Patriot League: Week 6 Preview

For the second time in this still young 2019 season the Patriot League posted a dreaded “O’fer” weekend.  After last Saturday’s 0-4 performance the Patriot League now stands at an atrocious 4-20 overall record. What makes last week’s “O’fer” even more disheartening is the fact that all four losses were by double digits. Colgate and Holy Cross fought hard but never truly threatened to win while Fordham and Lafayette were outclassed from the start.

There are many theories as to why the Patriot League has performed so poorly  the last three seasons. Colgate’s 2019 campaign is clearly the outlier. The one thing that everyone seems to agree upon is the three league-imposed restrictions (60 scholarships instead of 63, no redshirts, roster size capped at ??) must be either eliminated or significantly tweaked. Not allowing an additional three scholarships appears to be nothing more than administrative pettiness. The ban on non-medical redshirts is quite complex due to the differing academic missions of each school. With that said, it’s believed that redshirts can be implemented in a manner that benefits each football program without compromising academic integrity. The roster limit is simply dumb. It compromises depth at certain positions and can affect how coaches are able to conduct their practices. The ability to have normal practices becomes more of an issue as the season progresses and injuries mount.

Until concessions are made regarding those three glaring issues it might be wise for the Patriot League as a whole to schedule accordingly. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to challenge your team but each game does not need to be a barometer of FCS greatness. The ultimate goal is and always will be to win games. And that’s an area where the league has failed in epic fashion.

Not surprisingly, the Patriot League appears to be headed for another rough Saturday.

The Games

Since the Patriot League has shown very little interest in winning these out of conference games TheFCSWedge has decided not to invest time researching and predicting loss after loss. Thankfully, league play begins next week so the stakes will ramp up when the pillow fights commence. Until then, take solace in the fact the non-conference ugliness is nearly over and conference victories are destined to happen!

Holy Cross (1-2, 0-0) at Syracuse (2-2) 12 P.M. Carrier Dome; Syracuse, NY

Live Streaming/TV: ACC Network

Need to Know: Syracuse is an ACC team loaded with athletes and depth. While the Orange might not be as good as their preseason Top 25 ranking once suggested, they have more than enough to firepower to run the Crusaders out of the Dome.

Prediction: Syracuse 52 Holy Cross 13

Merrimack (2-2) at Lehigh (0-3, 0-0) 12:30 P.M. Goodman Stadium; Bethlehem, PA

Live Streaming: Patriot League Network

The Need to Know: Merrimack is transitioning to Division I in 2019 after spending the last 22 seasons at the DII level. The Warriors two wins so far this season have come over non-D1 competition. While this isn’t a must win for Lehigh in the truest sense, a loss to a Merrimack program trying to find its way would be devastating for the Mountain Hawks.

Prediction: Lehigh 31 Merrimack 13

Georgetown (2-1, 0-0) at Columbia (1-0) 1 P.M. Wein Stadium; Manhattan, NY

Live Stream: ESPN+

The Need to Know: The Lions were picked to finish 6th in the Preseason Ivy League Poll. Al Bagnoli has done a good job turning the perennial cellar-dweller Lions into a competitive force within the Ancient Eight. This should be a good barometer for each team. Georgetown’s offense needs to pick up where it left off against Marist and Catholic in order to get a rare win over an Ivy League opponent.

The Pick: Columbia 27 Georgetown 24

Richmond (1-2) at Fordham (1-3, 0-0) 1 P.M. Jack Coffey Field; Bronx, NY

Live Stream: Patriot League Network

The Need to Know: The Rams and Spiders enter this contest staggering a bit after slow starts to the 2019 season. Richmond was pegged to finish 10th in the 12 team CAA this season. The Spiders hammered Fordham 52-7 last season when the two met in Virginia. While this season’s game will be far more competitive, the winner will be the same.

Prediction: Richmond 35 Fordham 27

#24 Princeton (1-0) at Bucknell (0-3, 0-0) 3:30 P.M. Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium; Lewisburg, PA

Live Stream: Patriot League Network

The Need to Know: Nationally ranked Princeton makes the pilgrimage to Central Pennsylvania to take on the struggling Bison Saturday afternoon. Despite suffering significant losses to graduation, the Tigers remain absolutely loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. That’s not good news for a Bison program still trying to find their way under first year head coach Dave Cecchini.

Prediction: Princeton 62 Bucknell 17

Penn (1-0) at Lafayette (0-4, 0-0) 3:30 P.M. Fisher Field; Easton, PA

Live Streaming: Patriot League Network

The Need to Know: For the 90th time Penn and Lafayette will clash on the gridiron. The Quakers are coming off a heartbreaking 28-27 loss to #23 Delaware.  Penn’s failed 2 point attempt late in game proved to be the difference. Lafayette quarterback Keegan Shoemaker and the rest of offense need to bounce back from an ugly performance against Albany last Saturday.

Prediction: Penn 38 Lafayette 21

Colgate (0-4, 0-0) at Dartmouth (1-0) 6 P.M. Memorial Field; Hanover, NH

Live Stream: ESPN+

The Need to Know: Things do not get any easier for defending Patriot League Champion Colgate. The Raiders now must contend with a stout Dartmouth team that has legit Top 25 and Ivy League title potential. Adding to the difficulty for Colgate is the fact that junior quarterback Grant Breneman is expected to miss his second straight game with an injury. It’s hard to believe but the Raiders are likely going to sustain a sixth straight double-digit loss dating back to last season.

Prediction: Dartmouth 37 Colgate 14

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