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The Prophet’s Ivy League Play of the Week:
Our Ivy League Play of the Week got off to a nice start last week with an easy win on Brown. The Bears did everything right except pull off the outright win, losing by 3 to Harvard in double OT. As far as we were concerned, however, the game was over at the end of regulation as the +10’ points we had with Brown already had us in the winner’s circle. In some ways the outright win was to our advantage, as I’ve got a theory that Harvard will continue to be overvalued until their straight up winning streak—now at 13 games—comes to an end. And like last week, Harvard will be hard pressed to keep that run going another week. Which leads us to our Ivy League Play of the Week for October 1st:
+5 over Harvard
Harvard ran their straight up winning streak to 13 games with a double OT victory over Brown last weekend, and they’re feeling it in Cambridge. Riots broke out, cars were overturned, and a number of drunken Harvard fans were observed yelling “We want USC” in reference to Southern California, who holds the only winning streak in Division I longer than the Crimson.
Actually, with the exception of the win over Brown none of that happened. The Harvard faithful celebrated in an orderly and dignified manner. They’re also smart enough to know that they “want” USC about as much as I “want” to head into the locker room looking for a fight at the next Ultimate Fighting Championship event.
Still, it’s a different week but the scenario is largely the same. A very talented team comes to the banks of the Charles River looking to end Harvard’s winning streak. And despite the win over Brown, a number of questions about Harvard remain.
At QB, its so far so good for Harvard in the post Ryan Fitzpatrick era. Sophomore Liam O’Hagan, despite 3 INTs in his first two games has shown a lot of upside and most importantly shown a lot of poise. Apparently having a cool Irish name is a prerequisite for playing QB at Harvard. Even if the QB play is solid, there’s a big problem with the Crimson passing attack as top receiver Corey Mazza will miss this game after injuring his ankle against Brown.
Mazza’s absence will force the Crimson to rely more on their running game, which isn’t a problem when you have the best running back in the Ivy League in Clifton Dawson. While we’re throwing around superlatives we’ll go ahead and say that Dawson might be the best all around running back in 1-AA.
Lehigh is 1 point away from being 3-0, losing to #8 ranked Delaware by that margin in their second game of the year. They looked awful last week, committing 9 turnovers, but managed to beat VMI anyway. I expect their focus to be much better this week, and their power rushing attack (think Georgia State at their best) will cause all kinds of problems for a Crimson defense that has struggled to contain lesser opposition so far this year.
Look for the Mountain Hawks to control the game physically, and for a Harvard team off that draining double OT win to yield a number of long, clock eating, rush dominated drives. Lehigh will own the time of possession, and they’ll also win the game outright by a TD or so.