When Harvard plays Yale – beware of MIT!!

We begin this Harvard\Yale week, with some classic pranks from the engineering students attending school on another part of the Charles: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology; better known as: MIT.

In 1990, just before Yale was about to attempt a field goal, a rocket was fired from the end zone launching a MIT banner, which hung on full display from the goal post.

In 1996, the Harvard logos on the scoreboard were hacked; and instead of reading VE-RI-TAS, it was changed to: HU-GE-EGO.

But the one that is still talked about, and deserving of a place in the Prank Hall of Fame, occurred in 1982, during the first term of Ronald Reagan.

In the second quarter, all of a sudden, the field on the 45 yard line mysteriously opened, and slowly a large black weather balloon with the MIT in white written all over it, rose from the ground and slowly began to expand.

While the crowd fell into a shocked hush, some members of the Harvard Police drew its guns, then, as intended, the balloon exploded spewing talcum powder all over the field.

The following day the Boston Herald’s headline captured it best: MIT 1- Harvard-Yale 0.

This weekend, let’s see which teams “truly” rocket to a banner victory, and which leave its faithful in a hushed silence, chafing (talcum powder) over another desultory performance.

“The Game” Harvard vs Yale – (NBC Sports – 12:30 p.m.) In the 131 meeting between these ancient rivals (Yale leads the series: 65-57-8, although Harvard has won 7 in a row, and 12 of the last 13) there are many places to begin.

After all, if you include the Business and Law Schools, a combined 12 US Presidents have earned degrees in their hallowed halls.

But we’ll start with a Son of Southie, and the son of a fireman, the estimable, iconic, and acerbic columnist George Frazier, who would dismiss a person out of hand, simply based on the cut of the cloth of his suit.

George had an endless supply of witty, and dagger-esque rejoinders, one of which involved the train from Boston to New York; “Whenever I take the train to New York, I consider it a success, if I get there, while my suit is still in style.” (“Another Man’s Poison” – Charles Fountain).

My favorite, and I’m paraphrasing, revolves around the H/Y Game, and occurred at the Mount Auburn Hospital when Frazier was quite ill, dying from cancer.

A nurse was trying to make the irascible word-smith comfortable, and after some fussing she said, ‘isn’t that better Mr. Frazier?’ He looked at her and said, “I don’t know about you, but I’m only her for the Yale Game!” Perfect.

Also here is ESPN’s “College Game Day” crew, which gives you some idea of the magnitude of this Ivy League showdown. {Harvard is one of only 4 undefeated teams in the top two divisions}

The Sons of Calvin Hill, aka the Yale Bulldogs, are under the direction of QB Morgan Roberts (21 TDs-7 INTs) who is the triggerman on the FCS’s fourth (43) most explosive offense.

The Yalie dart thrower is assisted by tailback Tyler Varga (20 TDs -144 ypg), who can pierce a defense better than a tattoo artist on the angular skin of Angelia Jolie, while wideouts; Deon Randall, and Grant Wallace (11 combined TDs), are dangerous field-stretchers.

The D, of the Sons of Carmen Cozza, featuring backers Darious Manora, Charles Cook, and safety Foyesade Oluoken, is solid against the run, but struggles defending the pass (111th), which is the wrong recipe against Harvard.

The Crimson’s Tim Murphy is the best coach in New England, and quite possibly the entire East Coast. Harvard’s all-time winningest Head Man, who, in another life, was successful at Cincinnati, is a stunning; 113-25 in his last 138 contests for an eye-popping .811 winning percentage.

In compiling that resume, the Sons of Bobby Kennedy have, for the third consecutive year, clinched at least a share of the Ivy League Crown.

It is the eighth such title in Murphy’s 21 year tenure, and if his charges defeat the Bulldogs, H will capture the Ivy Title outright, which will culminate in Coach Murph’s third season of perfection.

Starting QB Connor Hempel, who has missed most of the year, hopes to play (shoulder, neck), but if he can’t go, Scott Hosch has done a better job than Phil Collins replacing Peter Gabriel in Genesis.

The engine of the Academic Giant’s eleven, is tailback Paul Stanton, who runs smoother than the line at Sullivan’s at Castle Island.

Whomever is under center, wideout Andrew Fischer, and tight end Tyler Hamblin are comforting targets.

But the strength of the “Men of Harvard” is its Nobel Prized defense.

This group, featuring backers Connor Sheehan, Jacob Lindsey, and tackle Obum Obukwelu, is the FCS’s stingiest (11), stoning runners, and attacking opponents with the ferocity of the paparazzi focused on the behind of anyone named Kardashian.

This is simple: as George Frazier coined, Harvard has “duende,” and Yale has John Kerry. Enough said!!

MIT at Husson College – Div. III playoffs – Bangor, Maine. Just like the board scores of its players, MIT football (9-0) has performed to perfection.

The last time that happened, Chester Arthur was hanging out in the Oval Office – 1881.

The distant cousins of Einstein dropped football in 1901, 15 years after Yale’s 96-0 whitewashing, and the Engineers didn’t “rediscover” the formula until its resurrection in: 1988.

The “Pigskin Professor” who engineered this turnaround is Coach Chad Martinovich, who says he has to remind his “Mensa” club members; “Don’t think, just play.” “Sometimes they have a tendency to be overly analytical,” the coach said.

In fact, one of its major contributors, wideout Brad Goldsberry, (an Electrical Engineering and Computer major) said, “I hate to say it, because people say it a lot, but back in high school I wasn’t sure MIT had a football program. I’m hoping that’s becoming less common,” he said philosophically.

The Sons of “Buzz” Aldrin ‘63, who lay claim to 81 Nobel laureates, average 40 points a game, under the direction of QB Peter Williams. The “Pythagoreans” leader is assisted by tailback Justin Wallace, (16 TDs- 7 yds. carry- over 1200 yards), who certainly knows the formula for speed.

The D, anchored by the backing trio; Anthony Emberley, Mitch Turley, and Cameron Wagner, attack with the same intensity of the Science and Engineering Club planning its next H/Y Game prank.

The Husson College Eagles of Bangor, Maine, who didn’t begin playing football until 2003, have won 8 in a row, earning its first invite into the playoffs.

Coach Gabby Price (no relation to Steve, although some might dispute!!), their 65 year old Zen master, is in his second stint with the Eagles. [When the Head Man took over two years ago, Price who also owns a pair of State High School championships, Husson was parched, scuffling from a 3-27 drought, making this run even more amazing.]

The Eagles soar on a ground attack led by freshman John Smith (13 TDs – over 1100 yds. – 127 yds.), and are guided by QB Joe Seccareccia (12 TDs – 9 INTs), who targets a pair of quality receivers; Ryan Stroud and Deon Wiggins.

The Sons of Sir Ferdinando Gorges (founder of Maine) attack with a stingy (17) D, featuring backers Ellis Throckmorton, and Bryant Wade, who have the ability to put a fright into a black bear.

George Carlin once read an MIT score the following way: “MIT 3 to the 4th power,” and we think the power of the laureates propels the Engineers to slide rule the victory.

No. 24 USC at No. 11 UCLA (Ch.5, 8 p.m.) In the 84th renewal, the Sons of John McKay would love to snuff the championship dreams of its crosstown rival, whose last conference championship occurred during the days when Bill Clinton was closeting with an intern – 1998.

The Men of Troy are directed by its dart-throwing, gunslingin’ QB, Cody Kessler (29 TDs-3 INTs – 70%), who targets better than Marine sniper.

The nation’s fourth most efficient tosser is assisted by a pair of defense testers; Biletnikoff semi-finalist Nelson Agholor (10 TDs – 8th in receiving yardage) and his equally dangerous partner JuJu Smith – 5 TDs.

On the ground the Trojans shifty plough horse, Javorius Allen (over 1100 yds. – 8 TDs -118 a game) is anvil hard, and anything but wooden.

USC’s “Paper Tiger” D, featuring All-America end Leonard Williams (8tfls-6 sacks), and backers Hayes Pullard, and Su’a Cravens (14 tfls – 5 sacks) defends the pass (102nd) about as well as the Nancy Pelosi’s democrats defended its terrain in the recent mid-term elections.

If the Sons of Tommy Prothro win out, a high cotton assignment, they will be crowned Pac 12 Champs.

The UCLANs are under the direction of its dual-threat maestro, QB Brett Hundley (17 TDs-4 INTs -72%), who performs as effortlessly as Duke Ellington, hitting his targets with more accuracy than a Syrian barrel-bomb.

The starry signal caller is assisted by game breaking tailback Paul Perkins (over 11 yards – 6 TDs), and when the first round selection takes to the L.A. skies, Jordan Payton, and Devin Fuller, are defense stressors.

But the biggest disappointment for Jim Mora’s troops has been the D, anchored by All-America Myles Jack, backer Eric Kendricks, and nose Kenny Clark, which has been exposed more than the holes of a Cheryl Tiegs bathing suit in a Sports Illustrated shoot.

In what should be a very close game, we think the Bruins find a way to eke out a victory, keeping its championship hopes alive.

No.19 Missouri at Tennessee (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.) Coach Gary Pinkel’s Tigers are like the “Little Engine That Could,” a team in which Rodney Dangerfield could relate.

If the Boys from the “Show Me State” win out, it will play in the SEC Championship for the second consecutive year, and nobody thought that was possible.

The offense of the Sons of Dan Devine, is directed by QB Maty Mauk (19 TDs-10 INTs) with strong assists from tailbacks Russell Hansbrough, Marcus Murphy, and favorite target Bud Sasser.

But overall this group is as dynamic (104th) as soon to be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at a podium with a microphone.

In contrast, the nation’s 16th stingiest (20) D, anchored by sack master (12) lineman Ray Shane, his partner Golden Markus, and backer Michael Scherer, plays with the anger of Barney Frank toward life.

In Knoxville, the Rocky Toppers haven’t been bowling since December of 2010, but if the Sons of Johnny Majors can plant one more victory flag, an invitation is in the mail.

The Checkerboard faithful, and Coach Butch Jones are also excited about the spark dual-threat sophomore QB Josh Dobbs (7 TDs-2 INTs) has provided since taking over two games ago – both wins.

The mature firebrand is assisted by tailback Jalen Hurd, and a pair of solid targets; Alton Howard, and Marquez North.

The improving D, anchored by starry end Derek Barnett (18 tfls-9 sacks), and backer Jalen Reeves-Maybin, will have to be on its best against Mizzou.

Rodney raises a glass as The “Little Engine” picks up momentum towards its second SEC East crown.

No.15 Arizona at No.20 Utah (ESPN, 3:30 p.m.) Coach Rich Rod has the Sons of Teddy Bruschi, “movin’ on up,” as they sang on “The Jeffersons.” If the Wildcats win out, they will bank a 10-win season.

The Tucson eleven are directed by its starry r-shirt freshman QB Anu Solomon (25 TDs-7 INTs), with assists from tailback Nick Wilson, and a pair of dangerous field-stretchers: Cayleb Jones 8 TDs, and Austin Hill.

The D is anchored by its Eveready backer Scooby Wright (21 tfls- 12 sacks), but overall (101st) is weaker than boxing’s Heavyweight Division.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is singing the praises of the pigskin turnaround in Salt Lake City.

The Sons of Evelyn Wood are commanded by its Himalayan-sized (6-foot-7, 240) QB Travis Wilson (13 TDs-2 INTs), who is assisted by a concrete crushing tailback Devontae Booker.

When the big man takes to the salty skies, Kenneth Scott, and Kaelin Clay are comforting targets.

The nation’s sack leader Nate Orchard (19tfls- 16.5 sacks) leads a defense that attacks more often the Israelis and Palestinians.

This is a very hard game on which to get a handle. A solid case can be made on both sides, but we’ll take the firepower of the desert visitors to carry the day.

Last week: 4-1                                 Season record: 43-17

That’s it from cyber space. We’ll be up and running with our recap by noon on Sunday. Until then, Peace, and listen to the music.   Pk

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