August 24, 2009

Football Predicted to Finish Sixth in Ivy League

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After graduating 33 players in 2009, including 11 starters, the Red football team knew it had some big holes to fill. Apparently, the media is also aware — Cornell was picked to finish sixth, tied with Columbia, in the Ivy League Preseason Media Poll.
Senior quarterback Ben Ganter is poised to take over under center for Nathan Ford ’09, who led the Ivy League in passing yards last year. Ford also has the second-highest total of passing yards in Cornell history. Ganter appeared in just two games last season, completing one-of-four passes for four yards. Senior back Randy Barbour split time in the backfield with Luke Siwula ’09 last year, but should see the majority of the hand-offs this season. Barbour’s success will be crucial to taking some pressure off of Ganter’s shoulders — the Red was sixth in the Ivy League in rushing offense last year, which forced the team to throw more often than not. Other notable departures include wideouts Jesse Baker ’09 and Zac Canty ’09, the team’s top-2 receiving threats last season. Safeties Tim Bax ’09 and Gus Krimm ’09 and linebacker Graham Rihn ’09 will be sorely missed on defense, where the Red must improve after giving up an average of 24.6 points per game last season, next-to-last in the Ivy League.
[img_assist|nid=37590|title=Stampede|desc=Dartmouth was the only team predicted to finish behind the Red in the preseason media poll.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Harvard was picked to finish first for the third time in the past four years. The Crimson went 9-1 overall in 2008, including 6-1 in the Ancient Eight; it received 10 of 17 available first-place votes. Penn (6-4 overall, 5-2 Ivy in 2008) and Brown (7-3, 6-1 Ivy) also received first-place votes, and round out the preseason top-3. Brown had the second-best offense in the league last year — the Bears averaged 26.9 points per game, just behind Harvard’s 27.4 and well ahead of Yale’s third-place 19.7. The Bulldogs (6-4, 4-3), under first-year head coach Tom Williams, were picked to finish fourth a year after boasting the top defense in the league.