Saturday, November 5, 2011

Football: Ivy League Week 8 Preview

Brown (6-1) at Yale (4-3)
Yale is staring down the barrel of mediocrity. In fact the world came tantalizingly close to a hilarious result in NYC last week, as Columbia had the ball down only three points late in the fourth quarter (Yale effectively ended the game with a pick). That said, I’m willing to give the Bulldogs some benefit of the doubt, as the game was played in a snowstorm and the Lions were thoroughly out-gained. Brown, meanwhile, used the same ugly weather to hold Penn’s Billy Ragone to 6-of-15 for 32 yards and 3 INTs in a 6-0 shutout. Despite not being obviously good at any one thing, Brown hasn’t lost in over a month.

Harvard (6-1) at Columbia (0-7)
Harvard’s offence has been all sorts of unstoppable in the past month, and I mean that more or less literally: Opponent’s offence keeping them in the game? Collier Winters can throw for 400! Collier Winters injured? Colton Chapple can throw for five touchdowns! Minor blizzard making it hard to throw a ball? Run for 400! A skeptic might point out that this has come against teams who are 7-11 against other opponents, to which I say: Yes, but Columbia’s on the docket this week.

Princeton (1-6) at Penn (4-3)
Five of Princeton’s six losses have been by double digits, and their win is over Columbia. And yet the Tigers have "only" been out-gained by 23 yards/game. The real problem has been turnovers: Princeton is -12 in turnover margin. Penn has now been out-scored by four points, cumulatively, on the season. Both these teams are quite good on the ground, each out-rushing opponents by over 60 yards/game. If Princeton can get Billy Ragone to screw up more than their own Tommy Wornham (both QBs have thrown 8 picks this season), they could actually keep it close.

Cornell (3-4) at Dartmouth (2-5)
Two of the Ivy League’s most valuable players will take the field in Hanover on Saturday. Cornell’s ground game is awful, so they put the ball in sophomore Jeff Mathews’s hands 34 times (for almost 300 yards) per game. Meanwhile, Nick Schwieger continues to be Dartmouth’s offence, as the Big Green have only averaged 120 yards/game passing. The defense hasn’t been great either; the cumulative effect is that Dartmouth has been out-gained by almost 110 yards/game. The winner of this game takes a death grip on 5th place in the Ancient Eight.

Picks to bet your Coop Rebate on
Yale over Brown, Harvard over Columbia, Penn over Princeton, Cornell over Dartmouth.

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