Schedule of Ivy contests unchanged through '17


Football team will play Ivy games in same order until at least 2017




Mark your calendars: Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017.

We don't know who'll be president; it won't be George Bush or whoever succeeds him, even if that person gets two terms.

But we do know that Penn will open its Ivy League football schedule hosting Dartmouth that day. So be sure to save the date.

The Ivy League football schedule is set through 2017, and fans may recognize it as very similar to the current one - but not exactly the same.

Every year since 1990, the Quakers have played the seven Ivy League teams in the same order, with the exception of switching the Brown game with the Yale game between the 1998-99 seasons.

In the spring, the conference settled on its schedule for after the current cycle ends in 2011, and the order of the games for every team remains the same.

In the 2012-17 schedule, designed by Penn associate athletic director Earl Cleghorn, Penn still plays Dartmouth as its Ivy opener in Week 3, followed by a non-league game, followed by Columbia, Yale, Brown, Princeton, Harvard and Cornell in succession. This will be reevaluated by 2017 in hopes of renewing it for the second half of the 12-year cycle, which would take that rotation through 2023.

"There are a lot of leagues that like to change the order of opponents," Ivy League associate director Chuck Yrigoyen said. "Where we ended up as a league is that it allows for predictability. It allows people to plan when those games are going to be for those particular years.

"They don't have to worry about looking at the schedule to find out when the Dartmouth game is going to be. If you're a Penn fan, you know that in the third week, you're going to be playing Dartmouth."

But it's where you're going to be playing Dartmouth that marks the only change in the schedule.

Penn brought to the league's attention that its three longest road trips - Brown, Harvard and Dartmouth - all took place in the odd years. In addition, the Big Green's three longest trips came in even years.

So to combat this, Cleghorn came up with the schedule in which Penn plays its opener at Dartmouth in 2011 and again in the first year of the new cycle in 2012. Dartmouth will travel to Penn in 2013, while the Quakers head to Brown and Harvard.

While evening the travel between years is a bit of a relief, it's still not perfect.

"You go to Brown, you come home to play arch-rival Princeton, and you have to go back to Boston - it puts you at a little bit of a disadvantage," said Quakers coach Al Bagnoli, who added that removing the Dartmouth trip that precedes these should take some of the wear off.

The issue that remains is plenty evident from looking at Penn's slate, which begins with games against weaker teams in Dartmouth and Columbia. The Brown-Princeton-Harvard stretch, on the other hand, has been brutal, and the Quakers went 0-3 in those three last year.

"In this current cycle, it's difficult for Harvard and Brown, who have been good teams in the last few years, to play the first week," Yrigoyen said.

Yrigoyen is not too concerned because of the cyclical nature of the conference's hierarchy. Nor is Bagnoli, who has plenty of experience with those ups and downs.

"Most of the teams fluctuate," Bagnoli said. "When I first got here, we used to open up at Dartmouth, and for the first five years, the winner of that game won the Ivy League championship."

Since then, however, the Big Green has hit rough times and has won just two of its last 15 league games.

"Ten years from now, you don't know who the strong ones are," Bagnoli added.

And while the Quakers of 10 years from now are lacing up the cleats in Pop Warner football, they can still start getting ready for that opener against Dartmouth.

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