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Around the Ivies: Out of Conference, Out of Mind

Bring It In
Senior defensive lineman Brogan McPartland celebrates with arms extended following a sack of the Cornell quarterback in last weekend’s matchup.
This year’s college athletics news cycle has been absolutely dominated by the recent slew of admissions scandals revolving around athlete recruiting. In case you have missed all of that, huge law enforcement stings have caught wealthy parents paying for their children to be recruited as athletes to universities of varying academic pedigrees in order to secure admissions. These developments have launched the college admissions process into the national spotlight once again, with various news shows and cable channels focusing on the scandals. Many prestigious schools have felt the black mark of these scandals, having to deal with the mess that has been this process.

This Tuesday, Felicity Huffman started her prison sentence for her role in the college admissions scandal. Huffman is a famous award-winning actress best known for her role on “Desperate Housewives.” She paid to doctor her daughter’s standardized test scores and was subsequently caught and charged for this crime. The celebrity was sentenced to only 14 days in prison.

Why do I bring up the scandal and Huffman? I suppose I could use my perch as a journalist to comment on the small prices paid by the rich and famous for their transgressions. I could elaborate on the unfairness of the college admissions process. I could even take a step back and take a look at how the process favors the wealthy and influential. If this is the first time you are reading my column, you might be expecting me to do just that. If it isn’t, then you know where I’m going.

Huffman will serve 14 days in federal prison. When she emerges from her brief stay behind bars, Ivy League football will be fully in conference play. This week is the final set of matchups between Ancient Eight squads and non-conference opponents. We are so excruciatingly close to the full swing of Ivy League play that Felicity Huffman will still be in prison when it starts, and her stay couldn’t be shorter. She should be glad that her name was mentioned in an Ivy League sports article and it has no relation whatsoever to the Yale women’s soccer team.

One more week with non-conference play. We’re almost there, but for now I still have six games to break down.

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DARTMOUTH VS. MARIST

The Granite State is on the up-and-up. Yes, you heard me correctly. There’s a buzz in New Hampshire that we usually don’t feel until after the Iowa Caucuses are completed and the small New England state suddenly becomes relatively relevant. For the first time since 1996, both Dartmouth and the University of New Hampshire football teams are ranked, with the Wildcats at number 22 and the Big Green ranked 21. I have a few recently graduated friends up there working for a certain former Vice President Democratic frontrunner candidate, and while they seem to be pretty focused on the recent debate, I can feel the excitement of New Hampshire football successes in their presence.

Dartmouth is definitely feeling the reverberations of success following last week’s contest. The Big Green thoroughly demolished the Ivy League preseason favorite in a 42-10 drubbing of Yale. Last week, I hyped up this game as a huge early season matchup between Ancient Eight favorites that could affect the way the conference shakes out at the conclusion of the season. I even deemed it worthy of a 1:30 P.M. start time as opposed to the commonplace 1:00 P.M. This was not the case. My pick of Dartmouth by four points was not even close, and if I haven’t made it clear enough already, the Big Green Defensive MachineTM is for real. I’ve been hyping up Dartmouth a lot lately, so I’m sure that they won’t let me down this week. I feel like I’m not doing a good job of balancing my reverence for their football program with my relentless attacks on the little town of Hanover.

Dartmouth by 28.

PRINCETON VS. BROWN

It would be unfair to describe this matchup as David versus Goliath. The hefty Goliath, the mightiest of warriors, had no chance to lose his battle with the feeble David. When Goliath fell to little David’s slingshot, the masses were shocked at the loss of the heavy favorite. Somehow, against all odds, the young shepherd defeated the giant. Like I said, this is not the same situation. Brown beating Princeton would not be David defeating Goliath. This would be more comparable to one of David’s mindless sheep somehow dropping the giant.

Every week I participate in an FBS college football betting pool. Each week, we pick three underdogs to cover the spread and hopefully earn us bonus points with an upset victory. A few weeks ago, my friend included Harvard for my sake. He asked why I did not pick Brown to cover the 20.5 point spread against the Crimson. I commented to him that even our local high school we attended could cover three touchdowns on Brown. If I was even remotely correct, Princeton should be able to cover at least triple that.

Princeton by 63.

COLGATE VS. CORNELL

Now this is what I call a regional rivalry. The Upstate Upstarts. The Battle of the Boondocks. The Rural Rivalry. The Countryside Clash. The Farmland Fracas. I’ll stop these insults before I feel the wrath of my close friend and fellow Crimson staff writer Lucy Connor, a proud resident of the extremely, intensely, aggressively upstate New York hamlet of Cazenovia (population 12?).

Luckily for Colgate, the road trip will only be roughly an hour and 45 minutes, which is known in upstate New York as “right down the street.” Adding to the Raiders’ luck, Cornell has lost three straight games. This is about where Colgate’s luck stops. The Raiders are 0-7 on the season, and have lost nine straight going back to last year. We can probably assume that it will be 10 in a row come Saturday.

Cornell by 14.

PENN VS. COLUMBIA

I find it pretty much irresistible to talk about the slightly better known football team located in the City of Brotherly Love when they do something that is totally and utterly a perfect fit for the Eagles. I found a perfect fit when the University of Pennsylvania Dean of Undergraduate Admissions proved he was a true Eagles fan with a very on brand Eagles tirade. This week, the Eagles showed that they were the Eagles when linebacker Zach Brown called out former teammate Kirk Cousins before the latter torched Philly for four touchdowns. To bring an Eagles story full circle, Brown was cut by the Eagles.

Columbia has scored the least amount of points in the Ivy League, and I bet they wish that they were playing the worst secondary located in the city of Philadelphia. But the Eagles will be occupied in Dallas, so instead the Lions get Penn. Fortunately for Columbia, the defense has shown promise to make up for the offense. It held Princeton to 21 points, its lowest total offensive output since its 14 point performance last season against the Big Green Defensive MachineTM. Penn has allowed the most points in the Ancient Eight among actual competing defenses, with its 104 allowed points leading only Brown’s 150. The matchup seems to favor Columbia.

Columbia by 3.

YALE VS. RICHMOND

As previously mentioned in my Dartmouth section, Yale football is not in its best place. The preseason Ivy League favorites were absolutely dismantled not only by the Big Green Defensive MachineTM, but also by Dartmouth’s offense. I have already talked badly enough about the Bulldogs’ performance, and even took a shot at Yale’s role in the college admissions scandal. Only Brown has taken more of a beating from me in today’s article, and by the looks of its defense, they are more than used to taking beatings.

After some digging into Richmond’s student newspaper, I realized that I can relate to their student experience. A recently documented “Battle of the Tacos” reminds me of Harvard’s classic burrito debate between Jefe’s and Felipe’s. Maybe it’s the same, maybe one is way better, like Jefe’s is here. In this game, I’m guessing Yale will be the Jefe’s and Richmond will be the Felipe’s.

Yale by 7.

HARVARD VS. HOLY CROSS

Harvard’s offense is absolutely rolling. The Crimson have scored an Ancient Eight-leading 162 points in its first four contests, averaging an absurd 40.5 points per game. This is a Holy Cross defense that allowed 31 points to Brown’s offense. Yes, I had to go after the low-hanging fruit once again. At this point, attacking the Bears isn’t even low-hanging fruit. It isn’t even sitting on the ground's surface. It’s basically a carrot.

Harvard by 14.

—Staff writer Joseph W. Minatel can be reached at joseph.minatel@thecrimson.com.

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