For the past two days, The Harvard Crimson has printed Dan Fernandez's wonderful column on The Game, where Fernandez wistfully argues that, "It Shouldn't Have Ended This Way."
As a Harvard student, it's hard to disagree with the sentiment, but as an objective observer of the Harvard football team for the past four years, I'm sorry to report that it should have ended this way.
Saturday's fourth quarter meltdown was quintessential Crimson football under Coach Tim Murphy. And, quite frankly, I'm tired of pampering it and waiting until next year. I don't have any years left. It's time to ask some hard questions about the state of the Harvard program.
Before I get off on a rant about some of the inexcusable losses Harvard has suffered over the past couple of years, I want to make it perfectly clear that this is not directed against the players of the team. Each player on the Harvard roster has always given it his best on the field and has made daily sacrifices that often go unnoticed and unappreciated by the greater community.
But there are some cold, hard facts that would be very troubling in any sport, at any level.
For the past three Games, Harvard has led Yale in the fourth quarter and came out the loser each time. For the past two seasons, Harvard has either been ahead or tied in the fourth quarter in each game that it lost. Even the great Ivy League championship team of 1997 had a similar glitch, opening a 20-0 lead over Bucknell that slowly frittered away.
After each game, these defeats have been met with the same response by Murphy. Just take a look at a sample from the past two Cornell losses:
"I take full responsibility," he said after the team blew a 28-0 halftime lead to Cornell in October. "When you're up 28-0 there's no reason why you should lose, period. I've never had this happen before."