Just hear those sleigh bells jing-a-ling
Ring ting ting-a-ling too
C’mon it’s lovely weather
What did you say it’s not that time of year yet? Are you sure? But this weekend I’ll be bitterly cold outside, and Harvard Stadium will be filled with red and green jerseys and supporters. Surely it must be Christmas?
Oh, I guess you have a point—the game is set for Oct. 30, not Dec. 25. I mean, we have the Crimson and the Big Green, how can you possibly get more festive than that? Aside from the overtly tangible details, this weekend will certainly start to feel a lot like Christmas, at least for this reporter.
Santa must have come a few months early this year, because I’m going to get the best present I could have asked for in Friday night’s clash between Harvard (6-0, 3-0 Ivy) and Dartmouth (6-0, 3-0). You see, this is not only supposed to be a dogfight in that reminds you why you’re a football fan to begin with, in the heart-pounding, anticipatory, will-this-last-second-field-goal-be-good sort of way, but it might be the only dogfight I get to cover all year.
Now, in my third year of reporting on this team, I know the drill. I know that the first few weeks are always the warm-up, the dull end of the season. But the dominance is starting to feel a little ridiculous.
If you look at opponents’ scoring over the first halves of each game—the only time in every contest thus far you can be certain that the first-string defense is still on the field—they’ve amassed a total of 20 points in 180 minutes of play, or roughly equivalent to 3.3 points per half. And these aren’t exactly defensive struggles either, when the Harvard offense is pouring out omore than 40 points a game.
After five weeks of ho-hum blowouts, I was excited for last week’s tilt with Princeton. They told me it would be the hardest game yet. They told me it might even go down to the final snap (they being Crimson coach Tim Murphy to another reporter and Harvard players to me). Despite the Tigers losing to a Brown team that looked impotent a few weeks ago against the Crimson, I chalked it up to the Bears having a fluke game in Cambridge. I was still pumped.
They were right until they were wrong. The game was in contention for about 29 minutes, until Harvard scored on five consecutive drives. Suddenly, it wasn’t a seven-point game, but a 35-point rout. Yawn.
I’m determined to cover at least one last nail-biter before I graduate, however, and this weekend is my best chance at that. A Friday night game, under the lights, between two undefeated teams that pits the two most prolific offenses in the league against the two toughest defenses? It might as well be bundled in cheesy wrapping paper with a bow on top.
The bar is set low, fellas. Don’t let my Very Merry Christmas down.
DARTMOUTH AT HARVARD
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