Like Pigskins into Air

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Recapitulation of this weekend’s football endeavor by CML

Saturday began in New Haven with frigid wind and driving rain, and ended for the Lions with an even greater dreariness.  For me, visiting the city from which I was rejected last April evoked mixed feelings: it was certainly consoling to be able to juxtapose a wasteland of seedy car dealerships and strip-malls against the orgy of opportunities New York offers.  On the other hand, the historic Yale Bowl, built to seat crowds of 60,000 in an era where Ivy League football was sort of a big deal, is truly an awesome venue.

Against this dramatic tempest of capricious gales, unremitting precipitation, endless expanses of empty bleachers, and a smattering of fans dressed like cartoon waterfowl, this afternoon’s contest commenced. The first fifteen minutes were characterized by inconsistent offense, decent defense, and no score for both sides.  But early into the second quarter, something as pleasant and improbable as a ray of light puncturing the oppressively gray cloud cover occurred: the Lions converted a field goal for the game’s first points.  Meanwhile, Yale’s fabled offense flagellated itself with holding penalties.  For once, it didn’t seem unreasonable that, against an Ivy opponent, Columbia might take a lead – however miniscule it was – into the half.


But the fates, as they invariably do, decided against a win for the Lions.  Ironically, it was a blown penalty call that resurrected the Elis: late in the second quarter, Columbia’s defense seemed poised to force another punt.  On third down, the Yale quarterback threw a bad pass, but the Lions were unjustly slapped with a specious pass-interference call.  As it is wont to do a few times per game, the defense – and the lead it inherited – dissolved. Yale went up 7-3, and lo, the insubstantial pageant of a field goal faded in importance, and it was just another futile conference Columbia football game. 

In the final two acts, the ball was relentlessly pounded into Columbia’s undersized defensive line, the Elis notched two more touchdowns, the Lions’ offense gave up an interception, and not a rock of the lead that Columbia had so ephemerally enjoyed remained. But the rain had stopped, and the wind abated.  No longer stranded on the barren rock of New Haven, the Lions and their supporters returned home.


  1. i feel  

    *so* bad for Norries.. he def has his heart in the game, unlike shoop, and he gets this shit

  2. shoop had his  

    heart in it too.. until a season and a half of crushing defeat. then i think he just broke down.

  3. we all  

    had our heart in columbia until 2 years of the mind numbing soul crushing that takes place here leave you a bitter and jaded student.

    enjoy that first blissful year.

  4. CML  

    I agree, but Norries is probably wise enough to see that it's unrealistic to expect a significant turnaround of a program with an ingrained culture of apathetic losing. Case in point: two years ago, the University of Washington, which plays its home games three miles from my house, fired its interim coach after a disastrous 1-10 season, replacing him with a more famous name. The next year, UW went...1-10. But this season, they're 4-4 - a vast improvement. Once Norries's recruits increase in quality and quantity and come of age, I think we'll see significant improvement, but it'll take my entire four years here to see the full effects.

  5. CML  


    • thats  

      more like it.

      at columbia you have two options. ignore the fact that it kinda sucks here and tell yourself its the same everywhere else when you notice the suckiness. or fully fathom the suckiness and become disillusioned and swear to never donate to the place until you're sated with high quality free columbia gear.

      • wow.  

        see its retards like you who prepetuate the losing cycle. Yeah. lets not donate as a punishment for losing. That'll teach em when they have to take cabs and can only recruit in a 300 mile radius.

        • please  

          columbia has billions. money is not the issue. that line is tired and hackneyed and anything columbia wants to have money will get money

          • you're a  

            moron. billions? where, in the endowment? which no school like columbia touches even for developments like manhattanville? (why do you think we're trying to raise 4 bajillion dollars?) yeah. i'm sure they'll suddenly reverse policy for columbia football.

            look. i know you guys want to just sit around in blissful arrogance and rip on everybody but don't make those who like sports seem like idiots by not even considerng how funding processes work. Funding isn't the only problem and i didn't suggest it. In fact, if you actually had reading comprehension skills you would have realized i chastised the poster for saying what would change the program is withholding donations, a reasonable criticism. Of course you can't understand simple english so i'll clearly delineate this for you.

            We suck for a bunch of reasons, amongst them:

            no continuity on the staff or tolerance for program development (we don't realize that our repeated attempts at quickfixes have yielded the same shitty records we would have had otherwise)- i don't care who the coach is, we need to give them time w/their own recruits

            limited and shortsighted recruiting

            policies which have discouraged or alienated already apathetic student/alumni participation


  6. its true.  

    its very silly to expect a college fb head coach and turn a program with a history of losing into a winner in even 2-3 years. football's particularly hard to turn a program around in becuase you're usuallly highly dependent on your juniors/seniors so you need at least 3-4 yrs to get your recruits in. columbia isn't on par w/these schools obviously but its still illustrative of the point: Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech:

    1st year: 2-9
    2nd year: 3-8
    3rd year: 6-4-1
    4th year: 6-5
    5th year: 5-6
    6th year: 2-8-1
    7th year: 9-3
    8th year: 8-4
    9th year: 10-2 Sugar Bowl Champion

    Greg Schiano at Rutgers:

    1st year: 2-9
    2nd year: 1-11
    3rd year: 5-7
    4th year: 4-7
    5th year: 7-5
    6th year: 7-0 (current season)

    Bill Snyder at Kansas State (now retired)

    1st year: 1-10
    2nd year: 5-6
    3rd year: 7-4
    4th year: 5-6
    5th year: 9-2-1

    Gary Pinkel at Missouri

    1st year: 4-7
    2nd year: 5-7
    3rd year: 8-5
    4th year: 5-6
    5th year: 7-5
    6th year: 7-1 (current season)

    Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin (now retired)

    1st year: 1-10
    2nd year: 5-6
    3rd year: 5-6
    4th year: 10-1-1

    Kirk Ferentz at Iowa:

    1st year: 1-10
    2nd year: 3-9
    3rd year: 7-5
    4th year: 11-2

  7. The Dink  

    good god, the bwog needs someone else to write these freakin' football reviews...the snarky style that works so well for everything else is simply excruciating to read! get someone who can actually write something readable about sports!

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