Friday, November 9, 2012

Roughing The Kicker?

TigerBlog has often said that he's a huge fan of the Ivy League message board, the one where fans (or are they coaches, administrators, current players?) post their thoughts (or is it sometimes inside information) about all things related to Ivy League sports, especially football.

For TB, the message board has replaced the daily newspaper as a source of information and entertainment, with the glaring difference that what you're reading is being put there somewhat anonymously and therefore should be viewed a tad skeptically.

Then again, that is often the case in a newspaper, though minus the anonymity part.

If the items that are put there as fact can't always be believed, the opinions are what really intrigue TigerBlog. More than anything else, TB thinks that these opinions give a solid insight into the minds of Ivy League sports fans, with a line to what they think and maybe more importantly how their perceive Ivy League athletics - and by extension the administration within the league and its schools.

Sometimes TB shakes his head at how far from reality some of those opinions get, and he is often left with a sense that the fanbase doesn't quite grasp some of the hurdles that are in place in the league, especially in terms of resources and staffing.

Then there are other times when he shakes his head for the opposite reason, the bewilderment of just how much some of these people actually do know about the inner workings of the league. The extent to which information is correct is just as astonishing as when it's incorrect.

He gets a lot out of reading the board, not the least of which is entertainment.

And he can't help wonder who some of these people are, if he knows them, if he sees their faces regularly at games. 

One of the regulars, someone known somewhat exotically as "Asia Sunset," posted a video this week of the 1982 Penn-Harvard football game at Franklin Field.

After Princeton's epic win over Harvard last month, TB wrote that that game was the best Ivy football game he'd ever seen. He also put a list of the five best Ivy games he's seen in person, and the 1982 Penn-Harvard game was one of them.

At the time, TB was a Penn undergraduate. A year earlier, Penn had won only one game, that a thriller on opening day against Cornell. In 1982, the Quakers were attempting to go worst-to-first, and the win over Harvard was the biggest step on that road.

Penn led 20-0 in the fourth quarter before Harvard went ahead 21-20, setting up the frantic final sequence captured in the video. As an aside, since seeing the game live, TB had never until yesterday seen any of it on replay.

As a further aside, he had no idea that Merrill Reese, the voice of the Eagles, did the play-by-play for that game.

Anyway, watch the video for yourself and see if it was a good call (it certainly was a late one) on the roughing the kicker.

And one of TB's big memories of the aftermath was that Harvard coach Joe Restic suggested that Penn should, in the interest of proper sportsmanship, say that the call was a bad one and give the win to the Crimson.

The game was a wild one, and TB remembers the day very vividly. And the lasting memory of the 1982 season? The last three-way tie for the Ivy League championship in football.

Will the 2012 season provide the next three-way tie? Princeton certainly hopes so.

Well, another Penn-Harvard game at Franklin Field will have a big impact on what happens the rest of the way.
 The best record Princeton could have is 5-2 in the league.

Princeton is at Yale tomorrow and home with Dartmouth next Saturday in the season finale. Of course, Dartmouth is thinking about the same scenario, getting to 5-2 with a win tomorrow (over Brown) and then next weekend against Princeton and hoping it's good enough.

To get to three 5-2 teams, the winner of the Penn-Harvard game needs to lose next weekend, and then nobody would have fewer than two losses. Harvard hosts Yale, while Penn is at Cornell.

Again, as TB has said before, the real win for Princeton football this year isn't whether or not it gets a piece of the championship. It's the fact that with two weeks to go, the Tigers are still very much involved in the conversation.

For TB's money, a .500 season for the Tigers (meaning a split the next two weeks) would represent a remarkable vault back from the last few years and position the Tigers well for the next few seasons, especially with how young the team is and how well recruiting has gone under Bob Surace and his staff.

Still, why not dream big, at least until the math says it's no longer possible.


Anonymous said...

TB your possible scenario is now possible.

It was very nice to see the students who came by bus to Yale. Thanks to whoever was responsible. Would be wonderful to see more folks in the stadium Saturday to celebrate a winning season, possible Ivy crown and senior day for some very tough kids.

Maybe the Athletic Dept can give tickets to local kids, storm victims, etc. Help others and help the Tigers at the same time?

Anonymous said...

TB, we agree it has been a great season to watch Tiger football. This weekend for Senior Day, wouldn't it be fabulous to have a full stadium and honor these tough seniors , parents and everyone connected with the team? They've certainly earned their stripes on the field. I hope the student body will come out as they did at Yale and make a lot of noise!