It started off nicely, anyway. The 1947 football season came roaring into Cambridge in the midst of a blizzard of press clippings and rave notices, that seemed to point to just one thing: one of the host teams in many a year.
Two months and nine games later nothing was left but disenchantment, or disillusionment, or whatever you choose to call it. And a few feeble cries of "wait till next year."
For two early-season games everything they had said about the Crimson seemed almost true. Against an impotent Western, Maryland and a stronger-than-expected Boston University, the backfield appeared to be close to invincible--and the line was only slightly less potent.
But then came Virginia, and the balloon was punctured, deflated, and trampled into the sod of Charlottesville. Then too, came the injuries to Captain Vince Moravec and Jim Kenary that began a long, long chain of similar crippling blows.
From then on it was a series of ups and downs, of alternate raised hopes and deepened gloom. Holy Cross was eased under by a 7 to 0 count and things looked good; Dartmouth chiselled out a 14 to 13 win and things still looked good, but unlucky.
After that it got all bad. Rutgers and Princeton were overwhelmingly superior, bludgeoned almost identical 31 to 7 and 33 to 7 blastings, and shoved into oblivion any last lingering dreams of a winning season.
New injuries came each week; old, familiar numbers began riding the bench; new faces popped up from the Jayvees as Harlow desperately tried one combination after another in search of a winning one.
And on November 15 he seemed to have found it. Brown had battered Yale into the New Haven mud the week before, and Brown left the stadium that Saturday a 13 to 7 loser.
So the Crimson went down to the Bowl with the barest glimmerings of a chance for an upset; an upset that would have saved the season, that would have almost obscured the Virginia and Rutgers and Princeton debacles.
But there wasn't any upset, and so the season must be racked up as a failure. Everyone played his best, even in defeat the team appeared at close to its 1947 peak, but the Elis still had Jackson and Nadherny and Furse and just too much the better team; and the better team seems always to get the better share of the breaks. The final score was 31 to 21. The season's final record was 4 up 5 down.
It could hardly be called a satisfactory season, not by any criterion. And, like every losing team, this one was afflicted with rumors of dissension in the ranks, or "player revolt." This time, perhaps, they weren't all rumors.
At any rate, a month after the season's end ill health forced Coach Richard Greason Harlow to resign after 23 years as Harvard's mentor. His successor will have quite a job.