Archive For November 28, 2012
If you’ve been following collegiate athletics like I have, you’ve undoubtedly seen the latest news flying around this week as colleges have been dumping long-standing conferences like, apparently, top military brass have been dumping husbands and wives.
Maryland abandons the ACC, a conference which they’ve called home for 50 years, to join the Big 10, for little other reason than cash money to bail out their near-bankrupt athletics department. Rutgers abandons the Big East, a conference which they’ve called home for more than 20 years, to join the Big 10, for little other reason than cash money to fund their struggling athletics department.
From there, all hell has broken loose, as Louisville has leapt to the ACC to replace Maryland, while the Big East seems convinced that East Carolina and Tulane are acceptable replacements for the Cardinals and Scarlet Knights, and the forgotten conferences of FBS, Conference USA and the Sun Belt, reshuffle their deck chairs to refill their conference with new members as the Big East poached Tulane and East Carolina.
From the perspective of this reporter who clings to academics when it comes athletics, it’s awfully depressing viewing to watch.
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Happy belated Thanksgiving to all. Below are 5 quick observations from LU’s first 5 games. We’ll give you 3 Ups and 2 Downs, to match the LU record. 3 UPs 1.) CJ – It is hard to believe that CJ has gotten better, again, but that is what he has done for the Brown &…
By now you’ve heard Lehigh was not selected as an at-large team to the FCS playoffs, despite their 10-1 record.
While most years, most Lehigh fans, including myself, would pull ourselves together, accept our fate, and then pull together and root for Colgate to make a run to Frisco, this year it hasn’t been the case.
There is still a lot of bitterness out there. And I know why.
It is not just the function of one playoff snub.
It is the mounting evidence over the last couple of years that Lehigh, and by extension the rest of the Patriot League, is a part of FCS, but not really.
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(Photo Credit: Express-Times)
For their end-of-the-season awards, the Patriot League released their postseason all-Patriot League teams for both academics and athletics, and unsurprisingly, Lehigh athletes put plenty of athletes on both lists.
Seven Lehigh athletes made the first team offense and defense: senior WR Ryan Spadola, senior OL Mike Vuono made it on offense, and senior DT Sajjad Chagani, senior DE Tom Bianchi, senior LB Billy Boyko, senior CB Gabe Johnson and senior FS Billy O’Brien cracked the first team.
Senior QB Mike Colvin, senior LB Sam Loughery, junior LB Nigel Muhammad and sophomore OL Ned Daryoush all made the Patriot League second team, while Spadola and senior RB Zach Barket made the more important list: the Patriot League All-Academic team.
More academic awards and athletic awards await, but congratulations on these awesome Lehigh athletes for what they’ve accomplished.
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With Lehigh’s season being over, thoughts have started to come towards the Mountain Hawks’ 2013 football schedule, as people start to wonder if the shots from across the nation about having a “soft schedule” might have any traction again next season.
The answer is that Lehigh will be playing ten of the eleven teams they played last season – with one crucial exception. A road game at Liberty will be replaced with a home game against a team that arguably was the team that kept Lehigh out of the field, New Hampshire.
Lehigh won ten Division I games this year, something that only three other schools managed this season.
Only one, North Dakota State, was the autobid champions of their conference; the other two, Old Dominion and Montana State, not only made the FCS Playoff field of 20 with ease, they were seeded as one of the Top 5 teams in the country.
Lehigh won their final game of the year against their bitter rivals, Lafayette, in impressive fashion, winning 38-21, a three-score victory.
In contrast, FCS playoff participants New Hampshire, Illinois State, and Wofford lost their games by three scores or more, to Towson, North Dakota State, and FBS South Carolina, respectively. ( The Wildcats, in fact, gave up 64 points for the second time this season, falling 64-35 to a team, Towson, that Lehigh beat in the first round of the playoffs last season.)
Lehigh went 10-1 on the season, and even led at halftime over the eventual Patriot League champions, Colgate, before falling in the second half. The 35-24 game, won by the Raiders, was a big-time, championship, hard-fought game, that was eminently visible to anyone who actually watched it.
The FCS playoff committee, though, apparently thought the Mountain Hawks needed to be perfect in order to make it in the field.
And that’s “unfair” – to the fans of the FCS playoffs.
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(Photo Credit: Facebook/Will Rackley)
Down 14-3 and 21-10, early on it looked like Lehigh’s playoff hopes, already dimmed by the Mountain Hawks’ loss to Colgate, might be done in completely at the hands of their bitter rivals, who were looking for their first win over Lehigh after being unsuccessful in their last four tries.
Then Lehigh put together their best half of football of the year.
Scoring 28 unanswered points, and shutting out the Leopards in the second half, the Mountain Hawks finished the regular season with a resounding 38-21 victory.
Ultimately, it wasn’t enough to get to the postseason, even though it would have been for the first time since the playoffs expanded to 20 teams that a team with 10 Division I wins would not qualify for the FCS playoffs.
But that shouldn’t obscure a fantastic effort by Lehigh’s class of 2013 to stay undefeated against “That School in Easton” and their achievement of being only the 10th team in school history to break the 10 win barrier.
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(Photo Credit: Joe Gill/The Express-Times)(Note: I wrote this two years ago after Lehigh beat Lafayette in an impressive defensive struggle in the Mountain Hawks’ last trip to Fisher Field. The “more” link takes you to the rest of the original ar…
We break down the Lafayette game – and we give our fearless prediction, below the flip.
Checking Twitter and Facebook is not exactly an exact science when it comes to trying to gauge how fired up a team, or a fan base, is.
After a slow start to the trash talk for the 148th meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette, though, there’s evidence that the Hate is making a late-week rally as the sheer inevitability of the Rivalry game tomorrow has built the tension.
Still, the biggest question for both Lehigh and Lafayette is: Which team will show up for four quarters?
If there’s one consistent theme from both sides, it’s that people have been waiting for both teams to play four quarters of well-executed football. Will either be able to do so?
Since becoming an undergrad at Lehigh back in the late 1980s, I first heard about the historic nature of the football team and “The Rivalry” through the stories that fellow students would share.
I did not attend the final meeting between Lehigh and Lafayette at Taylor Stadium, which was the final time a football game would be played there.
Those that did attend said that was that it was cold.
“I remember it being one of the coldest games ever,” Mark Redmann recollected, “with strong Northwesterly winds and the temperature hovering around 20. By the end of the game, the stands were half empty because most of the fans just couldn’t take the cold.
“Fortunately, several of my fraternity brothers snuck in flasks to help fend off the chill.”
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