With just three weeks left before classes begin, the pilgrimage back to Cambridge has begun. Preseason for varsity athletes begins next week, but this correspondent has already returned to Massachusetts after a summer abroad in South Africa. Having left vuvuzelas and rabid drunken soccer fans behind, it’s time to focus on the season ahead: and that means football.
The Ivy League held its annual football media day on Tuesday, and, once again, Harvard is tabbed to finish on top. It’s the Crimson’s fourth such honor in the last five seasons, but although the squad got the lion’s share of the first-place votes (10 out of 17), it only finished four points ahead of predicted runner-up Penn, the defending Ancient Eight champions.
Harvard also has the predicted Ivy League offensive and defensive players of the year, according to college football guru Phil Steele. Steele named rising senior running back Gino Gordon and captain safety Collin Zych as the league’s preseason best on each side of the ball. But the Quakers boast 15 returning starters—though only five from a defense that was tops in the FCS last season—and Brown has the best returning quarterback in Kyle Newhall-Caballero.
Meanwhile, the Crimson may begin the season with a former LSU starting quarterback as a backup to rising senior signal-caller Collier Winters, as Andrew Hatch has been cleared by the NCAA to play for Harvard this season. Take that, Ancient Eight.
In other news, rising Penn sophomore Isabel Han is looking to make her mark on the national level after a successful rookie season on the links. The golfer has advanced to match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, shooting a seven-over 151 through two rounds at the Charlotte Country Club in North Carolina. Han, who was in a six-way tie for 64th, won the six-way playoff for the final match play spot and will play Rachel Rohanna, who was tied for first after two rounds, Wednesday morning.