Monday, June 13, 2016

Ivy League 2016 Preview

Not even Harvard can win the Ivy League title every season, right? The Crimson have been tough to dethrone, but Penn shared the title last fall, and they look poised to push through to win it outright in 2016. Of course, the Quakers must get through Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth, all also in the hunt this fall. Here is our Ivy League Preview for 2016:

Projected Order of Finish
1. Penn
2. Harvard
3. Dartmouth
4. Yale
5. Princeton
6. Brown
7. Columbia
8. Cornell

Penn Quakers
The combo pack of QB Alek Torgersen and WR Justin Watson returns for business, which is one of the solid reasons why the Quakers will be competing for the league title in 2016. Torgersen is one of the most accurate passers in the conference, while Watson picked up 7.4 receptions per game, and scored 9 times last fall. If Penn can get a running game going, they could win outright, or a share of their 18th league title.
Penn loses Ivy League Defender of the Year Tyler Drake, but Donald Panciello should step right into that role at LB in 2016. If Penn is to get back to the top and stay there, the defense must improve overall. The Quakers gave up over 21 points most Saturdays last fall, and winning shootouts every week can get exhausting.
Predicted Win Total: 8

Harvard Crimson
A key to the Crimson taking another league title will be in replacing their star QB Scott Hosch, as he has moved on. Tom Stewart and Joe Viviano will compete for the job heading into fall camp. Of course, the news gets a little darker when it comes to finding a replacement at RB as well. The good news is that sophomore Justice Shelton-Mosley will be back at WR, and he is one of the better utility players in the league.
Luke Hutton must step up at LB to fill the gap as the Crimson lost every starter from last year's unit. Sean Ahern is a star in the secondary. Harvard gave up just 13 points per game last season, but with so many holes to fill, that may not be tenable this fall. That being said, it's just very hard to bet against Tim Murphy's teams.
Predicted Win Total: 8

Dartmouth Big Green
Dartmouth had their best season in years in 2015, and they are looking to push past both Penn and Harvard to win it all this fall. The problem is, like Harvard, they suffered huge graduation losses. They must find a new QB and two new starters at WR just for starters. If the offense is going to get moving this season, RB Ryder Stone will have to improve his game greatly, and up his total from 8 rushing TDs a year ago. There is some experience at WR returning in Houston Brown and Jon Marc Carrier, while Bruce Dixon IV is the favorite at QB heading into camp.
The defense was decimated with losses after last season. Folarin Orimolade received some experience last year, but now he has to lead. Lucas Bavaro also returns to help out. This unit forced 32 turnovers in 10 games last season. They may not repeat that with so many losses, but there is still talent here.
Predicted Win Total: 8

Yale Bulldogs
Yale continues the them of finding replacement parts, especially at QB. The good news is that RB Deshawn Salter will return after rushing for 7 TDs last season. He will be relied on a bit more in 2016, especially early in the season. If Bo Hines can remain on the field and be healthy this fall, he could be a much added weapon on the outside.
Yale should be strong on defense this fall. DT Copache Taylor returns to anchor the middle of the line, and demands double teams. Darius Manora will anchor the LB unit, while Spencer Rymiszewski is the star of the secondary. All three were all league selections last season.
With all of their injury issues last fall, combined with graduation losses, Yale could slip to second tier status this fall unless answers are found early.
Predicted Win Total: 6

Princeton Tigers
If you are looking for a dark horse in the league in 2016, the Tigers could be that group. They finished with 413 yards per game of offense last year, and the tools return to repeat that ability. QB John Lovett can do many things, and is more than a dual threat. Joe Rhattigan is also back at RB, but will have to be more of a work horse this season after rushing for 68 yards per game last fall. Princeton must find a decent group of receivers to improve their passing game, but they have all sorts of ways to hurt you with this offense.
S Dorian Williams and LB Luke Catarius are both back to lead the defense, and DT Henry Schlossberg is back to anchor the line. The defensive unit needs to find some consistency, and if they can get that done, Princeton could be a team to watch. If they can't, the middle of the pack awaits.
Predicted Win Total: 6

Brown Bears
Alexander Jette is one of the better receivers in FCS football, and he will have to be the guy this fall, as the Bears look  for replacements everywhere else on an offense that really piled it on last season. He is the leader by default until a QB and RB are found, and they also need to replace WR Troy Doles.
DE Richard Jarvis is the star on defense, but there are heavy losses in this unit as well. Whatever replacements are found, if the offensive firepower is to have any chance, this unit cannot afford to give up over 30 points per game again.
Predicted Win Total: 5

Columbia Lions
The Lions may just get out of the Ivy League cellar this fall, but they still won't be great. Keith Brady and Christian Conway are the stars on defense, and the unit as a whole is not too bad off. They managed to snapt their 24 game losing streak last season, but they may have to settle for small steps this fall.
Predicted Win Total: 2

Cornell Big Red
Luke Hagy was the lone weapon on offense worth talking about last season. He is gone. Robert Samborn will have to take on a bigger role on offense at QB, and that means having a better TD to INT ratio than 12/10.Nobody had more than 26 receptions last season, which is another issue facing the Big Red. Cornell may have to go to a committee approach at RB in a group consisting of Jake Jatis, Josh Sweet, and Jack Gellatly.
The defense was all over the place last fall, and they gave up more than 40 points three times on the way to a one win season. It's going to be a tall order to see things getting any better this season
Predicted Win Total: 1

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