Friday, September 30, 2016

Let's Go Tigers, And Pioneers

The Lambert family was big in the jewelry business on Madison Avenue in the early 1900s, as well as big college football fans.

At least that's what it says on Wikipedia.

The name "Lambert" has long been synonymous with supremacy in Eastern college football. Victor and Henry Lambert first named a trophy in honor of their father August (again, Wikipedia) in 1935, and ever since then, the best team in the East has received the trophy.

Princeton has won it twice, in 1950 and 1951, when a certain Dick Kazmaier was the team's best player. Princeton did not lose a game in either season.

Once Division I-AA came around in 1982, the Lambert Cup began to be awarded to the top team in that division in the East. No Ivy school had ever won the Cup until last year, when Dartmouth, Penn and Harvard all shared it.

Interestingly, only one team has ever won the Lambert Cup with a perfect record. That honor belongs to Holy Cross, who went 11-0 in 1987. Four schools have won the Lambert Cup after winning the national championship - UMass in 1998, Delaware in 2003, James Madison in 2004, Villanova in 2009.

The current Lambert rankings have two Ivy teams in the top four - Dartmouth at No. 3 and Harvard at No. 4. Cornell is ranked 12th. Georgetown, whom Princeton plays next week, is ranked sixth.

It's early and all, and the Lambert rankings should change radically between now and the end of the season. But who's ranked No. 1 this week?

Is it Villanova? Nope. Stony Brook? Richmond? Fordham? Colgate? James Madison? Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. And nope.
Give up?

It's the Pioneers of Sacred Heart University. Yup.

Sacred Heart is 4-0 on the season, heading into a game tomorrow against Wagner, ranked ninth in this Lambert Cup poll.

Ranking colleges in order of how much gear TigerBlog has, it goes like this: 1. Princeton, 2. Sacred Heart, 3. every place else combined. In case you don't realize it, Sacred Heart is where TigerBlog Jr. goes to college.

Sacred Heart is doing some really nice things these days. There is a great deal of construction of new buildings and an expansion of its academic offerings. It's small, but there is a really strong sense of community there.

And, through four weeks, the best FCS football team in the East.

Princeton will be playing a crucial game tomorrow as well, as it travels to Columbia to take on the Lions in the Ivy opener for both.

Only two Ivy League games have been played so far this year, as Cornell defeated Yale and Harvard defeated Brown a week ago. In addition to Princeton-Columbia this weekend, Penn is at Dartmouth tonight, on NBC SportsNetwork.

Of course, when only 28 Ivy games are played each year, then they're all huge. Especially the first one. The last time a team won the Ivy title after losing its first league game was in 2005, when Brown did so (other than when two teams met in the opener and then went on to share the championship).

Princeton and Columbia kick off at noon, on Fox College Sports (and Fox Sports Go).

If you're not going to New York for that one, there's a soccer doubleheader on Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium tomorrow afternoon. It'll be Princeton and Dartmouth in two games tomorrow, with the women at 1 and the men at 4.

The women are 0-0-1 in the league after a 1-1 tie with Yale a week ago. Dartmouth lost to Brown 1-0 in its first league game last week.

Princeton still has the best overall record in the league at 7-1-1, but seven of the eight teams are at least .500. Dartmouth is 6-3 overall.

Again, each league game is big. Princeton, the defending Ivy champ, went 6-0-1 a year ago, winning its first six before tying the last one. Maybe this year will be the reverse of that, with a tie in the first one. Or maybe it's one of those years where something in the neighborhood of 4-1-2 or so wins the league.

On the men's side, this is Week 1 of Ivy play. Princeton began the year 0-2 and is 4-1 since, with its four-game winning streak snapped in a 1-0 overtime loss to Villanova on a penalty kick Wednesday.

There are five Ivy men's teams over .500. The other three teams are a combined 2-12-7, including Dartmouth, who is 1-2-4. No game ever in Ivy League soccer can be overlooked, though.

There are other events this weekend, including two home matches for the defending Ivy champion women's volleyball team, who hosts the other defending champ, Harvard at 7 tonight and then Dartmouth at 5 tomorrow.

There are also four home league water polo matches.

It's a big weekend all around. Go Tigers. And Go Pioneers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

45,000 fans packed Palmer Stadium in November, 1965 to watch Princeton and Dartmouth play for the Lambert Trophy; the Indians (as they were known) were victorious.

Five years later, recognizing the illusionary nature of its alleged superiority, Dartmouth named a Tiger as its president. Sic transit gloria mundi.