Crimson Looks to Clinch Title in Season’s Penultimate Week

Around the Ivies

I’ve wasted away countless days of my life watching sports movies. What can I say? There are a lot of good ones out there.

The worse expenditure of time is not just watching these films, but the inevitable debates that follow arguing which is best. Rudy vs. Remember the Titans. Rocky vs. Raging Bull. Caddyshack vs. … well, nothing, Caddyshack stands alone. And take your pick of any one of Kevin Costner’s films.

Always near the top of my lists is Bad News Bears (the original, of course). The movie has its moments, but my favorite scene is at the end. The Bears, after an unexpected, come-from-behind season, fall in the finals to the mighty Yankees. Carrying themselves with the attitude of LeBron—undeserving self-satisfaction, that is—the Yankees offer a half-hearted apology to the losing team for poor treatment all season.

It’s at this point that one of the Bears responds in kind: “Hey Yankees! You can take your apology and your trophy and shove it straight up your…” I don’t think we have to tell you where.

But my favorite line is the one that comes next: “And another thing: just wait ‘til next year!”

It’s a great mantra, not just in sports, but in life as well. For Harvard football, that waiting might be over. This is the weekend when the Crimson can reach the promised land of “next year.”

For the past two seasons, Harvard has come into its second-to-last game of the year with a shot at the Ivy League title. And for two years in a row, Penn has shut the Crimson down and has taken the Ancient Eight Crown along the way.

Entering with an undefeated league record in 2009, the Quakers beat Harvard, 17-7, en route to the title. Last year in Philly, the Crimson lost in a 20-point blowout.

The situation this year is very different. All Harvard has to do is win one of its next two games to clinch at least a share of the title. With a one-game lead over Penn, the game doesn’t have the same do-or-die importance.

But where’s the fun in losing your way to an Ivy League title? For the first time in a while, the Crimson is a clear favorite in this one. On Saturday, we’ll know whether next year has finally arrived.

YALE (4-4, 3-2 Ivy) at PRINCETON (1-7, 1-4)

With a loss last week, Yale is going to need some serious magic to win even a share of the Ivy League title.

Here’s what has to happen. Harvard has to lose to Penn and then again in New Haven next week. The Quakers have to beat the Crimson and then lose to Cornell the next week. Brown has to lose to either Dartmouth or Columbia in its next two games.

And, of course, the Bulldogs have to win out. So I think the odds of a Yale title are about as high as a Schwarzenegger presidential campaign.

Because the team is out of the title hunt, this week’s game against Princeton only means two things. One, it’s a chance for the two schools to reinvigorate their rivalry a little bit before basketball season. Two, it’s warm-up before The Game.

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