Monday, October 1, 2012

Talking Football

Here's TigerBlog's one-word review of the first episode of Season 2 of "Homeland," which aired last night:


If you don't have Showtime, stop what you're doing and order it. If you have to skip lunch a few times a month to afford it, too bad.

That's how good "Homeland" is. Season 1 was insane. Season 2's first episode had no letdown, and the coming attractions made TB want to immediately watch every other episode on demand, just like he did for Season 1, when he watched 12 episodes in three days.

And now we can talk about football.

Before we get to Princeton football, did you see the quarterback stats from the West Virginia-Baylor game? Baylor's Nick Florence went 29 for 47 for 581 yards and five touchdowns - and he had by far the worse game of the two QBs.

West Virginia's Geno Smith was 45 for 51 for 656 yards and eight touchdowns. That's a lot of, well, everything, except incompletions. Smith's season numbers, by the way, are 141 for 169 for 1,728 yards, 20 touchdowns and no interceptions.

Special bonus stats from the game: WVU's Stedman Bailey caught 13 passes for 303 yards and five touchdowns, and the teams combined for 1,507 yards of offense.

West Virginia won the game 70-63, which looks like a basketball score, not a football score. TB's theory is that the teams got together last week and decided that they'd play no defense at all in hopes of getting an otherwise nothing game to become national news.

If they did, it worked really, really well.

Then there was Princeton sprint football.

Before Princeton's game at Cornell Friday, TB checked the scores for Franklin Pierce, the first-year program. As it turned out, the Ravens had played one game, a 26-21 loss to Cornell, so TB figured that there'd be something to be learned by the final score of the game Friday night, which was 22-15 Cornell.

Do what you will with those scores. And this one: Penn 24, Franklin Pierce 20. Princeton hosts Post this Friday and then Franklin Pierce a week from Friday.

In the quarter-century that TB has been involved with Princeton Athletics, he's never really figured out the right segue for going from talking about the sprint team to the "other" football team.

Are they the heavyweights? The real team? Just the football team?

It makes for a difficult transition.

Anyway, the football team defeated Columbia 33-6 Saturday afternoon in New York City in a game that the Tigers desperately needed.

It was a performance that gave Princeton exactly what it needed, and that was the ability to look at the result on the field and see progress, not just be told "hey, you're getting better."

Were you to be cynical, you could point out that the 2011 Tigers were 1-2 after three games, with losses to two Patriot League schools and a win over Columbia, and then went 0-7 the rest of the way.

While that's true, the 2012 Tigers are so much better than the 2011 Tigers, and the numbers back it up.

Princeton lost to Lehigh by 12 and Bucknell by 25 and then beat Columbia by three a year ago.

This year, Princeton lost to Lehigh by three and to Georgetown by one and then beat Columbia by 27.

Last year, Princeton was -34 in point differential in those games. This year, Princeton is +23.

That's a 57-point shift.

So now what? Where are the Tigers with seven games to go?

The goal for this year is to establish that the team is on the way back, that it is competitive. Seven more games like Lehigh and Georgetown would accomplish that, but not in a good way.

The high-end goal should be to get to .500 for the year. Winning two games over two years and then more than doubling that in the third year isn't an easy thing to do, though.

Remember, Princeton is doing this without Chuck Dibilio, the player that the rebuilding effort was supposed to be built around, the one who is out this year after his stroke.

Up next for Princeton is a game at Lafayette, whom Princeton defeated two years ago and didn't play last year. The Leopards are much-improved this year, and it should be a tight game Saturday night in Easton.

After that, it's the run of six straight league games.

After Week 2 two years ago, Princeton was 1-1 with a not-too-shabby loss to Lehigh and an OT win over Lafayette.

After Week 3 last year, Princeton was 1-2 after an Ivy-opening win over Columbia.

Both years ended 1-9.

Now Princeton is 1-2 again.

To TB, this year feels different.


stephen said...

Hey TB, we with Sprint football always call the big guys the "Heavies" or "Heavyweight" hope that helps with future segues

Anonymous said...

3-19 under Surace. Need anyone say more.

InwoodTiger said...

While talking football, can we get a future post commenting on the horrid attendance at home games this year? Princeton is going to end up 7th in the Ivies in attendance, and that's a shock even to fairly recent alumni.

coach molly said...

anonymous your beef must be with surace because everyone can see the team is clearly progressing and you were calling for us to be more like columbia at the end of last did that work out for columbia?

coach molly said...

anonymous WHERE ARE YOU?