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The official starting time for this afternoon's Harvard-Princeton get together is 1:30 p.m. Unofficially, though, the festivities begin two hours earlier.
It's Princeton weekend, you see, and just as Harvard-Yale means tradition, and Harvard-Dartmouth means war, Harvard-Princeton means something far more genteel. The word for it is tailgate.
What is a tailgate? Basically, it's a good excuse to get together and drink Heinekens, spread brie and munch on pepperoni salami and Inez's fried chicken.
It's also the prelude to the more important event of the day, the afternoon gridiron contest, although some would assuredly argue that the morning tailgate has far greater significance than the game itself.
Tailgates, like football games, can assume various forms. There's the sand-wiches-already-made variety. There's the "I-flew-in-from-New-Jersey-so-I-had-to-buy-the-food-at-Elsie's" variety. And then there are the tailgates with class.
The latter kind are easily identifiable by the fact that when kickoff time is five minutes away, there is still enough food left to feed all of Winthrop H entry, enough bologna to fill a delicatessen, enough cole slaw to fill a cabbage patch, and at least one homemade pie.
There is beer, liquor and wine, and someone in attendance who can give you the play-by-play of the 1925 Harvard-Princeton encounter, a contest, incidentally, in which the Tigers triumphed by a 36-0 margin.
And, since Ivy League football games themselves are really little more than excuses to get together with friends, family and the Donleys to eat, drink and win championships, the pre-game tailgates should do their part to foster the correct state of mind and get everyone at least halfway sloshed.
And, if you believe all of that, I expect to see you in a few hours in the Business School parking lot, along the banks of the Charles, or anywhere else where the gates are down. There might even be a football game afterwards.
Last Saturday, the best bet in town was Harvard over Dartmouth. Today's top pick is Inez's fried chicken, which, if marketed nationally, would surely put Colonel Sanders out of business. I'll take two wings, a breast and the following winners:
PRINCETON at HARVARD--The Tigers, as they say, are due. They've lost three close ones already this fall, boast a good defense and a better runner in Bobby Isom.
Two years ago, under similar circumstances, they came to Cambridge and walked away with a 24-20 victory that nearly cost the Crimson the title.
Also, Harvard is coming off the game of its life against Dartmouth, so if ever a Saturday had upset written all over it, today would appear to be the day.
Now let's get serious, This Harvard team has been blessed, and after encountering a little early difficulty will no doubt send the Tigers back to Princeton playing with their tails. Harvard 35, Princeton 13 and if I'm wrong, may today's tailgate party be my last.
PENN at YALE--Don't look now, but the Quakers are tied with Yale and Dartmouth for second place. A win today and the electricity you'll have will be straight from Ben Franklin's grave. A loss and the party's over. The party's over. Yale 27, Penn 6.
CORNELL at DARTMOUTH--When Bob Blackman makes his first appearance today in Hanover as the visiting coach, he'll have one thought in mind. Why isn't he still the home team's coach? Dartmouth 33, Cornell O.
BROWN at HOLY CROSS--With two Ivy losses already to their credit and a non-league affair this afternoon in Worcester, the Bruins, at least this week, are out of sight, out of mind. Out there, they'll probably win. Brown 20, Holy Cross 12.
COLGATE at COLUMBIA--The Red Raiders go 4-0 against the Ivy League and remain atop the Lambert Trophy voting. Colgate 40, Columbia 19.
Last week: Four right, zero wrong (1.000).
Season: 23 right, three wrong (.885).
Career: 89 right, 22 wrong (.802) and make sure you hit a tailgate today in a
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