First, we were going to recap yesterday's thrilling brawl in Missoula, but our pal Derek did it succinctly and with feeling, so there's no point.
Our march through the Big 12 schedule finally weaves its way into November, and more darkness and gloom awaits your beloved Wildcats. Our staff settled in to offer their projections on the week and, as has been the norm, mostly agreed on everything. Most importantly, our logjam atop the Big 12 standings is finally starting to break apart.
Baylor at Kansas State (6:30pm THU, FS1)
You should all send hosannas and praise to Derek and Luke, because -- being actual journalists and all -- they are of the studied opinion that K-State is going to beat Baylor in Manhattan. The rest of us? NOPE. 9-2 split.
There is zero doubt on these two games, as nobody can bring themselves to even countenance the possibility that either Iowa State or Kansas is capable of beating the league's marquee programs. Even those who aren't sold on either Oklahoma or Texas went with the flow here.
Ten of your eleven faithful servants are certain that TCU will continue rolling right on through the schedule, dispatching an Oklahoma State squad that many of us think might be overrated. Even those who don't are still convinced TCU is better.
Except for BracketCat, who picked the Cowboys to upset our purple brothers on their home turf in Stillwater. He'll probably have to answer for this one, folks.
Our final game of the week is another clean sweep, as nobody thinks Texas Tech is going into Morgantown and coming home with a win. It's interesting, because you'd think this one would at least have had some dissent; West Virginia's okay but not great, and Tech's not that good but also not Kansas. But there you have it: 11-0.
And with that, the effective tie atop the conference is cut from four to three, as Oklahoma State falls by the wayside:
BotC's Projected Big 12 Standings after Week Ten
Ivy League Preview
|2014 Standings and Info|
|15||Harvard University Crimson||Cambridge MA||7-0||10-0|
|rv||Dartmouth College Big Green||Hanover NH||6-1||8-2|
|rv||Yale University Bulldogs||New Haven CT||5-2||8-2|
|Princeton University Tigers||Princeton NJ||4-3||5-5|
|Brown University Bears||Providence RI||3-4||5-5|
|University of Pennsylvania Quakers||Philadelphia PA||2-5||2-8|
|Cornell University Big Red||Ithaca NY||1-6||1-9|
|Columbia University Lions||New York NY||0-7||0-10|
The Ivy League, obviously, is different. They eschew the post-season, they don't start their season until two weeks after everyone else takes the field, they only play ten games, and of course they disallow scholarships. What would happen if Harvard suited up against North Dakota State? We'll never know; we can only guess. (Carnage, probably.)
What we do know is that there were only two teams in all of college football to go unbeaten last year, and Harvard was one of them. The Crimson are the strong favorite this year in the Ivy, picking up 11 of the 17 first-place votes in the league's preseason media poll. Dartmouth picked up four first-place nods and is a clear second, while Yale garnered one to come in third. Princeton narrowly edged Brown for fourth despite Brown receiving the final first-place ballot. Penn followed, well behind, and traling off at the back end are the two New York schools -- and, in somewhat of a surprise, it's Columbia barely beating Cornell for the seventh spot.
No preseason teams for the Ivy League, and nobody transfers in from FBS squads, so we lose two sections per team and a lot of italics.
All-Ivy selections (total, gone/returning): 18 (8/10)
Key losses: QB Conner Hempel (804 yards, 6 TD/0 INT), RB Andrew Casten (457/8), TE Tyler Hamblin, OL Nick Easton, DLz Zack Hodges (9.5 TFL/8.5 sacks) and Obum Obukwelu, LB Connor Sheehan, DB Norman Hayes
Key returnees: QB Scott Hosch (1428, 8/7), RBs Paul Stanton, Jr. (990 yards/11 TD) and Semar Smith (370/1), WR/RS Andrew Fischer (677/3), TE Anthony Firkser (485/4), OLs Cole Toner and Adam Redmond, DL James Duberg, LBs Jacob Lindsey (63 tackles) and Eric Medes (61 T), DBs Sean Ahern and Chris Evans (19 PD)
Hempel missed a month last year; Hosch stepped in and the Crimson kept winning. There are some losses here, but Harvard did a great job of spreading the burden around both on offense and defense, and none of the losses is individually devastating. In other words, the Crimson aren't going to have to depend on supernatural talents to replace them. And that is why they're still the favorites.
All-Ivy selections: 16 (6/10)
Key losses: WR/PR Ryan McManus (879/8), WR Bo Patterson (424/5), OLs Sean Ronan and Scotty Whitmore, DL Evan Chrustic, DB Troy Donahue (4 INT), KR Kirby Schoenthaler (28.6 avg)
Key returnees: QB Dalyn Williams (2119, 21/3; 444/6 rushing), RB Kyle Bramble (655/5), WRs Victor Williams (358/3) and Kyle Bramble (307/5), OL Jacob Flores, DLs A.J. Zuttah and Cody Fullerton, LBs Will McNamara (87 T) and Zach Slafsky, DB Vernon Harris, K Alex Gakenheimer, P Ben Kepley
Defensively, Dartmouth was much like Harvard last year; no true standouts individually, just a very solid unit. They also didn't lose much. On offense, however, the Green are going to have to get more production from their returning receivers to make up for the loss of McManus. But Williams is a solid talent at quarterback, and Dartmough will prosper this fall.
All-Ivy selections: 14 (7/7)
Key losses: RB Tyler Varga (1423/22), WRs Grant Wallace (1139/5) and Deon Randall (929/6), OL Ben Carbery, LB Charles Cook (9.5 TFL), K Kyle Cazzetta
Key returnees: QB Morgan Roberts (3230, 22/9), RB Candler Rich (502/2), TE Lee Haenni, OL Luke Longinotti, DL Copache Tyler, DBs Foyesade Oluokun (79 T), Dale Harris (18 PD), and Cole Champion
Yale is going to slide. The return of Roberts is a good thing, but he lost both of his main targets and Varga, the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year. Those losses are massive, and none of those three talents is going to be easily replaced. Yale's defense was also soft last year; they don't lose a lot, but the Elis didn't have that much to lose anyway, giving up over 400 yards a game.
All-Ivy selections: 12 (3/9)
Key losses: QBs Connor Michelsen (1507, 8/3; 244/12 rushing) and Quinn Epperly (981, 4/4), RB Will Powers (406/4), WRs Connor Kelley (683/4) and Matt Costello (530/4), LB Mike Zeuli (87 T/16.5 TFL)
Key returnees: RB DiAndre Atwater (484/1), WR James Frusciante (334/1), TE Scott Carpenter, OL Britt Colcolough, DL Tyler Desire, LB Rohan Hylton (11.5 TFL), DBs Dorian Williams (76 T) and Anthony Gaffney, K Nolan Bleck (13-14 FG/30-30 PAT), P Tyler Roth, RS Dre Nelson
Princeton's offense is shredded, with the quarterback race wide open. The Tigers' leading rusher and top two receivers are gone as well, although there are experienced players ready to step in at both positions. The loss of Zeuli, the co-Defensive POY, is a bad thing, but there are significant talents returning on defense. Princeton appears to be in a bit of a holding pattern this year.
All-Ivy selections: 9 (6/3)
Key losses: WRs Brian Strachan (668/7) and WR Reilley Higgins (438/3), OL Nicholas Codres, LB Xavier Russo (80 T/5 sacks), DBs Pat O'Neill (17 PD) and Jacob Supron
Key returnees: QBs Marcus Fuller (2618, 15/7) and Seth Rosenbauer (2 incomplete passes, but 382/5 rushing), RB Andrew Coke (516/5), WRs Troy Doles (460/2) and Alex Jette (391/3), OL John Helle, DL Chad Berry, LBs Michael Walsh (47 T) and Ryan MacDonald
The Bears have a confusing profile. Looked at from one angle, they had the second-best defense in the Ivy behind only Harvard, and only lose one player with huge impact in Russo. On the other, Russo was so much more productive than anyone else on the defense that his loss has to hurt. Add to that the departures of Strachan and Higgins, which will hamstring a somewhat middling offense, and you can see how Brown's been picked to finish fifth. But you can also see why someone called them to win the league. The reality's probably in the middle; we'd suggest Brown will take fourth place, and might even push Yale.
All-Ivy selections: 6 (5/1)
Key losses: WRs Spencer Kulcsar (884/4) and Conner Scott (507/3), TE Ryan O'Malley, DB Evan Jackson (79 T)
Key returnees: QB Alek Torgersen (2689, 14/11), RB Brian Schoenauer (206/1), WR Justin Watson (497/2), LB Tyler Drake (58 T/8.5 TFL/6 sacks), DB Kevin Ijoma (16 PD)
Penn wasn't a good team last year, and they lose their two main receiving threats. The Quakers also have nothing to speak of in the backfield. The defense wasn't really damaged by graduation, but then they gave up over 470 yards a game last year as it is. Let's just say that in Philadelphia, folks should be glad Columbia and Cornell exist.
All-Ivy selections: 3 (0/3)
Key losses: WR Ryan Flannery (421/2), DB Malcolm Thaxton (22 PD)
Key returnees: QB Trevor McDonagh (1349, 8/12), RB Cameron Molina (460/3; 395/0 receiving), DL Niko Padilla, LB Toba Akinleye (71 T/7 TFL)
Columbia should be ever so slightly better than they were last year, thanks to returning their backfield and having at least one decent playmaker in the front seven. The media picked Columbia to pass Cornell this year, but that seems more a function of Cornell only beating the Lions by three at Columbia last year; Cornell looks better on paper. Maybe the media thinks that the resignation of Pete Mangurian, and his replacement by former Penn legend Al Bagnoli, will lift the Lions out of the cellar. It's not an unreasonable proposition; Bagnoli is the winningest coach in the history of FCS and has an all-time coaching record of 234-99. He's going to get that 100th loss quickly, though.
All-Ivy selections: 4 (0/4)
Key losses: WR Lucas Shapiro (403/3)
Key returnees: QBs Robert Somborn (1093, 9/3) and Jake Jatis (467, 3/6), RB Luke Hagy (734/4), WR Colin Shaw (520/4), OL Zach Wilk, LBs Miles Norris (71 T/7 TFL) and J.J. Fives (7.5 TFL), DB Nick Gesualdi (4 INT), P Chris Fraser (41.7 avg)
Somborn and Jatis both missed time due to injury, and will fight it out in camp for QB1. Cornell was bad, and their only win (as noted) was at Columbia, but they aren't losing very much at all and they do have some talent. The media was wrong to pick them last, and they may even slide past Penn into sixth.
Game of the Year
It's not The Game this year, although the season-ending tilt between the Crimson and Elis is always fun. The conference title this year will likely be decided on Friday, October 30, at Harvard when Dartmouth drops in for a three-hour chat.
We delve into week eleven of the Big 12 schedule and preview the Colonial Athletic Association, home of the team which was actually ranked #1 heading into last year's playoffs: New Hampshire.