As classes pick up, so do many of Harvard’s 41 varsity sports, meaning Cambridge will be hosting plenty of contentious matchups worth marking down on your calendar. Here are five that any true fan shouldn't miss.
Men’s Soccer vs. Michigan State, Sept. 7
The men’s soccer squad (0-1-1) kicks off its home schedule against the Spartans, only the second-ever Big Ten competitor to take on the Crimson. After a disappointing 2-12-3 record last year, Harvard will be looking to avoid the early-season deficit that plagued the 2011 campaign. Michigan State (1-2-1) is coming off a 1-0 loss to nationally ranked UConn but hasn’t lost a game by more than a one-goal margin since October 2010.
Women’s Soccer vs. Boston College, Sept. 15
Coming off of an Ivy-title-winning 2011 season, the Crimson women (1-0-1) will be looking to defend its championship against a strong collection of Ancient Eight opponents, but the team’s non-conference schedule will likely prove just as challenging. After a 2-2 tie with Boston University on Sept. 3, the Crimson will face yet another crosstown foe in BC for the first time in the regular season since 2009. The Eagles are currently ranked No. 7 in the nation with a 4-0-1 overall record.
Football vs. Cornell, Oct. 6
Going into the 2012 season, Harvard garnered 13 of 17 first-place votes and 132 points in the media poll, but the Big Red managed to pick up 100 points, coming in third among Ivy competitors. Cornell will be returning last year’s Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year in junior quarterback Jeff Mathews who passed for a total of 3,412 yards in the Big Red’s 2011 campaign.
Men’s and Women’s Crew at Head of the Charles, Oct. 20-21
The Crimson and Radcliffe crews will take to the Charles in late October for what is perhaps Cambridge’s most iconic sporting event. The two-day regatta brings in boats and rowers from around the world, looking to win on one of their sport’s biggest stages. Last year, the Harvard men’s heavyweights accomplished a landmark win in the championship eights race for just the third time in program history.
Football vs. Yale, Nov. 17
The Game is hardly a surprise to make this list, but with the Crimson ranked in the top 25 of several national preseason polls and heavily favored to defend its Ivy title, Harvard may dominate the long-standing rivalry’s 129th installment. Last year’s 45-7 victory capped off the Crimson’s undefeated Ivy run, and this year’s matchup may have the same potential as long as Harvard can get past tough Cornell and Penn squads in the weeks before.