Losing to Columbia in football is like losing to your grandmother in a game of tug-of-war. It is the ultimate indignity.
If Harvard intends to avoid that ignoble result Saturday (1:30 p.m., The Stadium), it must contend with a revamped Lion squad. Forget that the Lions have lost 41 straight games. If the Crimson is not on the top of its game, Columbia could be tough.
Lion Coach Larry McElreavy is winless as Columbia's coach (0-20, 0-2 against Harvard), but he'll have a decent crew at his command Saturday.
Look for a solid running game. Juniors Chris Konavalchik (418 yards rushing on 111 carries) and Paul Myott (69 yards rushing on 17 carries) are a respectable backfield. McElreavy says he will not start Solomon Johnson (12 TDs on the freshman team) but look for the fleet sophomore to see some playing time.
Defensively, Columbia will have a tough time replacing All-Ivy tackle Matt Sodl. But 1987 starter Dan Loflin (6-ft., 235-lbs.), junior Bob Paschall (5-ft., 10-in.) and sophomores Mike Hull (6-ft., 4-in.) and George Abney (6-ft., 215-lbs.) should make trouble for Harvard's running game.
The returning linebackers are Mark Zielinski (6-ft., 2-in., 225 lbs.) and Paul Tomasi (6-ft, 3-in., 215-lbs.)
Defending Ivy League champion Harvard has beaten Columbia in nine straight games. The Crimson has blanked the Lions the past two years.
This year, Harvard Coach Joe Restic will be seeking to win his 100th game. He has 95 now. Number 96 may not come as easily as some people expect.