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ITHACA, New York--It started, innocently enough, one year ago today. The defending Ivy League bigshot, Harvard, was hosting one of the worst teams in the world, Cornell. Then, quite unfortunately for the Crimson, it started raining. Raining, actually, is not the word for what it was doing that dismal Saturday afternoon in Cambridge. Pouring is more like it, pouring so hard that Harvard's offense was reduced to three yards in the puddle, it's talent advantage totally nullified.
And when, in the third quarter of that fiasco, Cornell's Dave Johnson retrieved a high snap from center on a punt attempt, found an opening down the left sideline and sloshed 75 yards for the game's lone touchdown, more than just Harvard's talent advantage was wiped out. So was its undefeated season, and so was its pride.
Following that 9-3 loss, the Crimson played twice more at the stadium last fall, and twice more it lost: to Brown three weeks later and then to Yale two weeks after that. And when you throw in the first two home games this season, the 17-0 embarrassment versus UMass and the 38-21 default to Colgate, the home field advantage seems more like a myth.
All of which led Joe Restic, he of the multiflex offense and the politician's inclination, to remark, in reference to the Big Red, "We owe them one. Just taking that trip to Ithaca is worth a victory."
The fact that the game is in Ithaca, an Ivy paradise located somewhere west of nowhere, means that in all probability, Harvard will win.
The Crimson currently boasts an 11-game away-from-Cambridge victory skein, and since this game is being played about as far away as possible, Harvard needn't worry about the home field disadvantage. Besides, "We owe them one."
HARVARD AT CORNELL--The following appeared in this space a year ago: "There is absolutely no way in the world the Crimson can lose to Cornell." Then it rained. So let's try once more, this time with feeling. There is absolutely no way in the world the Crimson can lose to Cornell. Harvard 30, Cornell 26, and if I'm wrong again, don't expect me home for dinner. Don't expect the football team, either.
DARTMOUTH AT YALE--Basically, we're talking about a hunch. Dartmouth and Harvard win today, the Crimson beats the Big Green next Saturday in Cambridge, and quicker than you can say "Paul Lynde to block," you know who is in first place. You think I'm a dreamer? You're right. Dartmouth 18, Yale 14.
COLUMBIA at PRINCETON--The Tigers are winless, the Lions have won two in a row, so naturally Princeton is favored. And rightly so. Princeton 13, Columbia 7.
BROWN at PENN#Last year this game cost the Bruins an undisputed title. This year they'll win and it won't cost them anything, unless having to spend Columbus Day weekend in Philadelphia is injurious to one's health. Brown 23, Penn 14.
Last week: Five right, one wrong (.833).
Season: 16 right, two wrong (.889).
The season, minus Harvard games: 15 right, 0 wrong, and who said I wasn't perfect?
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