Category Archives: Patriot League

The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 1, Holy Cross

The pie-eating contests were what I loved the best about the Worcester Patsy Parties.

Maybe it was the Purple People Eater moniker, the fact that they coincided with a particularly busy party weekend, it wasn't abundantly clear, but they always made for a great shindig.

I remembered the undergrads, lined up, eating the blueberry pies one after another.  It never ended well, but for some reason all the unsuspecting young people, waiting for the starting gun to go off, made me smile, as if they didn't know what they were really getting into.

It wasn't just about the pies: there was all sorts of great food and drink there: the blueberry crush cocktails, of which I had too many on multiple occasions, stood out.

Today, however, the only crush experienced in the offices were the ones of Holy Cross' Patsy Rating spreadsheets hitting me in the head.

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Patriot League Media Day: Duffy: "No Congratulations Are Needed"

(Photo Credit: Brown and White)

With this year's Patriot League Media Day being a Patriot League Media Conference call instead, the opportunity is there for media folks to tweet out things like preseason all-Conference lists and the preseason polls.

When the league posted their preseason all-Patriot League team, unsurprisingly there were seven Lehigh football players on it, one of whom was senior OL Zach Duffy.

I sent out a tweet congratulating the seven - Duffy, junior RB Dom Bragalone, junior P/K Ed Mish, senior OL Tim O'Hara, senior WR Gatlin Casey, senior WR Troy Pelletier, and senior DE Tyler Cavenas - and almost immediately Zach responded.
In the span of a tweet, Zach established immediately that re-reading one's press clippings from the 2016 season is not something this 2017 edition of the Lehigh football team will be doing.  They'll be judged on accomplishments, not preseason all-Conference teams.
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The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 2, Lafayette

Frank Tavani always made sure the Patsies were celebrated in downtown Easton.

Perhaps it was the Bourger Field House needing an event to host in February when the men's wrestling team was out of town, or that field hockey practice was finishing up - the shindigs that Bourger fielded back in those days were great.

All that steak, not overcooked, was barbecued outside, filling the Eastonian air with charred meats usually only present during Lafayette/Lehigh week.  Many students would come up - giving up their vegan diets, maybe just this one time - to eat beautiful steak sandwiches, and to sip delicious Coke under huge cardboard cutouts of their beloved head coach.

Today, Lafayette has a new head football coach, and so far there's no Coke billboards with head coach John Garrett on them.  And there was no smell of steak as the Committee got the folder filled with the printouts of Lafayette's Patsy Ratings class.

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The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 3, Lehigh

Where were you during the last Patsy Party at Lehigh?

It coincided with morning cocktails, I think - the actual memory is hazy, a gauzy film hanging over the proceedings like Vaseline over the eyelids.

It involved neon - a very large amount of neon, as Lehigh's incoming class was announced in the morning, lights on Murray Goodman's video scoreboard.  (The neon light, I think, came from the generator trucked into the stadium to fuel the temporary lights and scoreboard, of course.)

The actual party I was actually able to recreate through my Flickr feed on my phone.  Somewhere, there was a printout of several "LFN Drinks of the week" and a 1962 Freshman Dink dyed neon purple, probably because the undergrads at the time didn't think Brown and White was an appropriate color for the party.  And there was the blue curacao, of course, which made one of the concoctions that I don't exactly remember.

Today, there is no blue curacao as the thin, typewritten letter with the "Lehigh" letterhead came to the Committee's door.  Somewhere, a microwave rang out as the steel-cut oatmeal reheated from yesterday was complete.

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The 2017 Patsy Ratings: T4, Fordham

I remembered the time when I ate the linguine at Dominick's.

It was back when the Yankees were good.  Before we knew that Alex Rodriguez was Alex Rodriguez, and when Fordham blew away all comers to have one of the best classes of the year.

It wasn't a party with a lot of music - just a huge, family style table with a bunch of Committee members and a really nice Chianti.

We thought we saw Jeter come in, though we weren't certain.  Maybe it was Kevin Eakin, we weren't sure.  But we were knee-deep in the pasta and four glasses in, so it was really all a sort-of blur.  Jokes about the Jumbo Points we just earned kept everyone laughing.

The enjoyment of that meal seemed a bit far away after seeing Fordham's report show up in a manila envelope marked "Fordham".  There seemed to be an effort to have the envelope be neat and crisp, at least.

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The 2017 Patsy Ratings: T4, Fordham

I remembered the time when I ate the linguine at Dominick's.

It was back when the Yankees were good.  Before we knew that Alex Rodriguez was Alex Rodriguez, and when Fordham blew away all comers to have one of the best classes of the year.

It wasn't a party with a lot of music - just a huge, family style table with a bunch of Committee members and a really nice Chianti.

We thought we saw Jeter come in, though we weren't certain.  Maybe it was Kevin Eakin, we weren't sure.  But we were knee-deep in the pasta and four glasses in, so it was really all a sort-of blur.  Jokes about the Jumbo Points we just earned kept everyone laughing.

The enjoyment of that meal seemed a bit far away after seeing Fordham's report show up in a manila envelope marked "Fordham".  There seemed to be an effort to have the envelope be neat and crisp, at least.

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The 2017 Patsy Ratings: T4, Georgetown

I remembered the Patsy Parties around Blues Alley.

The Hoyas, who have never won a Patriot League championship in football, have had more of an up-and-down record in the history of the Patsies.  And during one of those wins, Blues Alley was the place to be.

Rounds of Seafood Gumbo for all, along with a huge platter of red beans and rice.  Earth Wind and Fire - crashing Blues Alley during the Patsies - belting out "September" in front of a packed club.  They were treasured memories for all.

And then there was today, when some paper-clipped printouts were slid under the door in the Committee's offices.  Earth, Wind and Fire never seemed so far away.

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The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 6, Bucknell

The smell of aged buffalo meat wafted through his imagination.

It was some prior incarnation of the Patsies, and it was Burger Day.  Flown in from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, they were the best bison burger meat the Big Sky had to offer, along with bonus buffalo milk cheddar slices.  The silky-tasting burgers, with the melted buffalo cheddar on fresh brioche, was a treasured memory.  Even the grilled mushrooms on the top seemed opulent in some way.

He also remembered the Bison's mascot, sitting down on the bench, awaiting the announcement of Bucknell's recruiting classes, Bucknell students waiting with baited breath hearing each name.

(Or perhaps they were in Sojka Pavillion for Midnight Madness, or a midweek game versus Loyola.  It's all a bit hazy.)

Nonetheless, it was still jarring to see a folder with coffee cup rings on it, "BUCKNELL" written on it in Sharpie and some numbers crossed out on it.  What happened?  Where were the burgers?

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The 2017 Patsy Ratings: No. 7, Colgate

I had grown accustomed to the fanfare around the Patsy ratings.

I remembered that year when the Committee had Pitbull perform right by the pool, announcing the winner of that year's Patsies - the Colgate Red Raiders, he erroneously said (by then, they had rebranded to just "Raiders". )

The Walking Dead-colored mascot clad in Maroon embraced Pitbull as the fireworks exploded all around the pool.  The champagne flowed.  Caviar was consumed.  Shoe pastry was eaten.  "Colgate, we were born to be free," Pitbull ad-libbed.

What a difference compared to this year.

The Patsies came in a brown paper bag, thrown under the door of the Committee's offices.  Granted, the bag was thick - it appeared that they indeed did research, more so than the Pitbull years, it seems.  But the fanfare was gone.  All that was left were the numbers.

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2016 Season In Review: Mountain Hawks Complete Five Year Trek To Patriot League Championship

Kids come to play football at Lehigh because they want their games to matter.

They come to Lehigh willing to sacrifice so much, because they want to win games, of course, but they also play the game in order to win championships - Patriot League Championships.

They want those rings.

Sure, they get to square off against the Villanova's, James Madison's and New Hampshire's of the FCS world to measure themselves against the best of their division.  And they get to participate in the nation's most played Rivalry in all of college football, putting them in an elite club of players and into college football history.

All of those things are very important, of course, and allow them great playing memories and, in the case of the Lafayette game, perennial bragging rights.  

But 2015's heartbreak in Hamilton, the 49-42 loss to Colgate, really hurt on a fundamental level for this Lehigh team.  When that senior class was recruited, one of the things that is a part of the deal is that the Mountain Hawks have won Patriot League championships at least once in every four year span.  Until, that is, the class of 2016, though they came agonizingly close several times.

That disappointment seemed to inform this year's team, which also had a couple of fifth-year seniors in senior WR Derek Knott and senior ROV Laquan Lambert, that so many of last year's team didn't get the chance at the championship rings that they ended up earning this season.  

It informed them all the way to a championship, and rings.
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