Following a historic run through the Ivy League in 2011, the Harvard football team is the heavy favorite to take the crown once again this season.
In the first-ever Ivy League Sportswriters Football Preseason Poll—in which two representatives from each Ivy League student newspaper cast votes—the Crimson emerged as the clear favorite, tallying 124 points and 13 of 16 first-place votes.
While most believe the title will remain in Cambridge, some have pegged Penn (106 points) and Cornell (98), led by the reigning Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year Jeff Mathews, to upend Harvard. All 16 first-place votes went to the Crimson, the Quakers, or Cornell.
Brown, Yale, and Dartmouth finished in fourth through sixth, respectively, a season after all three schools graduated their greatest offensive threats. The Bears lost quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero, quarterback Patrick Witt is no longer a Bulldog, and running back Nick Schwieger has left the Big Green.
Rounding out the rankings are Columbia and Princeton, both of which captured just one Ivy win last season. Both squads are expected to struggle again in 2012.
For all eight Ivy League teams, the season commences on Saturday. Harvard opens its campaign with a home contest against San Diego before its Ivy opener a week later at Brown.