It's No Secret: Tigers Are the Ones to Beat


Year in and year out, Ivy League football has offered one of the best bets in college sports.

Empty your savings account, find a bookie (try Mather House) and lay greenbacks on the following:

The Columbia Lions will not win the Ancient Eight crown.

Don't pay attention to Columbia alumni. The Lions have only captured the title once in the last 45 years. And that ought to tide them over for the next 45.

In fact, The Lions will probably finish last, repeating last year's 1-6 finish.


The only other candidate to knock the Lions out of the basement is Brown, where Coach Mickey Kwiatkowski's innovative Spread-T Flex offense will be crippled because nobody will know how it works.

The Bears return a total of five starters on both sides of the ball.

The Lions and Bears will jockey all season long for the privilege of being listed at the bottom of the standings.

That's the easy call. The hard calls are at the top.

But it looks like Princeton, which returns nine offensive starters and seven defensive starters from a squad that went 5-2 and finished second, is the team to beat.

Despite the loss of Chad Roghair, the leading passer in the Ancient Eight last year, the Tigers are the prohibitive favorite to win the Ivy League title.

If Dartmouth, last year's title winner, or Harvard, which finished third, can plug critical holes in their defenses, they could give the Tigers a run, especially if Princeton's quarterback problem doesn't solve itself.

The remaining teams--Cornell, Yale and Pennsylvania--are doomed to finish with mediocre records.

With that in mind, here is a closer look at the Crimson's Ivy contenders, in projected order of finish.


Nickname: Tigers

Coach: Steve Tosches

Season: 6th

1991 Overall Record: 8-2

1991 Ivy Record: 5-2

1991 vs. Harvard: Harvard, 24-21

Series vs. Harvard: Princeton, 46-31-7

Captain: Aaron Harris

Lettermen Lost/Returning: 25/32

Players to Watch: Michael Lerch, Keith Elias Aaron Harris, Keith Ducker, Benjamin Ertischek

The Tigers would be a cinch to win the conference if it wasn't for the black hole at quarterback.

Chad Roghair threw for 11 touchdowns and only four interceptions last year, completing 61 percent of his passes for a 142.4 quarterback efficiency rating, 14th in the nation.

This year, Princeton Coach Steve Tosches says he will probably start junior Joel Foote, who hasyet to throw a pass in varsity play but has beenproductive in scrimmages. As a freshman, Footecompleted 40 of 81 passes for 702 yards and 10touchdowns.

Also in the hunt are junior Cam Scholvin (4/19,247 yards and a TD as a freshman) and sophomoresClinton Haley (35/61, 444 yards and 2 TDs as afreshman), Brett Huckelbridge and Tom McInerney.But don't expect to hear much from any of theseguys in the near future.

Fortunately for Foote, the offensive linereturns four out of five starters from last year.

And--most importantly--Foote will have MichaelLerch, the Ancient Eight's Jerry Rice. Lerch ledthe league in receiving yards last year with 702,averaging 20.6 yards per catch. Lerch also returnskicks an average of 23.6 yards. Almost a third ofthe Tigers' total offense came from the All-Ivyreciever.

But with an inexperienced quarterback, expectCoach Steve Tosches to do more running this yearbehind tailbacks Keith Elias and Erick Hamilton,widely regarded as the best backfield in theleague.

The Princeton defense is especially formidable,returning seven starters--including first teamAll-Ivy linebacker Aaron Harris--from a unit thatwas second in both scoring defense and yardageallowed in the Ivy League last year.

This year, the biggest problem for them will beat free safety, where the graduation of MarvinWilliams will leave a gap in a secondary thatallowed just four passing touchdowns. On thedefensive line, Princeton graduated two playersbut is still solid with All-Ivy players at theother two positions: junior defensive end BrianKazan and junior tackle Reggie Harris.

Junior Jim Renna, a spot player last year, willmove into one tackle position while Tosches hasnot yet decided who will take over the seconddefensive end position.

The loss of Marvin Williams and the lack of adominant successor in the secondary could be theTigers' soft spot.

But don't cry for Princeton. They're still thefavorite to win it all.


Nickname: Big Green

Coach: John Lyons

Season: 1st

1991 Overall Record: 7-2-1

1991 Ivy Record: 6-0-1

1991 vs. Harvard: Tie, 31-31

Series vs. Harvard: Harvard, 50-40-5

Captains: G. Neos, G. Hoffmeister, M.Phillips

Lettermen Lost/Returning: 30/31

Players to Watch: Jay Fiedler, MattBrzica, Neal Martin, Jason Fell, Dennis Durkin

Last year's top-ranked offense andfourth-ranked defense has been shaken upsubstantially as former coach Buddy Teevensdeparted for Tulane and Ivy League Player of theYear Al Rosier graduated, taking 13 starters withhim.

But John Lyons, the highly-regarded defensivecoordinator for the Big Green, has replacedTeevens and he still has the Ivy League Rookie ofthe Year in junior quarterback Jay Fiedler, aswell as senior Matt Brzica at wide receiver.Rosier's backup, Greg Hoffmeister, returns, asdoes starting fullback Neal Martin.

While Lyons is missing four out of fiveoffensive linemen and last year's tight end, hedoes have last year's backups at every positionexcept right guard.

These former backups--center Lou Kozloff, leftguard Greg Porter and left tackle Andy MacDonald,all seniors--will join returning right tackleLance Brackee in the trenches and are the key tothe Big Green season.

If they can offer the protection and blockingthat Fiedler, Hoffmeister and Marton need, theoffense could return to its former level ofpotency.

Without them, well, Fiedler better learn toscramble.

The situation is similar on the defense, wheregraduation has decimated the linebacking corps andthe defensive line.

The only thing largely intact is the secondary,which returns three out of four starters but losesfirst team All-Ivy cornerback Sal Sciretto.

New coaches can often pose problems. But Lyonsisn't changing the system and defense is histrade.

If he's good, he will make something out ofnothing with the Big Green's defensive front sevenand challenge for the title.


Nickname: Big Red

Coach: Jim Hofher

Season: 3rd

1991 Overall Record: 5-5

1991 Ivy Record: 4-3

1991 vs. Harvard: Cornell, 22-17

Series vs. Harvard: Harvard, 18-16-2

Captain: J. Massy, S. Oliaro, J.Woodring

Lettermen Lost/Returning: 29/26

Players to Watch: Bill Lazor, MikeJamin, Scott Oliaro, Chris Zingo, Mike Cochrane

Cornell, which has won more Ivy League games(28) in the past six years than any other team,finished 4-3 last year after the startingfullback, tailback, and three offensive linemenwent down with injuries.

This year, the fullback and the tailbackreturn. The injured linemen graduated, but theyleave behind a line that has already workedtogether for a year.

The defense, which allowed the least points inthe Ivy League last year (124) is hurting,especially on the line, but is serivceable.

The tailback is Scott Oliaro, who wassecond-team All-Ivy as a sophomore before missingnine games last year due to injury. Two years ago,Oliaro was the team's second leading rusher (149for 744 yards), top receiver (25 for 347 yards),leading scorer (11 TDs) and runner-up in returningkickoffs (16 for 294 yards).

The fullback is Peter Case, a devastatingblocker who will open holes Dean Archie C. EppsIII could run through.

With a year of rehabilitation, Oliaro isprepped to handle the immense load that will fallon him. As Oliaro goes, so will the Big Red.

Senior Bill Lazor will return for his secondyear as the starting quarterback. Lazor, who setschool records last year for most completions in agame (31), and most 300-yard passing games in acareer (2) while completing 129 of 217 passes for1461 yards.

After Oliaro, his main target will be seniorMike Jamin, a second-team All-Ivy selection lastyear. Jamin, who caught 35 passes for 486 yardslast year, will be supplemented by tight end JohnMassy, a tri-captain who caught eight passes for84 yards last year.

Defensively, only four starters return: oneeach on the line and linebacking corps, and two inthe secondary.

The star of the defense is burly juniorlinebacker Chris Zingo, a second-team All-Ivyselection. Zingo set a school record last year fortackles with 160 (112 unassisted), with a high of27 in one game against Brown.

Zingo also led the team in sacks, with six.

Senior Jeff Woodring, also a second-teamAll-Ivy selection (Cornell has a lot of these forsome reason), will try to anchor the defensiveline from his position at left end. He had threeforced fumbles and five sacks last year.

Woodring is joined by seniors Ed Growzewski,Jack Dankert, Hans Maentz and Mark Mako, with ahost of underclassmen pushing for positions. Butexperience is at a premium, according to Big RedCoach Jim Hofher.

Both Big Red cornerbacks, seniors Will Applingand Ethan Levitas, return with playing time ontheir resume's, but strong safety junior RyanBlattenberger is the main man in the secondary.Blattenberger is the team's second-leadingreturning tackler, with 44.

Hofher has wins to his credit, but hisonce-dominant defense is in decline. The offenseis getting better, though, and should be rankedhigher than last-year's sixth. If everything goesright, the Big Red could finish third.


Nickname: Bulldogs

Coach: Carm Cozza

Season: 28th

1991 Overall Record: 6-4

1991 Ivy Record: 4-3

1991 vs. Harvard: Yale, 23-13

Series vs. Harvard: Yale, 58-42-8

Captain: Dave Sheronas

Lettermen Lost/Returning: 28/31

Players to Watch: Steve Mills, MattFahrney, Dave Kelly, Erik Lee, John Patterson,Peter Swartz

Yale's big offensive guns have graduated--firstteam All-Ivy quarterback Nick Crawford, first-teamAll-Ivy tailback Chris Kouri and fullback JimGouveia, second team All-Ivy receiver Ya-SinShabazz, tight end Pete Austin, first team All-Ivyoffensive linemen Kevin Allen and David Russell,second team All-Ivy kicker Ed Perks and secondteam All-Ivy punter Greg Bowman.

The Bulldog defense, ranked sixth in the Ivieslast year, is, however, rapidly improving.

The defensive line is the strength of the team,led by first team All-Ivy tackle Erik Lee. Leetopped the Yale defense with 4.5 sacks and 55tackles last year.

Lee is complemented by senior Fred Howard, whohad 28 tackles last year. The nose guard spot willbe shared by seniors Kevin Hill and Lael Kaplan.

Senior Craig Vickery returns to outsidelinebacker for the Bulldogs after sitting out ayear. In 1990, Vickery was a second team All-Ivyselection after recording 70 tackles and twosacks.

On the inside, Yale lost second team All-Ivylinebacker Kevin Skol to graduation. Heading thereturnees, though, is senior Milt Hubbard (43tackles and an interception).

Senior Chad Colony, who missed the 1991 seasonwith a knee injury, will also try to return toform. If he can't, Yale has sophomores Carl Ricciand Ben Ladomirak waiting.

Three starters graduated from the secondary,Yale's weakest area. Senior John Patterson willreturn at "monsterback." (At 5-ft., 11-in.,190-lbs., he has some growing to do to fill thebill, however.)

While Yale does not have returning starters,they have returning experience. Seniors MikeBrown, Dan Urban and Aaron Figler are the leadingcandidates for the defensive halfback, safety andcorner spots, respectively.

On offense, the problems start at quarterback.While Coach Carm Cozza declined to name who was inthe running to replace Crawford, junior SteveMills is considered the front-runner afterperforming well in preseason scrimmages.

From there, they extend through the backfield(despite Co-Captain fullback Dave Sheronas) andthe offensive line. On the line, seniors AndyWalker and Bart Newman return to add stability.

Still, it will be a tough year for Yale CoachCarm Cozza. Harvard should finally pick up a winat home in the 119th playing of The Game.


Nickname: Quakers

Coach: Al Bagnoli

Season: 1st

1991 Overall Record: 2-8

1991 Ivy Record: 2-5

1991 vs. Harvard: Harvard, 22-18

Series vs. Harvard: Harvard, 26-9-1

Captain: TBA

Lettermen Lost/Returning: 21/27

Players to Watch: Jim McGeehan, MikeBaker, Sundiata Rush, Andy Berlin, Dave Betten,Dave Lazarus.

The Quakers have a new coach, Al Bagnoli.Bagnoli, who previously coached at Division IIIUnion, promises to bring dramatic changes to thePenn program.

He is putting in a well-balanced, wide-openoffense designed to run or pass equallyeffectively. He wants a defense that can play bothman-to-man and zone, applying a lot of pressure tothe quarterback.

Bagnoli is talking about the moon. But hedoesn't have a rocket to take him there.

First of all, his players will have to learnthe Bagnoli system, effectively reducing them torookie competency. Look for a lot of botched playsand missed assignments, especially early on in theyear.

Secondly, he just doesn't have the personnel tomake Penn the "Team of the '90s."

At quarterback, Bagnoli has yet to choosebetween sophomore Nick Morris, the MVP of thefreshman squad last year, junior Mike Barthlow,who threw a total of five passes last year(completing two for 18 yards), and junior JimMcGeehan, who started four games last year andcompleted 74 of 179 passes for 848 yards.

Senior tailback Fitz McKinnon should be theoffensive star. A quarterback in 1991, he wasswitched to take advantage of his speed and power.

The defense has a lot of returning talent butit remains to be seen whether it can learn tocover man-to-man and zone and blitz thequarterback--all at the same time, if Bagnoli'syapping is to be believed.

Junior inside linebacker Andy Berlin leads thereturners. Berlin recorded 80 tackles last year,fourth-highest on the team. He is joined byoutside linebacker senior Dave Betten, who had 79tackles last year. With senior nose tackle SeanBoyle, he will anchor an otherwise young frontseven.

If the athletes can decipher the playbooks, theQuakers could be interesting. But Bagnoli isn'tsounding enthusiastic, and his teams is likelystill be a few years away.


Nickname: Bears

Coach: Mickey Kwiatkowski

Season: 3rd

1991 Overall Record: 1-9

1991 Ivy Record: 1-6

1991 vs. Harvard: Harvard, 35-29

Series vs. Harvard: Harvard, 25-11

Captains: Brett Brown, Chris Gordon

Lettermen Lost/Returning: 25/43

Players to Watch: Jeff Barrett, BrettBrown, Richard Britton.

All you need to know about Brown comes fromCoach Mickey Kwiatkowski himself:

"We are the slowest team in the league. Wecan't run away from anybody and we can't catchanybody. Two years ago, when we were 2-8, I saidthe one good thing was that we couldn't get anyworse. Well, I was wrong. We went 1-9. So I'm notsaying that again this year."

He speaks the truth. With a couple of badbreaks, the Bears could go winless. The teamreturns a total of five starters, but Kwiatkowskisays that he's "not going to miss anybody."

The squad is heavily sophomore-dominated. Theleading contender for the starting quarterback jobis sophomore Trevor Yankoff.

Memo to Yankoff: invest in Tylenol.


Nickname: Lions

Coach: Ray Tellier

Season: 4th

1991 Overall Record: 1-9

1991 Ivy Record: 1-6

1991 vs. Harvard: Harvard, 21-16

Series vs. Harvard: Harvard, 39-10-1

Captain: Des Werthman

Lettermen Lost/Returning: 24/26

Players to Watch: Jason Doolittle, MikeSardo, Des Werthman

The Lions are not in better shape, and itshould be a good race for last. The Lion offense,ranked seventh last year, returns three starters.

But the defense might be good enough to keepthem in the game for a while. Led by fourseniors-first team All-Ivy linebacker DesWirthman, cornerback Kevin Robinson, defensive endJim Daine and tackle Gary Kasprzak--the unit isColumbia's strongest in years.

Werthman broke the Columbia season tacklerecord with 184 stops, while the others areAll-Ivy candidates.

Still, "the best in years" isn't saying enough.Remember, this is a club that recently went 10years without winning a single game.

Maybe Columbia will finish seventh.


Jay K. Varma Sports Editor  Ted G.Rose Associate Sports Editor  John B.Trainer Senior Sports Writer  Julian E.Barnes President1  Dartmouth  Princeton  Princeton  Princeton2  Princeton  HARVARD  Dartmouth  Dartmouth3  HARVARD  Cornell  HARVARD  HARVARD4  Cornell  Dartmouth  Cornell  Yale5  Yale  Yale  Penn  Cornell6  Penn  Penn  Yale  Penn7  Columbia  Columbia  Columbia  Columbia8  Brown  Brown  Brown  Brown

Crimson File PhotoBrown was hit hard by graduation. Don'texpect the Bears to recover any time soon.

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