DP Sports prediction: Penn football will have to go through Cornell quarterback Jeff Mathews on the road to the Ivy League championship this season.

Credit: Rachel Bleustein / The Daily Pennsylvanian

This Fourth of July, instead of enjoying a block party barbecue, a day on the beach or a Roots concert and fireworks on the Ben Franklin Parkway, my friends and I took a trip to Atlantic City. Maybe we could have enjoyed all of those things, but instead we spent the day gambling at our hotel casino.

I’m not a gambler.

I don’t know what convinced me to take this trip, but as my friends threw down 15-dollar chip after 15-dollar chip at the roulette table, I quickly and quietly turned $20 into a cool $75.67 on a slot machine.

And just like that, I was done.

For the purpose of this column, I don’t have the good fortune of taking one risk — in this case, making a sports prediction for the upcoming year — and immediately walking away with my earnings, never to return. Oh no, I’m in it for the long haul.

The following are my predictions; come April I’ll be happy just to get my 20 bucks back.

1. Football will play for the Ivy championship on Nov. 17 at Cornell.

This time last year, I wouldn’t even dare “Cornell” and “championship” in the same sentence, but the day has come. Quarterback Jeff Mathews and wide receiver Shane Savage will be a threatening duo this season, and the Big Red will make some big waves in the Ancient Eight.

Both teams could enter Week 10 undefeated, or either could have one loss. I won’t predict the nitty-gritty, but the winner of that game will be the Ivy champ.

  • 2. Women’s soccer will make the NCAA tournament.*

Last season I was shocked the Quakers weren’t selected as an at-large to the NCAA tournament, despite a 14-2-1 record and 13 shutouts (including seven in a row).

The Red and Blue lost a few key players to graduation in May, but Kerry Scalora returns to invigorate Penn’s attack. This year, the Quakers will find a way into the tournament — which probably means winning the Ivy League.

  • 3. Men’s basketball will finish third in the Ivy League.*

And I will join the ranks of a select few Penn graduating classes to never see the QuakeShow cut down the nets and experience the excitement of a trip to the Big Dance.

Don’t be discouraged by this prediction though — Miles Cartwright will emerge as a true leader for the Quakers on and off the court, and the freshman and sophomore classes will get plenty of playing time and valuable experience for the future.

4. Women’s basketball will post a .500 record overall and in league play.

Okay, so I’m plagiarizing a bit from last year’s predictions on this one. But the Quakers were thisss clooose to breaking even in 2011-12, and there’s no reason they can’t get there this season.

Captain Jess Knapp taught her team about a little thing called perseverance when she played through two torn knee ligaments last winter. Though she’s graduated, the squad now knows they can battle through anything that comes their way.

5. The women out-perform the men.

Call me a feminist, but women’s programs will win more Ivy championships than men’s programs. It’s in the cards for women’s soccer, gymnastics, softball, lacrosse and at least one that will surprise us all. On the men’s side, I can’t even venture a guess — except for maybe football and fencing.

And in just one weekend, the women (field hockey, soccer and volleyball) are 6-1 compared to the men (soccer), which are 0-2.

Sorry, boys.

MEGAN SOISSON is a senior health and societies major from Mechanicsburg, Pa., and is senior sports editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian. Her e-mail address is soisson@theDP.com.

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