Those of us on The Crimson’s sports board feel the same way about Yale football coach Tom Williams as Boston Red Sox fans feel about the Yankees’ closer, Mariano Rivera.
We hate the team, but we respect the man.
Really, it’s hard not to. Williams took over for the Bulldogs this year and brought with him a level of intensity and confidence that seemed to be lacking in the later stages of good ol’ Jack Siedlecki’s tenure. It also doesn’t hurt that Williams gives a hell of a quote: After Yale’s loss to eventual Ivy League champ Penn in week six, he told reporters, “We played with great intensity, we played with great violence, we played with great effort, but those things were not enough.”
You had me at “great violence.”
But with all due respect, Coach Williams, you were wrong about one thing … well, two things. In your first press conference at the helm of the Bulldogs, you said your squad not only would reclaim the Ivy League title (at 2–4 in conference play; it ain’t gonna happen), but would beat Harvard for just the second time in nine years in the process.
“We’ve got to turn The Game back into a rivalry,” you explained. “It’s been a little one-sided.”
And this year, it’s going to stay that way.
I can’t think of one football-related reason why Yale should stand a chance in New Haven. The Bulldogs boast a pretty formidable defense but are much better against the pass — which Harvard avoids relying on at all costs — than the run — the Crimson’s bread and butter. Yale has no ground attack to speak of, and its two moderately talented quarterbacks, Patrick Witt ’12 and Brook Hart ’11, are equal-opportunity passers, in that opposing defensive backs have as good a chance at catching their throws as their own receivers.
Harvard might have missed out on an Ivy-title three-peat after losing to Penn last week, but with a veteran offensive line paving the way for junior Gino Gordon and freshman Treavor Scales to run amok, and the Ancient Eight’s second-best run defense forcing whichever unreliable signal caller the Bulldogs start to take to the skies, the Crimson will walk away from this season with one of college sports’ greatest consolation prizes: winning The Game.
With that settled, I see no reason to resort to infantile character attacks on Yale’s football team, its students or even the city of New Haven — always an easy target for Harvard supporters lacking proficiency in the art of the creative insult. Instead, I’d like to extend my gratitude in advance to various members of the Yale community for their generous hospitality.
First, I’d like to thank my worthy opponent in this battle of Ivy League sports columnists, Mr. Song; I’ve read some of your columns, and your knack for self-deprecating humor, stream of consciousness and pop-culture references will surely result in a wonderful piece of prose valiantly written in support of a losing effort. Also, as Ivy League sports columnists, we’re probably both pushing our readership into double digits by publishing these pieces in two papers, so cheers to that.
I’d like to show my appreciation for the Bulldogs, who, by agreeing to play in this game, are kindly allowing the Crimson’s seniors to end their college careers on a high note.
Finally, I want to thank Yale and New Haven for their commitment to fighting discrimination against kegs and unnecessarily long tailgates. I can’t think of a better place to celebrate Harvard’s victory tomorrow.
In return, we Crimson faithful will do our best to fit in this weekend, although I admit it will be tough to match our hosts’ sense of shattered optimism and glazed-over looks of despair.
But cheer up, Elis. After all, it’s just The Game.
Loren Amor is a columnist and sports editor for The Harvard Crimson.
For more Harvard-Yale coverage, check out yaledailynews.com/thegame.