We have hit the midway point of the 2012 Ivy football season, so let’s break down each team’s first five games by comparing them to other classic “middles.”
Harvard (5-0, 2-0 Ivy) is the “The Godfather: Part II.” Still debatable whether the middle edition of the trilogy is as good as the previous version, but it’s an all-time great nonetheless.
Princeton (3-2, 2-0) is Jimmy Eat World’s song “The Middle.” The Tigers are the surprise of the Ancient Eight and might be the conference’s second-strongest team after being picked to finish last in the Ivy preseason poll. They are a true testament to the song’s lyrics: “Hey, don’t write yourself off yet. It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on. Just try your best, try everything you can. And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away.” Princeton clearly took this message to heart this year when everyone wrote it off.
Penn (2-3, 2-0) is midterms—just a big letdown. The Quakers were expected to compete for the Ivy title, but have barely been able to beat Dartmouth and Columbia thus far.
Cornell (3-2, 1-1) is “Malcolm in the Middle”—a solid competitor led by an upstart star who has the chance to make it big. Let’s just hope for Jeff Mathews’ sake that upon graduating he doesn’t become an open wheel racer and a drummer for a no-name band. (Seriously, that’s what happened to Frankie Muniz! Go read his Wikipedia page. I’m as shocked as you are).
Dartmouth (3-2, 1-1) is the middle name—the one nobody cares about.
Brown (3-2, 0-2) is the middle class—which, if I understood Tuesday’s debate correctly, is really struggling right now. The Bears were shutout by the Tigers last Saturday with Governor Chris Christie in attendance. Christie was cheering for Princeton, where his son goes. I’m therefore looking forward to the Cory Booker 2013 attack ad that depicts Christie rooting against the middle class.
Columbia (1-4, 0-2) is Jose Molina—the middle of the Molina brothers and the one who is terrible at sports.
Yale (1-4, 0-2) is the middle of a bagel—there’s nothing there. Just don’t ask the bagel for a resume, because that resume will claim it’s a donut.
On to the Week Six picks.
PENN AT YALE
Yale football is as bad as it’s been in a long time. The Bulldogs are last in the conference in scoring defense while Geno Smith antithesis Eric Williams has already thrown 12 (TWELVE!) interceptions through five games. No Ivy quarterback who wasn’t also a failed Rhodes Scholar candidate threw that many all of last season. Unfortunately for Yale, more experienced backup John Whitelaw quit the team after losing the starting job to Williams, which is sort of like if Gerald Ford had quit Congress right before Watergate.
The Quakers, as discussed above, have been a disappointment, but the Bulldogs are so bad that they would even be steamrolled by the Little Engine That Could.
Pick: Penn 31, Yale 17
CORNELL AT BROWN
Football Faces Big Red in Offensive ShowdownPinball fans will be in for a treat Saturday as the top two offenses in the Ivy League square off at Harvard Stadium. But the matchup between the Crimson football team and Cornell will offer more than a meaningless arcade-corner duel: it could decide who wins the Ancient Eight.
Mathews Wins Quarterback Battle, Loses WarComparing a backup quarterback who had never started a collegiate game leading an injury-riddled offense with the one-man show of Cornell’s offense seemed like matching David against Goliath. After all, Goliath—Jeff Mathews, Cornell’s third-year starting quarterback—was entering his 33rd game starting and had just become the Ivy League’s all-time leading passer.