Category Archives: Delaware

Remembering Lehigh’s Battles With The Late Tubby Raymond

(Photo Credits: Delaware Online)

When I heard the news Tubby Raymond, legendary Delaware head football coach, died last week at the age of 92, two immediate memories came rushing back to me.

One occurred on October 16th, 1999, when Tubby had made a complaint to the local paper or radio in the run-up to Kevin Higgins' Mountain Hawks beating his Blue Hens on Delaware's homecoming, 42-35.

I have no idea if the quote even actually happened, but my recollection is that Tubby said that Lehigh had "St. Bartholomew's" on their schedule, and hadn't played anybody.  It was a verbal jab that many Delaware fans took with them to the stands to heckle the Mountain Hawk fans that made the short trip to Newark.

Up until that point, I had watched a bunch of Lehigh football games over the years.  I experienced their rise in the 1990s.  I enjoyed wins, and championships, and playoff victories.

But never had I felt a win so viscerally vindicating than the one over Tubby Raymond's team - a win that might have kept the Blue Hens out of the playoffs that year, and might have allowed Lehigh to squeeze into the playoffs at 10-1 with a precious at-large bid.  (And they did it on homecoming!  Homecoming!  "It was one of the most enjoyable wins I've ever had," Higgins said years afterwards.)

The other memory that came rushing back was the run-up to Delaware's home I-AA playoff football game a year later.  I remember the visceral excitement that I had that Lehigh was going to have a chance to beat Delaware twice in two years at their place.  And I was looking in the newspaper for what Tubby Raymond had to say about Lehigh.  Nothing.

And Tubby's 2001 team simply shut up, and hit Lehigh in the mouth repeatedly in a 47-22 rout that wasn't as close as the final score might indicate.  When RB Antawn Jenkins dove over a Lehigh player into the end zone to punctuate Delaware's 33rd unanswered point after Lehigh briefly went up 10-7, I felt like I was smashed in the mouth, and I wasn't even suited up.

After the game, Tubby was hugely respectful to the Mountain Hawks, turning from Disney villain to charmer in a single stroke.  "We ought to play Lehigh every year," he said, favorably comparing the Mountain Hawks to any team on their Atlantic 10 schedule.  "It's a great game and a great national rivalry."

And that was Tubby Raymond, in a nutshell to Lehigh players, coaches and fans - a mixture of competitive verbal needling (that sometimes cut close to the bone), enough so that you wanted to see him beat more than any head football coach in America.  He tended to back up the talk with excellent teams - when Lehigh teams beat Delaware, these were not ordinary wins - they were gems, and when the Mountain Hawks lost to his teams, they were crushing.  And then, when the clock read 0:00, win or lose, Tubby would say something that made it hurt just a little bit less, allow you to regroup, and make you want to circle Delaware on the schedule for next year.

I never had the honor of meeting Tubby Raymond, but he had an awful lot to do with my passion for Lehigh football, and for that I am grateful for him.
Read more »

Like A Zombie, The WAC Could Indeed Rise from the Dead

Recently, I wrote an entire article about how the way the NCAA allows schools to become FBS is broken.

It turns out I had no idea exactly how broken until I was guided towards the Idaho Vandals Football Consultant report, helpfully posted in full on the University of Idaho's website.

In that report, one of the possible avenues that Idaho was mulling over was to join the WAC.

I was confused - the WAC had stopped sponsoring FBS football long ago, a couple of years after then-commissioner Karl Benson finished his uncanny impersonation of Baghdad Bob in regards to saving FBS football for that conference - only to leave his job to take over at the Sun Belt Conference.

But it turns out, after a fresh read of the NCAA rulebook, it is indeed true.

Like a bad horror movie, the zombified WAC football conference could indeed resurrect itself - and, in the process, shows how royally screwed up this system of FCS and FBS movement really is.
Read more »

My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 11/4/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 11/4/2013 follows below the flip.

But first, check out this great picture from the crazy Delaware/Towson game this weekend, courtesy of Towson Athletics.

Three times, Towson had a chance to put away Delaware up by 2 touchdowns.  Three times, the Tigers didn't convert.

With 4 minutes, 19 seconds left in the third quarter, Towson (8-2 overall and 4-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association) had a chance to pad a 28-10 advantage, but senior PK Drew Evangelista’s field-goal attempt from 33 yards banged off the left upright. 
On the ensuing possession, Tigers LB Monte Gaddis put enough pressure on Blue Hens senior QB Trevor Sasek to incite him to float a deep pass that junior CB Tye Smith intercepted at Towson’s 26-yard line. Smith wove his way 74 yards into the end zone, but the Tigers were flagged for clipping, which nullified the touchdown with 2:27 remaining. 
And on Delaware’s penultimate series of the contest, Sasek severely underthrew junior WR Michael Johnson on second down-and-2 at Towson’s 16, but Smith dropped a sure interception that would have led to the Tigers cementing a 31-17 lead.
Instead, Delaware would rally from 22 points down in the fourth quarter to escape Johnny Unitas stadium with a 32-31 victory, stunning the Towson crowd.  You could say everything about this win for Delaware was Lehigh-esque: from the amazing second half comeback from three scores down to the stunned silence from Johnny Unitas stadium, the same one that Lehigh delivered in 2011 in their 40-38 playoff victory.

Read more »

My Vote for the FCS Top 25, 9/30/2013

My vote for the FCS Top 25 for the week ending 9/23/2013 follows below the flip.

But first, by all means, enjoy this great shot of a big Top 25 game last week, McNeese State at Northern Iowa.  (Photo Credit: Matthew Putney/The Waterloo Courier)

The picture tells the story of the game pretty well, as the Panthers in the UNI Dome took apart McNeese, 41-6.  In my poll last week, both were Top 10 teams.  Not this week, though I didn't drop the Cowboys too far.

Read more »

CFB Week 5 Lehigh Fan Viewing Guide


It's that time of the week where I share with you your weekly Lehigh fan viewing guide for Week 5of the college football season.  Why go to website after website when all the information you need is right here?

This week's FCS Top 20 Clash at Murray Goodman will by broadcast on Service Electric 2 with Mike Zambelli, Mike Yadush and Al DiCarlo as the announcers.  For those not in the Lehigh Valley it will also be streamed for free on the Patriot League Network.

And I'll be listenting to the pregame on ESPN 1230 and 1320 of the Lehigh Valley, too, with Tom Fallon, Matt Kerr and Matt Markus.  That will also be live streamed here.

Read more »

Why Can’t FCS Conferences Move As A Unit To FBS?

Unless you've been living under a rock the last five years, you've probably heard about "realignment", or, as I like to call it, "realignmentageddon", in Division I athletics.

Led by Nebraska's departure from the Big XII to the Big 10, the dominoes have tumbles all through Division I, directly affecting pretty much every conference's membership with the exception of the Ivy League.

Central to "realignmentageddon" is football, whose value to television executives is broadly accepted as the reasons why, say, Rutgers and Maryland abandoned decades-long relationships with their old conferences in order to get larger chunks of TV money.

But why is it only individual schools?  Why wouldn't a conference which currently sponsors FCS football just decide, one day, to become an FBS conference?

The short answer is: the NCAA rulebook is written than way.

But the long answer is that the NCAA rulebook, essentially, forces the current FCS and FBS conferences to stay the way things are.
Read more »

Sunday’s, Monday’s, Tuesday’s Word: Sandy

(Photo Credit: CNN)

The bye weekend is always a weird weekend, mainly due to the fact that there's no football game to recap, no game to travel to, no undefeated record on the line.

It was made weirder, too, by "Sandy".

The epic "Frankenstorm" - as it's been dubbed - that was headed towards my house and the Lehigh Valley ultimately dwarfed my weekend, even pushing - gasp! - football to one side as I frantically did everything to get the house prepared for the storm.

It seemed to parallel a similar storm that hit a couple top teams in FCS - thus making, for the time being, the Mountain Hawks the only undefeated team in all of FCS.
Read more »