Friday, November 1, 2013

Princeton vs. Cornell x 9

By far the most creative trick-or-treaters of the night were the last two.

At first, it appeared that there was only one, a teenage boy, dressed as a hunter. As TigerBlog answered the door, the kid said that there had been a report of zombies in the area.

Just as TB began to process that, the second kid jumped out from behind the bushes, dressed as a zombie. It was a tad startling, TB will admit.

The first kid then "attacked" the second kid, presumably saving TB's house from the zombie menace. TB was so impressed he had them take extra candy.

Performance trick or treating with a zombie theme. Good stuff.

Most of the trick-or-treaters were little kids, dressed in all kinds of wholesome costumes. Of course, maybe they just appeared wholesome; after all, when Miss TigerBlog was still Little Miss TigerBlog, the most popular costume was "Hannah Montana."

If you care, which you probably don't, TB didn't have a single piece of candy.

And that's that for Halloween 2013.

Now it's time to shift attention from orange and black to Orange and Black vs. Big Red.

The last time TigerBlog saw a Princeton-Cornell game, it was the semifinals of the Ivy League men's lacrosse tournament, when Mike McDonald scored seven goals, Kip Orban ripped one of the most unstoppable shots ever and Princeton won 14-13 in overtime in one of the best games TB has ever seen.

He doubts the Princeton-Cornell rivalry will match that night back in May this weekend, but it certainly won't be lacking in opportunities.

You think Princeton played Harvard a lot last weekend, when they got together five times? Princeton and Cornell meet in nine sports in the next 35 or so hours.

Eight sports:

men's hockey (tonight in Ithaca)
women's hockey (tonight at 7 at Baker Rink)
men's and women's cross country (tomorrow at 11 and noon at West Windsor Fields as part of the Ivy League Heptagonal championships)
field hockey (tomorrow at noon on Bedford Field)
football (tomorrow at 1 on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium)
men's soccer (tomorrow at 4 on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium)
women's volleyball (tomorrow at 5 at Dillon Gym)
women's soccer (tomorrow at 7 on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium)

Yup. Nine sports competing against Cornell in two days.

TigerBlog would put Princeton-Cornell men's lacrosse up there with any rivalry in any Ivy League sport right now, maybe even at the top. In general, though, Princeton-Cornell isn't quite what Princeton-Penn or Princeton-Harvard-Yale are to most Princeton fans.

Still, all league rivalries are big, and this weekend features some huge events between the Tigers and Big Red. And TB cannot imagine there are too many other instances of two colleges meeting in nine sports in two days.

The rain that soaked TigerBlog on the way from the parking lot to the building has stopped, and the sun is supposed to shine all weekend on the greater Princeton metropolitan area.

Of the nine events, five directly impact the Ivy League championship race - the two cross country races, men's soccer, field hockey and football.

Princeton is 3-0 in the league in football after last weekend's riveting 51-48 three OT win over Harvard. Princeton and Penn are the only unbeatens in the league right now.

A year ago, Princeton was also 3-0 after a win over Harvard and then lost three of the last four, starting in Ithaca.

So what is different this year? Cornell still has Jeff Mathews, who recently passed Tiger offensive coordinator James Perry as the league's all-time passing yardage leader. Mathews has had great games in his career against Princeton, throwing for 998 in three games, one of which was in a driving snowstorm, ironically enough, not in Ithaca but rather Princeton two years ago,

But this isn't the same Princeton team. A year ago, Princeton was coming off back to back 1-9s and just figuring out how to be competitive. This year, Princeton is better both physically and mentally and probably more able to handle the week after the huge win and before the big game at Penn next week.

Tomorrow will tell, of course.

Conventional wisdom is that it's going to be a high-scoring game, as Princeton's offense has been rolling and Mathews can usually be counted on to put up big numbers himself. Add in perfect weather conditions and that's certainly possible.

Either way, it's a huge moment for the Tigers. At the very least, a win would improve the Tigers to 6-1 overall and guarantee the first winning record for the program since its 2006 Ivy League championship. Hey, when you were 1-9 and 1-9 two and three years ago, that's not something to take for granted.

Of course, that's not what the Tigers are thinking. They're thinking big.

One Saturday at a time. The test this weekend is big. Big Red actually.

In football and eight other sports.

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