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Ivy League play of the week won again last week to run our season record to 2-0. Lehigh dominated Harvard, ending the Crimson's SU win streak at 13 games. This week's Ivy League play of the week could also see another winning streak end, albeit not nearly as long as Harvard's impressive run.

COLGATE +9 over Princeton

(Note: This line has since moved to +7)

10/8/05

 

An important concept to keep in mind when handicapping the Ivy League, or any other 1-AA football matchup for that matter, is that the level of parity among the smaller colleges is much greater than in 1-A. There are a few really exceptional teams, and a few really bad teams, but the talent level in between is much more even than in 1-A football. For that reason, its essential to look for spots to play underdogs. And don't be surprised when a number of fairly high priced dogs not only cover, but win outright.

Princeton has opened the season 3-0 for the second straight year. They opened their season with two close wins against Lafayette and San Diego before dominating an overmatched Columbia squad. They have the #6 and #7 ranked rushers in the Ivy League in Cleo Kirkland and Rob Teresco. They've used their solid rushing game, combined with a decent defense and aren't a team that will pull out a lot of surprises.

Ironically, the situation for this game this year is almost identical to last year. Princeton started the season 3-0 and had the #6 and #7 ranked rushers in the Ivy League before meeting Colgate, and the Raiders won the game outright 29-26. The Tigers then went into a 4 game tailspin. The series has been a very toughly fought affair of late-two of the last three head to head have been determined on the final drive-but Colgate has won 4 of the L5 games outright. Colgate has done very well against Ivy League opponents of late, running up a 25-5 SU record during the past ten years.

Colgate is almost a mirror image of their opponents in terms of strategy, with a strong defense combined with a rapidly improving running game. Freshman Jordan Scott became the "go to guy" in the backfield last week, running for 148 yards against Cornell.

Basically, this game is a dead even matchup in which we're getting more than a touchdown with the underdog. The linesmaker is giving far too much respect to Princeton's 3-0 record relative to Colgate's hard fought 2-2 mark against a much tougher schedule. Princeton's defensive numbers-like their 13.7 ppg allowed-look a lot better than they really are due to their 43-3 domination of Columbia. Throw out that game and they've got two wins by a total of 5 points. One win against a solid Lafayette team can be categorized as a "quality win", but they also had a dogfight with a rebuilding San Diego team that they should have handled easily.

Colgate is a very good football program. They've won 30 of their L37 games SU, and 16 of their L23 non conference games. This game will most likely be a low scoring, tightly contested affair determined by a FG or less. And at the end it'll be déjà vu all over again as Colgate wins outright as a +9 dog to put the kibosh on Princeton's undefeated season.

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