Zachary Silver / Sun Senior Editor

Columnist Jack Kantor offers his thoughts on the disappointing recent history of Cornell Football.

August 29, 2018

KANTOR | The Elusive Winning Season

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It may still be technically summer, but fall sports are starting up here on East Hill. So why not dive in and start talking about them.

First (and only) on today’s agenda, let’s address the elephant in the room that is Cornell football.

At least for as long as I have been around, the football team has received plenty of flack — including from Sun columnists-turned-sports-editors — for its disappointing results each season. In the last three years, Cornell football has a total record of 8-22, with a marginally better 6-16 Ivy League record.

Cornell football hasn’t put together a winning season since 2005, when the squad went 6-4, and 4-3 in the conference. Back then, current seniors were in third grade and current freshmen were in kindergarten.

To put into perspective, society staples like the iPhone and Twitter did not exist the last time Cornell football had a winning season. Needless to say, a lot has changed since then.

The simple fact that Cornell isn’t a university known for its athletics is an argument one could make, but setting aside its merits for the purposes of our discussion, its conclusion does not absolve the football program of its mediocrity. The football team’s shortcomings are disappointing — even by Cornell standards.

Of the 11 men’s programs that keep a conference record, football has gone the longest stretch without posting a winning season in its conference. That means since the last time Cornell football put forward a successful Ivy League season in 2005, every other men’s program has managed to accomplish that feat at least once.

No one wants to be unfair and go out of their way to criticize Cornell football this year. In fact, the team’s Ivy League record has been trending up since 2015. So if that trend continues this season, perhaps that 3-4 can be flipped to a 4-3 in the Ivy League. Seeing Cornell football carry out a winning season in-conference would undoubtedly bring joy into the hearts of Cornell sports fans everywhere.

A winning season has been a long time coming. But has it been too long? When will this winning season finally occur?

The criticism of the program in recent years is not unfounded. It’s not as if people are ragging on the team for failing to repeat an Ivy League championship. The expectations aren’t that high. It’s pretty reasonable to expect at least one, just one, winning season in a 10-plus year span (and this is coming from a New York Jets fan). It’s not too much for ask for.

This is not to say that the 2018 squad doesn’t have the ability to pull it off a winning season. By no means is anyone counting them out this early — two weeks out from playing their first game.

This isn’t a prediction about the upcoming season. This is simply a forewarning. If the losses pile up as they have in the past, people will not hesitate to criticize the squad.

And if they are successful, fans will be more than happy to praise them. But we’ll believe it when we see it.