NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- "This is a tremendous league," Yale coach Jack Siedlecki said with a bemused chuckle on Saturday. "It really is." Siedlecki could afford a nervous laugh or two because his Elis had just defeated the Penn football team, 27-24. The win propelled the Elis -- 2-1 in the Ivy League -- back into the thick of the Ancient Eight race. It can't get much thicker, either. Last week's three-way tie for first between 2-0 teams Penn, Cornell and Princeton became a five horse race on Saturday as all those teams lost and Yale and Harvard won. Each team now sits at 2-1 with only league games the rest of the way, which means that something will have to give -- and soon. "[Penn coach] Al [Bagnoli] made the comment to me yesterday that this may be the first time somebody loses two games and wins for the first time in 18 years or whatever its been," Siedlecki said. It was, in fact, 18 years ago -- 1982 -- when a team with two losses last won the Ancient Eight. Harvard, Dartmouth and Penn shared the title that season. "We don't want that to happen," Siedlecki said. In order for that not to happen, a team will probably have to run the table, like Yale did last year when, at 6-1, it shared the title with Brown. "[The race is] no different than last year," Siedlecki said. "We lost the opener last year, and we ran nine [games in a row]. You know, we're 5-1 right now, and we were 5-1 at this time last year." The operative word in the Ivies this year -- except for maybe "pass" -- is parity. On any given Saturday, it would seem, any Ancient Eight team can beat any other. Take, for example, Saturday's Brown-Cornell game. Cornell was 2-0 in the Ivy League and 2-4 overall while the Bears were 4-2 overall but 0-2 in the Ancient Eight. Further complicate this with the fact that Brown is not even eligible for the Ivy League championship this year due to rules infractions. What happens? Brown outshoots Cornell 56-40, of course. "Every week, you look at the scores of our [Ivy League] games and every one's a barnburner," Siedlecki said. "There are a lot of games like this. The kids know how to hang in there and win." Even Dartmouth, which at 0-3 in the league has only a slightly better shot at the title than ineligible Brown, is not to be taken lightly. After losing 48-14 to the Quakers to open the Ancient Eight season, the Big Green put a scare into Yale, losing by just 10 points, 24-14, after leading early in the contest. The picture is even fuzzier when one looks directly into the eye of the storm. Harvard, which hosts Dartmouth next week, has wins over Brown and Princeton under its belt but has also lost to Cornell. Cornell, with huge one-point wins over the Elis and Harvard, just suffered that 16-point loss to the ineligible Bears. The Big Red will host Princeton next week, in this week's only showdown between any of the two teams at the top of the standings. The Tigers will take their 2-1 record into Ithaca, N.Y. That mark includes a three-point overtime win at Columbia and a shellacking of Brown. Yale will travel to Columbia after riding high after its big win over Penn, while the Quakers will host the ever-dangerous and highly potent offense of Brown. Things can only get clearer from here.Comments powered by Disqus
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