Some thoughts following Harvard's 31-17 win over
Georgetown this past
1. Yes, They're That Good. Maybe it's the 31-2 record over the past three seasons. or that its starting QB, a fourth year rookie, was 15 of his first 20 passes, Or that a team had more first downs (25) than points (24) by halftime. Harvard isn't
Alabama, but for its place
in the college football firmament it's as good as it gets.
That's a tribute and a testament to Tim Murphy, who has re-written the Crimson record books, but who is not beyond criticism from fans who accuse him of padding the record with soft opponents like...well,
"I battled rush hour traffic to get to Harvard Stadium, to sit in the rain and watch the Crimson only to find out that the best offensive weapon... wasn't playing," said a fan at a popular Ivy League message board, adding, " [He] wasn't dressed because we were playing [a JV team]...You get to see your new young players get their feet wet early but I just can't take another game vs JV Georgie like last night. Harvard used it like a scrimmage and if you can do that against any team then I don't want to be playing [them]."
There is a perception that
Georgetown is a second class opponent across
the Ivies, academically and athletically. Never mind that Georgetown has split
its last eight games with six of the Ancient Eight, but it's a combined 0-9 versus
Harvard and Yale and 0-10 is a fair conclusion a year from now when the Harvard
series wraps up (the series will not extend past 2017). there are Harvard fans
who ask why the crimson can't play a New Hampshire,
a Delaware, or
how about that team down Commonwealth
Avenue it hasn't seen since 1944. Its record
versus ? 3-0-1. Boston College
"Each one of our forty two Division I varsity sports has a special story to tell, all in a special place in our history," Murphy said. "But the flagship sport at Harvard is Harvard football, and the biggest event on campus is the Harvard-Yale game."
could aspire thusly. It doesn't mean it can't be great at basketball, or track,
or lacrosse. But football has a place on this campus that remains understated
and somewhat underappreciated, and if a coach can get an a self-important campus
in Cambridge to take football seriously,
certainly it can happen in Washington.
2. Make or Break? There's an argument to be made that this week's game with
is the most important game of the year. Not that Patriot league games aren't
important, though given Georgetown's
seat at that table, but they aren't make or break. Or not that a win versus Lehigh
or Fordham wouldn't be big. But the Princeton
game comes at a crucial time of the schedule where the offense has gone silent.
Save for two long runs versus Harvard, the Hoyas have generated a total of 110
yards over the last six quarters of play. The running game is non-existent and
there is a real likelihood that a sophomore makes his first start at QB if Tim Barnes's
shoulder injury proves unworkable. The same Columbia
team that came up short against the Hoyas was routed by Princeton,
Win this game and the Hoyas move to 4-1. The following two games are admittedly prohibitive--
is 0-15 against Lehigh since joining the PL, and hasn't won at Fordham since
1974. A fourth win keeps hope to sneak a win over a Lafayette, a Holy Cross, a
Bucknell after its October gauntlet. A bad loss Saturday sets the skids that a
young team might not recover from.
3. Future Schedules: As discussed above, the Harvard series ends in 2017. What is the status of
non-conference schedule over the next few years?
As Ivy teams go, the Hoyas get three in 2017, a mirror of 2016: at
Columbia, Harvard, and at Princeton. The list drops to two in 2018 ( Columbia, at Dartmouth) and
two in 2019 (at Columbia,
at Cornell). The football office doesn't talk about who else is on the
schedule, though it's likely full through 2021 of 2022. Sadly, it's likely to
have its share of Davidsons and Marists. Much like the aforementioned Harvard fan who
would like to see the Crimson schedule up, Georgetown should, at the least, consider it.
My top five picks for a non-conference "play-up game" in any one year:
1. Villanova. A built-in rivalry, an opponent
Georgetown alumni would recognize from the start...unlike,
2. Howard: Nothing like a locally promoted DC game, but Howard remains uninterested.
A series that would be great for both schools. The previous two game tour was
one-sided (Quakers, 69-20) but it's worth pursuing.
4. Army: Not there yet, but they're playing other PL schools and the experience for the GU kids would be special.
5. Swing For The Fences:
College, a team that is reasonably
competitive with Georgetown in football, has played
the following schools in the last four years: Florida Atlantic, Syracuse, Rice, and Brigham
Young. This season; and UMass. To no surprise,
they're 0-6 to date, losing 42-10 to the Eagles two weeks ago. Does Boston
College Georgetown have to go
that deep? No, but taking a step up every few years raises interest and
expectations. It's doesn't have to be a big-time program, but one that opens
some doors for recruits and for fans.
Sunken logs are not stepping stones.
4. Strike Up the Band: The Harvard band sounded great in the corners of Harvard Stadium, with the echoes coming down from the colonnades. On the field, less so. Scramble bands are self-indulgent and not very musical. Having an orator read a rambling essay as the band prepares for some 30 second song is silly.
Don't expect much more from Princeton if their band makes it to
Here's last week's halftime show. (And no, I don't get it.)
Because orange never works in Washington.