The shifty-eyed men with the little pink cards have as yet failed to make their appearance in the Square, to the annoyance of Crimson football followers who are seeking a line on Saturday's contest with Columbia. Those pink cards challenge one to pick the winners of some of the top college football games in the nation. Anyone who has indulged will attest to the fact that the men assembling these cards are doing more than pursuing a seasonal avocation. They call them pretty close and that's why the point-spread is often a good indication of what's to come.
Assuming the Harvard-Columbia contest rates space on the card this week, it's not hard to understand the delay. Picking this one will be tough, for many reasons. In some quarters, however, there is a tendency to rate the Lions heavy favorites, on the basis of their fine showing against a good team, as contrasted to the Crimson's sometimes inept performance against a lesser opponent. But here is some random speculation as to what the men who make their living at this sort of thing will take into consideration before making their pick. For instance:
Were the Tigers Tense?
Just how good was this Kazmaier-less Princeton team, with the pressure of 22 games without loss on it? And how about Springfield, which had nothing to lose and everything to gain and played just that way. In comparing these games, which were the openers for all teams involved, only this much is certain: Columbia didn't hold back a thing in shooting for the upset which would have made its season worthwhile, regardless of what followed. Harvard held back a lot.
Two of the key men in the Lions' success, according to Crimson line coach Ted Schmitt, who scouted the game, were a pair of tackles who went 60 minutes both ways in the New York heat. To do that in these days of two-platoon football-calls for a great deal of desire on the part of the players. Can even such a master of football psychology as Lou Little bring his team up to such a pitch for two straight Saturdays?
Because the varsity completed but two passes in 11 attempts last Saturday, many in the Stadium dismissed the Crimson's passing attack as poor. What they failed to remember was that this was the team's first game against any opponent since November last. Little did remember, apparently. Stories out of New York this week tell how the Lions spent the first three days of practice drilling against "Harvard passes." In addition, it is worthwhile attempting to recall how many different pass patterns were used against Springfield.
But the Crimson Has Problems
Besides Mitchell Price, acknowledged to be possibly the best passer in the East, the only other Lion offensive threat to draw newspaper notice was halfback Bob Mercier. Because they operate from different styles of offense, it is difficult to make exact comparisons, but Dick Clasby and John Culver may be said to balance off this pair. And that's not counting reserve fullback Jerry Blitz, who showed extremely well against Springfield, and wingback John Ederer, who had not yet hit his stride last Saturday.
Last this be interpreted as an attempt to act the Crimson up as favorite, however, let it be noted that of the offensive regulars, end Hank Rate is definitely out of Saturday's game, guard Eli Manes will at best see limited service, and tackle Bob Stargel, just out of the hospital, is unlikely to play at all. And defensive and Bill Weber has a broken finger and . . .
Save your money.