I’m not one for pretense. Let’s get to the picks.
DARTMOUTH AT PENN
If there is a problem with Ivy League football, it’s that it simply isn’t exactly the type of thing people who go to Ivy League schools tend to care about. Few students show up to the (professional, college, high school, intramural flag, lawn) football games and when they do rarely venture a glance from their phone to the field in front of them. Penn seems to be immune from the disorder.
Two weeks ago, a Philadelphia Eagles fan was televised just before a commercial break disagreeing with a call on the field. The video of the fan on Twitter garnered over a thousand retweets and more than seven thousand likes. The fan, as it turns out, is the University of Pennsylvania dean of admission, Eric Furda. The video was picked up by local newspapers and then, Stephen Colbert. While we’ll never know what the dean was saying (read a lip-reading analysis here) we can be absolutely sure, the Penn administration really cares about football.
But sometimes passion isn’t enough. The Eagles dropped the contest to the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Penn is going to lose to Dartmouth on Friday — just don’t tell Dean Furda.
Dartmouth by 24
COLUMBIA AT PRINCETON
Sure the University of Pennsylvania administration looks good right now, but no one looks better than Columbia’s administration. Why? They disbanded the university’s band, replacing them with a high school group. Not even Boston winters are that cold.
I’ve never had more respect for a university administration in my life.
Yeah, Princeton is probably the best team in the Ivy League. Yeah they’ve got a great shot at winning the division. Yeah, you could probably replace the Columbia team with a high school one to the same effect as replacing the band. Some things, however, can’t be quantified on paper. Swagger is one of those things. Columbia — at least the administration — has swagger.
Columbia by 1
HOWARD AT HARVARD
This has already been dubbed the battle for the real HU, and not without reason. The Harvard University and Howard University football programs have been intertwined since the start, despite never actually meeting on the gridiron. Legend has it, when the Howard program began in 1893, it was under the direction of English professor Charles Cook. The uniforms? They borrowed those from Harvard.
Now, on Saturday, the two teams will meet in regulation for the first time in football history. The two conferences — the Ivy League and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Football — hardly cross paths, so it’s difficult to guess at the comparative strength of schedules. Thus far, Howard seems to be struggling, having dropped four of its opening five games. Though, that’s three games more than Harvard has played.
Additionally, Howard’s star quarterback, Caylin Newton, has entered the transfer portal after opting not to play in last week’s contest. Yes that last name is Newton, as in the younger brother of the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner and professional quarterback Cam Newton. Howard’s now starting a true freshman in Quinton Williams.
On the contrary, Harvard’s quarterback woes that typically plague the beginning of the season have disappeared in junior Jake Smith’s maturation. The third-year is straight slingin’, and broke two personal records as many games, one for yards and one for touchdowns.
Forget real, I’ve got my money on the original HU.
Harvard by 21
RHODE ISLAND AT BROWN
Perhaps, like me, you forgot that Rhode Island was large enough to have more than one city. Perhaps, like me, you forgot that Rhode Island had the resources to supply two Division I programs. You would be forgiven for forgetting all of the above. The state’s two teams, after all, are not good.
However, the nation’s smallest state does indeed host intrastate rivalry dubbed the Governor’s Cup. While the “rivalry” likely boasts the lowest attendance of any rivalry game in the nation, it does in fact exist.
Over the course of the last century and then some, Brown and the University of Rhode Island have met 103 times to duke it out for the Governor’s Cup. Brown, surprisingly, leads the series 73-28-2. I fully expect the Bears to continue to lead the series for the next 46 years, until Rhode Island’s 46th consecutive win, or the inevitable disbandment of all Ivy League football programs.
Rhode Island by 6
FORDHAM AT YALE
I hate Yale.
Fordham by 3
GEORGETOWN AT CORNELL
This might legally qualify as heresy but I actually think Georgetown might have a good football program for probably the first time ever. The Hoya’s lost their first game of the season to Davidson — the college of Steph Curry so that probably translates at least a little to adeptness at football — and has since massacred opponents, out scoring them 136-13.
Cornell doesn’t seem terrible either and has the added benefit of hosting the contest. No one can travel to the desolate wasteland sometimes called Ithaca, N.Y., without being negatively affected in some way.
If the game is played anywhere but Ithaca, Georgetown wins by 21.
Georgetown by 7
—Staff writer Cade Palmer can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @THC_CadePalmer.