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WEEK 11 CRYSTAL BALL THURSDAY/SATURDAY: The Big Game Awaits
My friends, it’s getting late in the season and that can only mean one thing: the big game is upon us.
“I know what you’re saying, GURU, and I can’t wait for Monday night’s Chiefs-Eagles matchup. Game. Of. The. Year!”
No, I’m sorry. That’s not it.
“What? Ok, then you’re talking about tonight’s Bengals-Ravens, right? Burrow. Lamar. Crab cakes. That is huge!”
“Geez. How about Jets-Bills with Buffalo’s season on the brink?”
Ha! Only if you’re jockeying for draft position.
“Ok, then what in the filet mignon is it? College ball?”
“Utah-Arizona? Georgia-Tennessee? Kansas-Kansas State? Harvard-Yale?”
No, folks. Those are all interesting tilts but, naturally, I’m talking about Lehigh-Lafayette. The Rivalry. Game #159.
Mountain Hawks vs. Leopards. Good vs. Evil. Higher education vs. a de-facto grammar school.2
The average reader looks at this contest and says “It’s a small college football game” but, those individuals are, by definition, average.3 This is a big-time event, the kind of spectacle you attend and one day tell your offspring you witnessed.4
Folks, this game is as bitter as any matchup that will happen this season. There is bad blood here, dating to when future Lehigh founder Asa Packer, a devout Episcopalian, refused to have anything to do with Lafayette because of its then-affiliation with the Presbyterian Church.5
Lafayette holds the series lead (81-72-5) but many of those wins are illegitimate, piled up during World War I and World War II when the Lehigh boys were off defending our country from evil forces. Most importantly, Lehigh has owned the rivalry since 1950 with a 45-26-2 record and is 12-5 vs. the Leopards at bucolic Goodman Stadium, which opened in 1988.
That’s where the teams will face off this Saturday at 12 pm ET with the Leopards (8-2) enjoying one of their best seasons in years and on the precipice of the Patriot League title and an automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Lehigh, on the other hand, is a tough 2-8 though the young team has shown plenty of promise under first-year head coach Kevin Cahill.
Fortunately, in this rivalry, there is a long history of the team with the lesser record rising up and slaying the dragon. And I think that’s what happens Saturday with yours truly, THE TRE MAN and THE FAIR CLAUDINE in the stands. Let’s call it 20-17, Mountain Hawks.
As for tonight’s NFL showcase on Amazon Prime, we’ve got the Bengals (5-4) visiting the Ravens (7-3), just four days after both teams let wins slip through their fingertips against the Texans and Browns, respectively. This one could be tighter than the Fed’s monetary policy and, in that scenario, I’ll roll with the hosts. Ravens by two.
That’s all for tonight, folks! I’ll be back in touch Sunday with the rest of my picks. Enjoy the games and God bless!
Theoretically, this game should be a walk in the park for My Beloved Commies, but nothing comes easy for this franchise so I’m anticipating a nailbiter. If my son and I got cash for the amount of time we spend in the fetal position on Sunday afternoons, terrified to look at the screen, we’d be richer than Randolph & Mortimer Duke before Murphy and Akroyd stuck it to them.
This seems harsh, I know, but in The Wall Street Journal’s recent ranking of the top 400 colleges and universities in the U.S., Lehigh was #14 while Lafayette didn’t make the list. And WSJ, like Shakira’s hips, don’t lie.
Some readers, like BROTHER BLUENIK, are well above average while others, like TOMMY BIRD, are mouth breathers well below the norm.
Other important life events: the birth of your child, turning on the TV and noticing that “Fletch” just started, rolling over in the middle of the night and realizing you still have two more hours to sleep, etc.
Christian denominations not getting along? What are the odds? And, by the way, that’s my tongue - not a meatball - firmly planted in my cheek. The meatball comes on Saturday.