Holy Cross’ dominance over the last four seasons really means there is only one main question worth asking in terms of a Patriot League preview: Is it an impossible task for the other six teams to have any sort of shot to dethrone Holy Cross?
Many have said it’s something you should do at least once in your life. Whether you’re a Lehigh person, a Lafayette person, whether you’re from the Lehigh Valley, whether you consider yourself a college football fan, it’s a pilgrimage, a bucket list item.
For a long, long time – especially this year – I thought that college football might be dying, especially at the FCS level. But this week, especially, I am starting to realize that isn’t the case. The great Rivalries survive, because that’s what they do.
The numbers Tim DeMorat continues to put up is reminiscent of the tote board at a Jerry Lewis Telethon.
I still love college football. But I can’t abide what is happening in Power Five land. I don’t think I can watch it or enjoy it. And it no longer resembles the thing that made it so great for so long.
He was a great man, taken from us too soon from a horrible disease. I know, because I had the honor of talking to him about his passion, Lehigh football, for his entire hall-of-fame coaching career.
This Saturday, college football’s most-played Rivalry will contest its 157th meeting between the Lafayette Leopards (3-7) and Lehigh Mountain Hawks (2-8), and the hope is that it will be, well, normal.
In terms of the Lehigh/Lafayette Rivalry, however, which resumes this weekend in the 157th meeting between these two schools, for Leopard and Mountain Hawk fans, I think, college football seemed to end on that day on November 23rd, 2019, and never really quite seemed to get back to the college football that fans once knew before they learned what COVID was and how it was to impact their lives.
Official NCAA records show there was plenty of uncertainty as to the best college football team in the nation in 1921.
No matter when the game is played, when Lafayette and Lehigh get together on the gridiron, it almost always seems to be close and come down to a few plays.
This April, the same weekend as The Masters, Lehigh and Lafayette will be playing the first-ever Rivalry football game in the spring, a most atypical 156th meeting in the most-played college football game that’s simply called “The Rivalry”.
In a way it’s fitting during this strange season that two of the teams playing this weekend are in their season openers, while their opponents are coming off of two weeks off after winning their openers. It is a byproduct of this crazy Patriot League spring, and results in two fascinating games that are basically playoff games. And with no game film on Bucknell or Fordham, it feels like anything can happen.
It’s been a very, very long wait, but this weekend, finally, we have a weekend of Patriot League football to look forward to.
“I’ve been very impressed with the enthusiasm and attitude across the board,” Lehigh head coach Tom Gilmore told me. “Getting the opportunity to be on the field and to be working towards competitive opportunities has really motivated everyone. It just feels different out there this semester. There’s an excitement in the air whenever we’re on the field.”
Today, the Patriot League was the final FCS football conference to unveil their spring competition schedule to the public, as a part of their release announcing the schedules of twenty-two different sports being contested in the spring.
At the campuses at Lehigh and Lafayette, and the communities that surround them, there is a void in the third week in November, that most are trying to fill with virtual Rivalry activities and hope for a spring football season, making it not a cancelling of The Rivalry, but merely a delay to contest the game when it’s safer to have a more normal gameday experience.
For months, fans, players, and Lehigh football head coach Tom Gilmore knew that this game wasn’t going to happen on this day. But Gilmore is trying to make the best of a difficult situation.
I have five burning questions on the issue that might help to give clarity on what a spring season for the Patriot League might look like.
Hope is not a strategy, and the truth is any form of national strategy has failed in an effort to have college football this fall. In a community like the Lehigh Valley, it’s a crushing loss to the coronavirus.
If these are the only two plans that are actively being considered by the Ivy League, it means that, effectively, all out-of-conference games involving Ivy League opponents are cancelled for the fall.
The Patriot League Office announced on Monday guidance regarding the 2020 fall competition, a list of principles to “guide the development of a Patriot League 2020 Athletics Plan.”
In the past, college football has survived through outbreaks of disease and mass disruptions, and how the sport handled those circumstances provide a possible roadmap to a late post-COVID-19 football season. Looking to the past, how could we adapt that to today?
I’m proud to unveil this year’s edition of the Patsy Ratings.
It is rare that the MVP of the Lehigh/Lafayette game is a kicker, but that’s exactly what happened this afternoon at Murray Goodman Stadium as the Leopards beat their bitter Mountain Hawk rivals for the first time in five years in a 17-16 win.
This season, though, there isn’t the same feeling of continuity that permeated many of these other games. Part of that comes from the fact that, unusually for The Rivalry, both teams are packed with young underclassmen, many of them playing in their first Rivalry ever. Normally, The Rivalry is filled with narratives. This season, it feels like the master narrative is waiting to be written with two teams that, even at this late date, have unknowns.
We are two weeks away from the end of the Patriot League regular season, and there is a very distinct possibility that the winner of the League is going to have a losing record.
Holy Cross will be trying to cement their hold on the top of the Patriot League standings when they host Lafayette this weekend. They could clinch at least a share of the title and FCS Playoff autobid if they win and Lehigh loses at Bucknell.
The Patriot League sees Fordham with a week off and features six conference members in action. Lehigh looks to get their conference record to 3-0, Holy Cross looks to keep pace and remain undefeated in league play, and Lafayette and Bucknell will do battle to see who can remain in the title race.
This week, an unlikely battle for first place in the Patriot League is on the line in the Bronx, and Lafayette and Georgetown battle it out to see if they can get themselves into the league title race.
It’s a week with two Patriot League/Ivy League matchups and two Patriot conference matchups, as Fordham and Georgetown face off against one another in a battle to who can join Lehigh and Holy Cross atop the league standings.
League play starts next week, but the teams of the Patriot League need some help in out-of-conference this week if at all possible. As a conference, the Patriot League is a combined 4-20 out of conference, with one of those wins coming against a Division III school. With an FBS school, several daunting Ivies, and a CAA school, fans of Patriot League schools are hoping for upsets this week.
Last week was a mixed one for the Patriot League. Georgetown overwhelmed a Division III team 69-0, while Fordham topped Bryant by double digits. The rest of the league was not so lucky, however, losing to two CAA schools (William and Mary, Villanova), a NEC school (Sacred Heart) and a Big Sky school (UC Davis). This week, the entire Patriot League faces daunting challenges against tough competition – three CAA teams and an Ivy League title favorite.
Last week, Holy Cross stunned many with their 13-10 upset of New Hampshire, the Patriot League’s first win over a CAA school this season. This week Colgate hopes to make it a second when they face William and Mary on the road. NEC, Big Sky, and even a D-III opponent graces the Patriot League schedule this week.
0-2 Colgate, who lost two extremely challenging games to Villanova and FBS Air Force to start the season, earn a well-deserved bye week, while the rest of the Patriot League enters action looking to achieve their first victories of the season. As a conference, the Patriot League is a combined 0-8 to start the year.
Colgate, who hosted Villanova in Week 0, continues their Theater of Pain tour this week as they travel out to Air Force to take on the Falcons. The rest of the Patriot League kicks off their season this Saturday with a full slate of games
The 2018 Patriot League football produced two tiers of teams. The first tier was Colgate, who had the best defense in FCS, gave a bowl team all they could handle (Army-West Point), and upset perennial FCS powerhouse James Madison before falling to the eventual FCS National Champions North Dakota State. The second tier was… the other six teams of the Patriot League, who all ended with records under .500. In 2019, can anybody get to the Colgate tier?
Going into November, hopes were high that the 3-5 Leopards would turn the corner and do enough to beat their archrival Lehigh in the final game of the season. Instead John Garrett’s team would lose to Holy Cross, Army and their Rivals to close out a disappointing 3-8 season.
Christmas isn’t for another month, but for a day, people associated with the Lehigh football program felt like they’d received a bunch of presents. The first present from the gods of football might have been the one that set the tone the best for Lehigh’s 34-3 win over their archrivals in the 154th meeting between.
It wasn’t the season any Lehigh fan envisioned, a tumultuous 2-8 season that featured a lot of frustration and discord. So you might have forgiven Lehigh fans a little bit of cynicism when they came to Easton this afternoon about their prospects for a win against their bitter Rivals Lafayette. Instead, on the very first.
It kind of goes without saying that the Rivalry between Lehigh and Lafayette is the biggest game on the Mountain Hawks’ and Leopard’s schedules. Eighteen miles separate the two campuses in Easton, PA and Bethlehem, PA, and the football teams have faced off 153 times over the span of 134 years. When the two schools started.