AROUND THE IVIES: First Week of Football Season Means A Clean Slate

{shortcode-48a1a3f6026c4a6b4fc839946c3464a3ae2b4f87} In arguably the greatest movie of our generation, “The Dark Knight Rises,” Catwoman steals pearls and fingerprints from Bruce Wayne for Roland Dagget’s “clean slate.” When Dagget informs her that such a device doesn’t exist, she kicks him in the face.

My professor similarly explained to me no such device exists in academia after I inquired about my exam scores.

BUT IN FOOTBALL the clean slate does exist and it’s called Week 1. Nothing from last year matters anymore. That 21-point loss to Yale in the rain, never happened. Princeton dominating us under the lights of Harvard Stadium, never happened. The Saybrook Strip, I wish it hadn’t happened.

Here. We. Go.



The way I feel about writing this article with no prior Ivy League performances must be how Brown admissions officers are starting to feel about the Class of 2023 as the university recently decided to no longer require the SAT and ACT writing sections in applications. I’m really all for leaving things — SAT tests, class, the Yale game — 30 minutes early. In fact, based on fourth quarter performances I’m pretty sure the Brown football team adopted a similar policy years ago.

Also, John Madden graduated from Cal Poly and I’m not sure if that’s surmountable by the Bears. The western institution is located in San Luis Obispo, Calif., often called one of the happiest cities in the U.S — which is ironic because Brown students also tend to be quite happy. No news yet on whether the former is also related to per capita weed consumption.

Cal Poly is in California, Brown is in Rhode Island. Cal Poly has the beach and temperate weather, Brown has snow and blizzards. Cal Poly has a dorm called yakɁitʸutʸu, Brown doesn’t. You don’t create champions in an environment of privilege.

Prediction: Cal Poly +3


Speaking of California, had this game been in San Diego, that’s where I would be this weekend. Instead, I’ll be hiking from the Quad to the Stadium this Saturday, probably in the rain. But I digress.

The last time Harvard took the field, it dropped a muddy contest on Yale’s home turf, grass, mud bowl, pit, whatever you want to call it. The good news is that was a year ago. Also Harvard has turf. Also San Diego lost by 33 last week.

Meanwhile, Harvard is still looking to cement a starting quarterback and the defense will have to replace the core of seniors that led the backfield last year. Look out for a high scoring competitive matchup.

Prediction: Harvard -3


Rumor has it this game is being hosted at Holy Cross because the team refused to travel to New Haven to play. With an impending strike by the New Haven police, one of the most dangerous cities in the nation already is about to become more so. The decision is unlikely to spare the 0-2 Crusaders from the drumming it is likely to receive at the hands of the Bulldogs.

Yale returns the majority of its 2017 Ivy League Champion team, including junior quarterback Kurt Rawlings — the guy who racked up 177 yards and a touchdown on Harvard last season. Rest assured he won’t be the only one calling out Hail Mary on Saturday.

At a campus far from a large city, without frats and a social life that revolves around university-sanctioned clubs like The Advocate and The Fenwick Review, the Holy Cross offense might be the only thing that gets shut down on that campus all year.

Prediction: Holy Cross +35


Fun fact 1: Georgetown was the site of many scenes from “The Exorcist” when it was originally released in 1973.

Fun fact 2: Georgetown is really bad at football.

Analysis: In the original movie, Father Damien Karras throws himself out of a window after being processed by the demon to spare those around him from harm. Georgetown would be better suited to do the same and spare its program from the embarrassment it will surely endure this weekend in Hanover.

Prediction: Dartmouth -25


Bucknell is traveling to Penn’s Franklin Field this weekend which means it will be subject to a bevy of weird Penn traditions. Among the worst is the toast throw. Basically what that entails is a bunch of hungry college students disposing of their excess toast onto the track surrounding the field after the third quarter. This menacing show of athleticism is based on a line from the song “Drink a Highball” which exalts “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn.” Franklin Field’s ban on alcohol in the 1970s forced Penn students to adapt.

Word is, Penn students love the tradition. There is one drawback though. “I just wish more people showed up to the games to participate in this tradition,” said Penn undergraduate Marielle Trubowitsch to the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Pour one out for Ivy League football attendance (but not at Franklin Field).

As far as actual football goes, Penn sometimes wins the Ivy League and the last relevant thing Bucknell did was win the 1935 Orange Bowl.

Prediction: Pennsylvania -10


Don’t look now, but Cornell’s first in the Ivy League. Of course that’s according to a Google search of “Cornell football.” And of course a Google search of any Ancient Eight team will bring up the same result. And of course that’s because zero games have been played. Nonetheless, Ithaca hasn’t seen this much excitement since the silkworm farms came to the city.

This weekend’s match — luckily for all involved — is in Delaware.  Unluckily for Delaware, its mascot is the Fightin’ Blue Hens. Despite the unfortunate avion on the sidelines, the team is 1-1 including a 37-0 shutout defeat of Lafayette.

Moreover, I never trust a team from Ithaca.

Prediction: Delaware -21


At Columbia they don’t like to win. No actually. Leading up to 1988, Columbia lost 44-straight games. More recently, the team lost 24-straight contests prior to finally downing Wagner in 2015.

But in 2017, the tide changed. Columbia started 6-0 for the first season since 1996. The reaction of alumni? Disdain.

“When my husband told me that Columbia had beaten Penn, I said, ‘That’s bad news,’” said Jill Levey, a New Jersey fundraising consultant to the New York Times. “When I went to Columbia, we prided ourselves on being anti-football and pro-intellectual.”

“Very pleasantly unsettling,” said another graduate Samantha Rowan to the Times.

My reaction to Columbia’s fan base? Elation.

Prediction: Central Connecticut -7


Most students at Princeton probably have their own butler. After this weekend, so will the football team. I didn’t even have to flip a coin to make this pick.

Prediction: Butler +18

—Staff writer Cade Palmer can be reached at


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