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Penn and Dartmouth face off feet from the Quakers' end zone during last year's home opener on Oct. 1, 2021. Credit: Samantha Turner

College football season has arrived, and the Ancient Eight begin their slate of games for the 2022-23 season starting on Friday, Sept 16. Here's how the eight Ivy League teams stack up so far.

1. Harvard (8-2, 5-2 Ivy, 3rd in 2021)

After narrowly missing out on the Ivy League title last season, the Crimson will come into the season looking to claim their first conference title since 2015. Offensively, the Crimson return senior quarterback Luke Emge, leading wide receiver Kym Wimberly, and junior running back Aidan Borguet, who earned Preseason Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year recognition. Defensively, Harvard returns linebacker Jack McGowan, senior defensive back Alex Washington — who was named first team All-Ivy last season — and junior defensive tackle Thor Griffith. Tim Murphy, in his 29th year at the helm, also brings in a strong batch of recruits to help. 

2. Dartmouth (9-1, 6-1 Ivy, T-1st)

Coming off another Ivy League title in 2021, the Big Green, now leading the Ivy League in total titles with 20, returns a strong group ready to contend again for the trophy. Dartmouth is led by senior quarterback Nick Howard, who has had the offseason to fully prepare for the QB1 role, and looks to take full command of the offense this year. He will certainly benefit from a veteran offensive line protecting him. The defense, however, which ranked top five in the FCS last year, returns only three starters. Despite this, the Big Green have had a 5-2 or better conference record in seven of the past eight years, and head coach Buddy Teevens will likely know how to adjust to get the most out of his team once again.  

3. Princeton (9-1, 6-1 Ivy, T-1st)

The defending co-champions have gone 27-3 over the past three seasons, tied for the best mark in the league with Dartmouth. Under 12-year head coach Bob Surace, the Tigers, who led the league in offense last year, will have a new signal-caller, down to a preseason competition with junior Blake Stenstrom, senior Joseph Hutchinson, and sophomore Blaine McAllister. The offense returns senior wide receiver Andrei Iosivas and sophomore running back John Volker. Defensively, the Tigers will be led by last year’s breakout star, senior defensive lineman Uche Ndukwe, who mustered up 9.5 tackles for loss and six sacks last season to lead the team. Senior punter Will Powers, a first team Preseason All-Ivy selection, hopes to have another big season as well.

4. Yale (5-5, 4-3 Ivy, T-4th)

While the Bulldogs finished the year a measly .500, they can look at the fact that they finished just 2-4 in one-score games as encouragement for this year. Yale returns many key components, including dual-threat quarterback Nolan Grooms, running back Spencer Alston, wide receiver Mason Tipton, and left tackle Nick Gargiulo. The Bulldogs also have the added luxury of being able to rely on a strong defense, led by its stout defensive line headlined by FCS Preseason All-America tackle Clay Patterson, and senior edge rushers Reid Nickerson and Osorachukwu Ifesinachukwu. Head coach Tony Reno hopes to lead the Bulldogs to their first league title since 2019 this season.

5. Columbia (7-3, 4-3 Ivy, T-4th)

The Lions had some exciting moments last year, but couldn't maintain their success during conference play. They will hope to change that this year and end their 61-year drought of not having won a conference title. Head coach Al Bagnoli, in his seventh season at Columbia after 22 at Penn, returns a solid roster headlined by quarterback Joe Green, the 2021 Ivy League Rookie of the Year, running back Ryan Young, and receiver Marcus Libman. Defensively, the Lions will be led by linebackers Scott Valentas, C.J. Brown, defensive back Fara’ad McCombs, and defensive lineman Mitch Moyer. 

6. Penn (3-7, 1-6 Ivy, T-6th)

The Quakers have struggled recently under head coach Ray Priore, and despite their rich program history, have not claimed an Ivy League title since 2016. The Quakers will be led at the helm by sophomore quarterback Aidan Sayin, who showed flashes of promise, running back Trey Flowers, and wide receiver Rory Starkey Jr. Additionally, they are stout in the trenches, with the offensive line being anchored by two Preseason First Team All-Ivy linemen in seniors Ben Hoitink and Trevor Radosevich. Defensively, they return a strong linebacker group led by seniors Garrett Morris and Jake Heimlicher and standout defensive back Jaden Key. Sayin’s development and the offense’s improvement from last year will play a big role in how the season goes for the Red and Blue.

7. Brown (2-8, 1-6 Ivy, T-6th)

The Bears have a miserable combined record of 2-26 in Ivy League play over the past four seasons. This year’s 27 seniors will hope to change that. Led at the helm by head coach James Perry, the Bears' QB1 job will be battled for by junior Jake Willcox and senior Aidan Gilman. The Bears also possess a stacked group of wideouts led by Preseason All-Ivy first team selection Wes Rockett, Hayes Sutton, and Graham Walker, and stout running back Allen Smith. Defensively, the Bears will be led by linebacker Junior Gafa, a senior who earned a Preseason All-Ivy second team selection.

8. Cornell (2-8, 1-6 Ivy, T-6th)

The Big Red have finished with a losing conference record each of the past 16 years, including during all eight seasons of head coach Dave Archer’s tenure. They hope to change that this year. They return sophomore signal-caller Jameson Wang, and Preseason All-Ivy first team Selection Thomas Glover. Defensively, the Big Red are led by the Ancient Eight's 2021 leading tackler linebacker Jake Stebbins,  and senior defensive back Demetrius Harris.