Yale's Best Year Ever? We Disagree

Published by Alexander Koenig on February 19, 2012 at 3:12AM

Harvard has routed Yale on a number of occasions in the 2011-12 season. Elizabeth Parker (pictured above) and the Crimson women's hockey team topped the Bulldogs, 8-0. Harvard football dominated Yale, 45-7, and Crimson men's basketball cruised to an easy 65-35 win over its Yale counterpart.

Chelsea Janes, of the Yale Daily News, recently published a column in which she argued that the Bulldogs may be in the midst of their greatest athletic season ever. Janes cites, among other things, the—albeit unlikely—potential for Yale to win the most Ivy League titles in the history of its athletic program. In 1958-59, the Bulldogs took home eight Ivy League titles; that was before Title IX and the emergence of women’s athletics, which added 16 women’s teams to the mix. Janes makes this point exhaustively, but somehow forgets to realize that this means the 2011-12 edition would have to win far more than eight titles in order to surpass ’58-59’s dominance.

We’ll forgive her illogical use of numbers—after all, when choosing her school she clearly thought #3 was better than #1—and instead hit her back with some numbers of our own:

2 – The number of Rhodes scholarship “candidates” on your campus in the fall. But that's when things started to fall apart. Within the next few months, Yale football coach Tom Williams resigned amid allegations that he lied on his resume about, among other things, his candidacy for the scholarship. And your star quarterback, Pat Witt, dealt with a nasty fall from grace of his own after the New York Times reported that Witt was accused of sexual assault .

45-7 - The score in this year’s installment of the game, which you guys hosted. I think any year in which your rival ends the biggest game of the year with their fans celebrating on your field has got to be considered one of the best sports years of all-time…right??

2006 – The last time your football team beat Harvard

30 – The score differential when the Crimson men’s basketball team took on the Bulldogs. In New Haven. Again.

1 – The spot your men’s hockey team held in the national rankings at one point last season. Now they’re ranked behind the Crimson, and Harvard has 11 ties.

5-4 – the score of the Ivy League championship in squash. Harvard beat Yale, by the way. You noted in your column that sophomore Millie Tomlinson “keeps blowing through her competition.” That is, until she lost three straight sets to Crimson freshman Amanda Sobhy.

0 – the number of victories, combined, between your men’s and women’s fencing teams over the Crimson. In your article, you noted that “fencing is a sport to watch,” when discussing potential ancient eight championships. Considering you’ve never written a story about fencing, and I can’t imagine you frequent that many fencing matches, I’m guessing you meant it in the theoretical sense. I.e. “Even though it won’t be fun because we’re not very good, New Haven is so boring that fencing is a sport to watch.”

8 – The number of goals Harvard’s women’s hockey team beat you guys by. Chelsea! You’re the women’s hockey beat-writer! You lost by eight! In HOCKEY!

1 – The number of Jeremy Lin’s ’10 who attended your rival institution

In justifying writing a story so prematurely, you noted that “By Feb. 7, 2011, Yale held one Ivy title. As of Feb. 8, 2012, we hold two.” By that logic, I’m going to predict that Rick Santorum is going to win the Republican Presidential primary. By Feb. 4, 2012, Santorum held one state. As of Feb. 15, 2012 he holds four. Also, as of two weeks ago, there were no Harvard grads starting in the NBA. Now that Jeremy Lin is playing for the Knicks, I predict that there will be six former Crimson players in the league at this time next year. To borrow from you, “[it] is perhaps not wise. But it’s not completely unrealistic.”

In the second paragraph of your column you said “I’m not just saying that out of my sometimes unrealistic but always well-intended Yale-superfan optimism. The stats don’t lie.”

Sure, the stats don’t lie, if you choose which stats to look at and which ones to ignore. Maybe you should stick to speculating about whether or not Harvard actually sucks and leave the homerism to those who know what they’re doing.