September 23, 2010

2010 Ivy League Preview: Celebration in Cambridge?

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Brown Bears

2009 Record: (6-4, 4-3 Ivy)

The No. 1 ranked passing offense in the Ivy League will be back in full force in 2010, as First-team All-Ivy quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero looks to build upon last year’s record-setting performance in his senior season. Averaging 270 yards per game through the air and setting a single-game Ivy League record with 46 completions against Holy Cross, Newhall-Caballero was the main reason why the Bears finished in third place in the Ivy League in 2009. In addition to Newhall-Caballero, Second-team All-Ivy running back Zach Tronti will be back for his final season with Brown. As a result, the Bears’ offense figures to compete for top spots in the Ivy League in 2010, but the team’s final position could be hurt by a questionable passing defense. Giving up 238 yards a game in 2009, Brown’s pass defense ranked last among all Ivy League squads.

Columbia Lions

2009 Record: (4-6, 3-4 Ivy)

After winning its final two Ivy League contests to earn a fourth-place finish in 2009, Columbia enters this season with momentum on its side. The Lions produced the second-best rush offense and third-best overall offense last year and will be looking for more of the same in 2010. In order to do so, though, the Lions will have to make up for the absence of last year’s leading rusher, M.A. Olawale, who graduated last spring. Senior running back Leon Ivery and sophomore quarterback Sean Brackett will look to pick up where Olawale left off this season. After all, Brackett did rush for a team-high 171 yards in a game against Brown last year.

Dartmouth Big Green

2009 Record: (2-8, 2-5 Ivy)

Picked by the Ivy League media to finish in seventh place in the preseason, head coach Buddy Teevens and the rest of the Big Green have been vocal about their desire to prove their critics wrong in 2010. Returning  nine offensive starters and 10 defensive starters from a team that finished tied for sixth in 2009, Dartmouth feels that the only place to go is up. The Big Green joined Princeton as the only two teams in the Ivy League to average less than 300 yards of offense per game last season. Despite this, Dartmouth did produce the league’s best rusher in First-team All-Ivy running back Nick Schwieger. The combination of Schwieger and junior quarterback Connor Kempe expects to help the Big Green make a jump in the offensive standings in 2010, and, according to Teevens, a jump in the overall standings as well.

Harvard Crimson

2009 Record: (7-3, 6-1 Ivy)

Texas, Boise State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida, Montana and Harvard. Notice anything strange about that list? Montana and Harvard might seem like the odd teams out in a sampling of some of college football’s most prestigious programs, but this is a list of the teams that have posted the best winning percentages over the past decade. Harvard was 76-23 from 2000 to 2009 and appears poised to continue its reign of dominance into this decade. After winning back-to-back Ivy titles in 2007 and 2008, Harvard finished just behind Penn in 2009 with a 7-1 conference record. The Crimson features the most balanced offense in the Ivy League, averaging close to 180 yards per game through the air and on the ground last season. Second-team All-Ivy quarterback Collier Winters and First-team All-Ivy running back Gino Gordon are both back for the 2010 campaign, just one of the reasons why Harvard is expected to be celebrating its third championship in four tries at season’s end.

Penn Quakers

2009 Record (8-2, 7-0 Ivy)

The Quakers stormed through the Ivy League a year ago with an undefeated conference record, finishing 8-2 overall. Currently ranked No. 24 in The Sports Network (TSN) / Media Poll, Penn figures to be a formidable threat again in 2010. The Quakers feature a dominant defensive attack that allowed just 95 points in 10 games last season and a deep corps of running backs led by two All-Ivy League performers. Despite last year’s success, though, several questions still surround the Quakers heading into this year. After the tragic passing of team captain and defensive lineman Owen Thomas in the spring, and the graduation of All-Ivy defensive lineman Joe Goniprow and All-American defensive back Chris Wynn last semester, Penn will have a lot of holes to fill in a defense that was ranked No. 1 in the FCS last season. Oh, and don’t forget the issues at quarterback: Penn has started six players at that position in the last two years. Nonetheless, look for the Quakers at the top of the Ivy standings in late November.

Princeton Tigers

2009 Record: (4-6, 3-4 Ivy)

Similar to Cornell, the Tigers will be welcoming in a new era of Princeton football in 2010 under new head coach Bob Surace. A former assistant coach with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, Surace hopes to turn around a Princeton program that has produced three straight 4-6 seasons in the same way that he helped turn the Bengals around in 2009. In hopes of inspiring an offense that ranked second to last in the Ivy League last season, Surace has introduced a new, no-huddle offense. It was an effective approach in Week 1, as Princeton accumulated 528 offensive yards behind junior quarterback Tommy Wornham’s passing and senior Jordan Culbreath’s running.

Yale Bulldogs

2009 Record: (4-6, 2-5 Ivy)

After a disappointing 2009 campaign under first-year head coach Tom Williams, the Bulldogs are hoping for a rebound in 2010. Not all went wrong for Williams’ debut with the Bulldogs, as Yale ranked No. 10 in the FCS in scoring defense a year ago. First-team All-Ivy cornerback Adam Money and Second-team All-Ivy defensive tackle Tom McCarthy were key components of last year’s defensive attack and will be back in 2010 with hopes of improving Yale’s ranking. On the offensive side of the ball, Yale is led by junior quarterback Patrick Witt. Witt, a transfer from Nebraska in 2009, appeared in eight games last season for the Bulldogs and is off to a good start this year, completing 35 of 55 attempts against Georgetown last week for 407 yards and two scores.

Original Author: Daniel Froats