Friday, October 26, 2018

What Was That Again?

TigerBlog has been trying to remember something all week, and for the life of him he just can't.

What was it?

His memory is one of his strengths. For whatever reason, he can rattle off high schools and hometowns of Princeton athletes from when he first started here, nearly 30 years ago. Even this week, he was asked what high school Jason Doneger, a lacrosse player from the Class of 2005, attended, and TB replied "Lynbrook, of course."

Final scores of games. Stats. They all are in there, floating around, waiting to be recalled at a moment's notice.

Hey, he can even give you all of the Presidents in chronological order, in addition to all of "The Cat In The Hat" and pretty much every line from "Casablanca."

And yet this week, there's just been something he can't remember.

So yeah, what was it? Was it something he's been meaning to talk to you about?

Was it Heps cross country, coming to Princeton tomorrow morning? No, that wasn't it.

But hey, while he brought it up ...

Princeton's West Windsor Fields will be the site for the Heps cross country championships, with the women's race at 11 and the men's race at noon. The winners of each race will be crowned the Ivy League champions of 2018, the first teams to earn championships in this academic year.

Of all of the events on the Ivy League sports calendar each year, there are few that TigerBlog likes more than Heps cross country. The atmosphere is that of a big party, with tents and alums and fans of all eight schools there for the start and the finish.

And the competition is intense. It's not just about who wins the individual championship. It's about the runner in 15th who nudges past two others to get to 13th and dramatically change the team outcome.

Both Princeton teams are ranked this year nationally, and both will be very much in the hunt this time around as well.

So no, that wasn't it.

Was it Ivy League soccer? No, TigerBlog talked a lot of about that earlier this week. Both Princeton teams are in Ithaca to take on Cornell, and both of those games are huge as both head there knowing that they will win an Ivy League championship simply by winning out - the women with two games left and the men with three.

Nope. It wasn't soccer.

Football? Well, TB hasn't really talked much about that this week, but he knew he'd be bringing it up today.

You can go to the Heps races and then head over to the football stadium, where Princeton and Cornell kick off at 1.

Just as the Princeton soccer teams know that they'll win a championship by winning out, so too do Princeton's and Cornell's football teams.

As you are probably aware, Princeton and Dartmouth are both 6-0 with four weeks left in the season, and they meet next Saturday on Powers Field. What you might not also realize is that Cornell is 2-1, with only a league loss to Yale and wins over Harvard and Brown.

Yale is also 2-1 in the league, but if Dartmouth wins out, Yale cannot get a share of the championship. That leaves Princeton, Dartmouth and Cornell as the only teams that can win a title without any help, and those three all have the other two on their schedule the rest of the way.

By the way, as TigerBlog has said before, he's never been a fan of when people say teams "control their own destiny," since nobody controls destiny. It's destiny, so it's going to happen no matter what.

Princeton and Dartmouth rank 1-2 in the league in scoring offense (Princeton first, Dartmouth second) and scoring defense (Dartmouth first, Princeton second). Cornell is fifth in offense and seventh in defense.

In fact, Cornell doesn't rank in the top half of the league in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense, total defense, passing offense, passing defense, rushing offense or rushing defense. You know what that means?

It means Cornell is a dangerous team. Its numbers don't jump off the page, but the Big Red has learned to win.

Cornell was 4-18 in a 22-game Ivy stretch from 2014 through an opening loss to Harvard last year. Since then, Cornell is 5-4 in its last nine league games, one of which was a win over Princeton last year.

Princeton is coming in off five blowout wins to start the year and then one last week that the Tigers had to tough out before knocking off Harvard 29-21. It was the kind of test Princeton figures to have more of in the last four weeks of the season, beginning with tomorrow's game.

In other words, it'll be two teams playing to put themselves in championship position tomorrow, with kickoff at 1 on Powers Field.

Maybe by then TB will have remembered what it is he forgot.

What was it? Yeah, it'll come to him eventually. 

No comments: