There's a chance the Ivy League's Lou Gehrig division could end up like last year's NL West nearly did: with a champion with a losing record. That would be good news for Penn, which has already guaranteed itself a mark below .500.
Princeton, the top team in the Ancient Eight's lesser tier, is 5-7 going into this weekend's four-game set with Penn. The Quakers' fate is simple: win at least three games. The picture is somewhat complicated, because Cornell and Princeton have yet to play their four-game series, and will do so next weekend. Here are how the standings look today:
1 Princeton 5-7, .417
2 Cornell 4-8, .333, 1 game back
3 Penn 5-11, .313, 2 games back
4 Columbia 4-12, .250, 3 games back
No matter what happens in any particular game, any team to reach 13 losses is out. Depending on who wins what, 12 losses could mean a share of the title. So even last-place Columbia (8-28 overall) is still alive.
Penn can afford to drop just one game in New Jersey, while Columbia must sweep its set against Cornell in Ithaca. While there are no scenarios under which the Quakers can guarantee themselves the division crown outright this weekend, it is possible to win it with a sweep of the Tigers AND at least one Columbia win. Cornell would then have to win one of four against Princeton.
Then again, Princeton has won six in a row and has the best pitching staff in the Ivy League, so all of this might not matter come Saturday night. We'll keep you posted as things play out.