Ray Priore, your time is up.
On Saturday, the Quakers will play Princeton in their season finale. And, barring a miracle, they will inevitably lose, finishing the year at the bottom of the Ivy League. After what will be their worst season in nearly a decade, Penn football must move on and fire coach Ray Priore.
Let’s be honest, we all saw this column coming.
After all, it has been undoubtedly an incredibly disappointing season for the Red and Blue. In the most likely scenario, the Quakers will finish 3-7 overall with a 1-6 Ivy record. Penn’s only victories this season will have come against a one-win Bucknell team that sits dead last in the Patriot League, a two-win Lehigh squad who is not far from the Bison in league standings, and a two-win Brown team that joins the Red and Blue as one of the worst in the Ancient Eight.
It will be the Quakers’ worst season since legendary longtime coach Al Bagnoli stepped down following a 2-8 campaign in 2014. And not to add insult to injury, but it has been a while since Penn has had this bad of a league record — since 1981, in fact.
Unfortunately, it gets worse for the Red and Blue.
Entering the final game of the season, the Quakers are last in the Ivy League in total offense. And there is more — they are second to last in scoring offense, last in passing offense, last in passing efficiency, last in first downs, and second to last in penalty yards.
Now that is bad, especially for a seventh-year veteran coach like Priore.
Why were the Red and Blue so bad this year?
Sure, they lost an entire season due to COVID-19, but so did the rest of the Ancient Eight. Maybe it was due to the absence of star talent on the field. Or maybe it was the result of the mistakes and a lack of execution by the players. Whatever the reason, it falls on Priore at the end of the day. The Quakers’ struggles all year ultimately comes down to Priore’s inability to formulate a winning game plan throughout this season.
Honestly, a season like the current one has been long overdue for the Red and Blue. In the past few years, Penn has been very much a middle-of-the-pack team in the Ivy, finishing with 6-4 and 5-5 records. With inconsistent quarterback play, the Quakers have not been considered contenders for the league title in years — since winning two in Priore's first two seasons - mainly with players his predecessor recruited.
Yes, the Quakers were Ivy League champions in Priore’s first two years as head coach, but that was with the likes of quarterback Alek Torgersen and wide receiver Justin Watson on the field. Without NFL talent on the team, Priore’s teams have been average at best, proving that Priore cannot take the team far without a star-studded roster.
It definitely will not be easy for the Red and Blue to part ways with someone like Priore who has been a part of the program for the better part of three decades, but it is time to move on. The Red and Blue have not been Ivy contenders for a while, and Priore has proven in recent years that he is not the man to put the Quakers back on the map.
If the message is somehow still unclear: fire coach Ray Priore. Now.
CHARLIE MA is a College senior from Nashville studying economics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.