declined. The football league deserves a lot of credit, therefore, for resisting the temptation toward national success in favor of weekly competitiveness, and this writer can only applaud the well-balanced mediocrity of the season.
CORNELL AT YALE--Surprising as it may seem, Yale is not its traditionally good self this fall. But Ed Marinaro has never done well against the Blue line, and as Ed goes so goes Cornell. Yale will be anxious for revenge after its loss to Columbia, and the Big Red will play the victim, 17-10.
PENN AT PRINCETON--Surprising as it may seem, Princeton is not its traditionally good self this fall. And the Tigers have always had trouble with neighborhood rivals like Rutgers and Penn. Penn will be anxious for revenge after its loss to Lafayette, and the Tigers will play the victim, 17-10.
DARTMOUTH AT HARVARD--Surprising as it may seem, Dartmouth is not its traditionally good self this fall. Dartmouth is neurotic about failure after close victories over Penn and Brown. A quick Crimson lead could create Big Green psychosis. Harvard will be anxious for revenge after its loss to Cornell, and the Indians will play the victim, 17-10.