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October 31, 2019

Week 7 Ivy League Football Elo Ratings

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Another week of Ivy League Elo is here and in week 7, Cornell will face its toughest opponent, a Princeton team that handed the Red a devastating 66-0 loss last year.

As always for a refresher on the model and its specifics, check out the first Elo article where we explained how it works. 

Week 6 of Ivy League football was busy with all eight teams playing conference games. Dartmouth (1663) began the weekend by handily defeating Columbia (1474), 59-24.

The other three games were close, though, with Princeton (1669) edging out Harvard (1564), 30-24, and Yale (1514) defeating Penn (1435), 46-41, in a high-scoring contest. The last game of the weekend between the two worst Ivy teams, Cornell (1394) and Brown (1291), ended up being an exhilarating matchup. The contest was decided by a last-minute game-winning field goal by senior kicker Nickolas Null, which lifted Cornell to a 37-35 victory.

This season’s Elo rankings are starting to take shape with three groups forming. The two highest-rated teams, Princeton and Dartmouth, have a near 100-point lead over the next best team and are only separated by six points themselves. It would take a major turnaround and collapse for one of these teams to miss out on the Ivy League Elo title.

The next Elo group is the middle of the pack, where five teams stand. These squads appear to have the most volatile ratings. Cornell finds itself hanging in the middle of the pack, but only by a thread. The Red will need a couple more wins on the season to not fall out of this group. At the bottom resides Brown. Not much needs to be said about the team as the Bears are 100 points behind the next worse team and 200 points below a 1500-point “average team.”

The model itself has been quite accurate, having predicted all 12 conference games correctly.

Princeton at Cornell — 6 p.m. Friday 

Cornell (1394) is coming off its first conference win of the year, while Princeton (1669) remains undefeated through six weeks. The Tigers just defeated a tough Harvard team, and it looks like they will pick up another victory in Ithaca this Friday. The Red barely beat Brown, which does not bode well for Cornell as it enters matchup against the Ivy League’s best team. If the Red pulls out a win, it will be the upset of the season, but don’t count on that outcome coming to fruition.

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Columbia at Yale — 12 p.m. Saturday 

Yale (1514) and Columbia (1474) meet in New Haven this week in a matchup which could be closer than the statistics show. Looking only at conference games, the Bulldogs are 2-1, and the Lions are 1-2, but Columbia’s two losses came against Dartmouth and Princeton. The Lions’ other game was a statement victory over Penn, 44-6. Meanwhile, Yale eked out a victory over the Quakers in a shootout, 46-41. The Bulldogs are playing well this year, especially at home, and are the clear favorites in this matchup, but a Columbia win is certainly a possibility.

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Brown at Penn — 1 p.m. Friday

Brown (1291) will most likely lose to Penn (1435) this week. The Bears’ best chance for a win was last week against Cornell. Brown kept the game close against the Red, but ultimately, like in every conference game it has played since 2016, ended up losing. The model is likely under-projecting Penn’s winning probability.

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Dartmouth at Harvard — 1 p.m. Friday

This contest will probably be the most exciting of the week. Dartmouth (1663) is facing its toughest conference opponent of the season, Harvard (1564). This game is being played in Cambridge, and last week, the Crimson just barely lost to Princeton. Harvard has an outside shot at winning the Ivy League title and will need to win its remaining games and hope Princeton falters down the stretch. The Green needs to win all of its remaining games to secure an Ivy League title and will need to play its best football to notch a win this weekend.

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