Watching, Waiting

Princeton is Harvard's significant other. Preseason polls picked either Harvard or Princeton to finish atop the Ivy League.

Neither team has given any indication of falling. Last week, Harvard swamped Columbia, 41-7, and Princeton downed Cornell, 26-17.

Today both teams play out-of-league games. Harvard faces the University of Massachusetts at The Stadium. Princeton meets Holy Cross in Princeton, N.J.

Both teams are peering at each other down Route 95. Waiting to see who falls first.

Watching. Waiting. But not worrying.

"It's nice that people are respecting our program and that some of our players are getting recognition," Princeton Coach Steve Tosches said. "But [the attention] doesn't mean anything when the actual games start."

Harvard Coach Joe Restic is equally indifferent to press praise. He is simply trying to mold his squad. After last week's game, he pointed out problem areas: the kicking game, the special teams.

Nothing to be concerned about. Not yet. Harvard does not return to the Ivy League until October 8.

Princeton will dive back into league play next week. The Tigers will host Brown, which tied Yale, 24-24, last Saturday.

Tosches says one game is just like another. This week's game against Colonial League representative Holy Cross is as important as next week's contest against Brown.

Given that the Cross is a 10-point favorite, a Princeton victory would be stunning. It would also throw the pigskin back onto Harvard's field. It would say, "We did it, let's see you do it." Next week, Harvard faces the Crusaders in Worcester, Mass.

The Crimson and Tigers are like twin brothers. Both have excellent quarterbacks. Harvard's Tom Yohe holds nearly every Harvard passing record. Princeton's Jason Garrett is one of the most feared passers in the league.

Tony Hinz is Harvard's chief running threat. Jason's brother, Judd, is the leader of Princeton's ground attack.

Harvard and Princeton will meet October 22 in Princeton. Until then, both teams are glaring at each other. You win one, I'll win one. Then we'll see who wins the big one.