Week 8 of Ivy League Elo is here, and Cornell faces off against Penn in an attempt to claim its first Trustee cup in five years.
For a refresher on the model and its specifics, check out the first Elo article, where we explained how it works.
Week 7 began with Cornell (1384) expectedly losing to Princeton (1679), 21-7. That contest was followed by another large win as Yale (1540) defeated Columbia (1448), 45-10. The final two games of last week, however, were surprisingly close. Dartmouth (1674) narrowly bested Harvard (1553),9-6, thanks to a last-second touchdown. And Penn (1440) beat Brown (1286), 38-36, in a matchup which came down to a last-second field goal.
The Elo rankings have not changed much this week and the groupings remain relatively consistent. Princeton and Dartmouth remain separated by only five points atop the rankings, Cornell continues to struggle to stay in the middle grouping and Brown continues to lose every game. However, several of the games this week hold large implications for this season’s standings and will give teams a chance to make substantial changes in their ratings.
The model’s predictions are still perfect, having predicted all 16 Ivy League games correctly.
Yale at Brown — 12:30 p.m. Saturday
Yale (1540) is heavily favored this week against Brown (1286). It has been almost exactly three years since Brown defeated another Ivy League team, with its last conference victory coming against Dartmouth on November 12, 2016. Yale, on the other hand, currently sits at 6-1 and has only lost to an undefeated Dartmouth team. If Yale is able to win its remaining games and Princeton beats Dartmouth this week, the Bulldogs will be guaranteed a share of the Ivy League title. The game shouldn’t be particularly close.
Harvard at Columbia — 1 p.m. Saturday
Columbia (1448) will face off against Harvard (1553) at home this week. Columbia has not played great recently and has lost big in two straight games against Ivy League opponents. Harvard’s last two games have been against Princeton and Dartmouth and even though the Crimson have lost both contests, the games were decided by one score each. Harvard is definitely a better football team than its current record shows. Columbia’s only conference win has been against a struggling Penn team and the Lions appear to lack the power to defeat a tough opponent like Harvard.
Cornell at Penn — 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Cornell (1384) has a chance to secure its first Trustee Cup in five years this Saturday. The Red most likely has a better chance at a victory than the model shows as Penn (1440) barely beat a bad Brown team last week. Cornell will look to its strong defense in this game. Last week, the Cornell defense held a potent Princeton offence to a season-low 21 points. Both of these teams have had lackluster seasons and are looking for a solid win in this rivalry game.
Dartmouth vs Princeton — 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Yankee Stadium
Dartmouth (1674) is set to play Princeton (1679) this Saturday in the Bronx. These two undefeated teams currently represent the best of the Ancient Eight and will fittingly play this important game at a neutral site. Beyond the unique venue, this contest is set up to be the best Ivy League football game of the year. Princeton is currently on a 17-game winning streak that has spanned two seasons. The Tigers’ last loss came against Dartmouth in the final week of the 2017 season. Dartmouth is 16-1 over that same 17 game stretch with their one loss being to Princeton last year. Whichever team wins this game will likely secure the Ivy League title and also end the season with the highest Elo rating. The model shows that this contest is almost a complete toss-up because these two teams have nearly identical Elo ratings. This game is set up to be a thriller.