Wednesday, November 26, 2008
2008 was indescribable due to its amazing contrasts. Each time a conclusion is reached, it has to be erased to write the opposite. The 2008 season was a season of great potential of what could be and of great contrast.
The contrasts began even before the season started with the renovations to Rooney Field.
The bathrooms, turf, and new seating were fantastic additions, but the seating capacity was actually reduced to make the field look more like a community park field rather than a D-1 Collegiate Football venue. Dayton and Albany fans were amazed that they could just walk up and sit right along the sidelines behind their team (without paying). The home team fans didn’t mind a bit paying for their tickets and then being asked to contribute to the new athletic fund. Duquesne fans are a generous bunch.
The fans got a new band that sounded great, but not one of the marching variety. If you didn’t sit next to them you probably couldn’t hear them well. Who really thinks of a half-time show at a college football game anyway? Duquesne has a first class music school that attract lots of spirited students from high school band programs.
There was a new picnic area that served food and a great beer. Unfortunately it was a bit over priced at three times the price of a ticket. Pittsburgh fans were also not fooled by calling it a “Tailgate” Area. We know what “tailgating” is and there was not a designated tailgate area to be found. Tailgating is bringing your best chili, ribs, or hot sausage recipes and debating who makes the best beans. The entire length of Bluff Street would do nicely.
The concession stand was a nice addition. Giving the venders the best view at the 50-yard line was a nice touch, but would it have made sense to tuck it in under the new bleachers? There could have been more seats in front of it and more room for the “press” on the first floor of the “press” box. The press box is a facility that does much to bring the media closer together in many ways. Seriously, if given a choice to cover a home game at Duquesne or at Robert Morris, the media will always choose travel to Moon Township. The best place to see a game at Rooney is right at the condiment table.
It was perhaps a team with the most potential talent from being able to recruit a scholarship player for the first time since 1950, yet it was the first team to post a losing season since 1994.
The talented Conner Dixon broke the school record for touchdown passes one game, yet couldn’t find a receiver in the yellow pages at times. The Sports Network cited the quarterback position as being one of the deepest and most talented in the nation at the beginning of the year. Conner and Kevin are still the best QB combo in the conference and perhaps in 1-AA. To be fair, both were hurt at the end of the season.
The first game of the year at Bucknell provided the best example of the year’s schizophrenic nature. How can the same defensive squad give up 42 points in the first half and only 6 in the second? How could the offensive squad score only once in the first half and score 35 in the second? Same players, same field, same opponent.
These questions continued all throughout the year. This Duquesne team came the closest of any in the NEC to beating champion Albany and out did them statistically. Yet the Dukes only managed to defeat St. Francis and Wagner during the rest of the season.
The rushing defense just as much of a crapshoot as it could get. One week it held Wagner to 26 yards rushing on 29 attempts. Other weeks it made visiting running backs look like Jim Brown vs. the local sandlot team. There were great individual efforts from folks like Totino, Scruggs, and Apparonozie but defenses must have a good overall team effort and game plan
Rooney Field could be a great college venue if they put up more bleachers. Maybe if admission were charged, the cost would be affordable. Just as on the field, “attitude is everything”, “atmosphere is everything” to the fans. Give the fans something to do at half-time. If no band, bring in Skippy the Frisbee catching canine. Have the new radio broadcast playing at the new picnic area.
The defense has shown to be a hungry and talented group. They can’t afford to stay on the field so long next year.
Duquesne showed a decent running game. They have to develop it more to keep themselves on the filed longer (see above). Cleo Williams and Greg Hough did well when given the chance, but a bigger power back would have done well to offset the occasional size disadvantage on the line. Duquesne hasn’t had a true power runner since Josh Rue, but could use one.
Most of all, games are won and lost on the line. Duquesne historically has had good talent at the skill positions. To play in this conference, the Dukes need a heavier and more dominant contribution from both offensive and defensive lines. I hope both groups are in the weight room at the present moment.
Will next year’s team be better? It should be given the fact that we lose only 9 seniors. Next year may be the year that this lives up to its potential.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
UNION LAKE, MI - Courtesy ACHA The defending ACHA Men's Division 1 National Champions, the University of Illinois, received 34 of a possible 41 votes to top the polls in Ranking #4, while #2 Lindenwood University garnered the other 7 first-place votes. This sets up a #1 vs #2 matchup this weekend, as #1 Illinois will travel to #2 Lindewood with the #1 ranking and 1st place in the CSCHL on the line.
Duquesne and Pittsburgh were the big gainers, each moving up 3 spots to come in at #20 and #21 respectively, while Central Oklahoma (#9) and Stony Brook (#17) each moved up 2 spots. Minot State, the only undefeated team left in Division 1 (10-0-0), jumps into the rankings for the first time since the 2005-2006 season. Penn State Berks makes its debut in the polls for the first time, in only its second season at the Divsion 1 level, coming in at #25.
2008-2009 ACHA Men's Division 1 Ranking #4
1 Illinois 34 13-1-0 920
2 Lindenwood 7 16-1-1 893
3 Penn State 12-2-0 819
4 Liberty 13-3-1 800
5 Delaware 10-2-3 787
6 Oklahoma 12-2-0 746
7 Iowa State 15-2-1 698
8 West Chester 10-4-0 662
9 Central Oklahoma 11-3-1 619
10 Kent State 9-5-1 564
11 Rhode Island 10-4-1 551
12 Ohio 7-6-0 529
13 Michigan-Dearborn 11-6-0 483
14 Robert Morris (PA) 13-3-0 460
15 West Virginia 8-4-2 352
16 Robert Morris (IL) 8-9-1 299
17 T Oakland 5-8-3 223
17 T Stony Brook 7-7-0 223
19 Western Michigan 5-6-0 212
20 Duquesne 9-2-0 186
21 Pittsburgh 8-4-0 171
22 Youngstown State 11-4-2 147
23 Minot State 10-0-0
24 Mercyhurst 16-6-0 113
25 Penn State Berks 10-2-1 56
Others receiving votes: Drexel, Canton, Indiana (PA), Arizona State, Adrian, Niagara, Washington & Jefferson, Eastern Michigan, Slippery Rock, Arizona, Towson, and Scranton.
The fifth ranking of the regular season will be released on Friday, December 5.
The 2009 ACHA Men's Division 1 National Championships will be hosted by John Carroll University and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and will take place March 14-18, 2009 at the Gilmour Academy in Gates Mills, OH. Sixteen teams will qualify for the tournament
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The Duquesne Dukes Hockey team, currently ranked # 22 by the American Collegiate Hockey Association will try to extend its 7 game win streak this Friday and Saturday against Slippery Rock and West Virginia. The Friday game starts at 7:30 in Cranberry and the West Virginia game starts at 3:30 at the Duke’s home arena, the Ice Castle in Castle Shannon.
The Dukes haven’t played since they blew away Cornell 8-1 during a swing through New York. The Dukes overall record for the year stands at 9-2 and includes impressive wins over Buffalo and last year’s Northeast Collegiate Hockey League Champion, Rutgers.
Duquesne To Host The College Hockey Mid-America Post Season Tournament.
Courtesy Duquesne Hockey- The member teams of College Hockey Mid-America have chosen the proposal submitted by Duquesne University, in conjunction with Ice Castle Ice Arena, as the winner of the league's annual bid to host its post-season tournament. The Top 6 teams in the final CHMA standings will converge on Ice Castle February 27th through March 1st to determine the league's playoff champion. Duquesne was the CHMA's first playoff champion in 2007 and will look to be the league's first two-time champion in 2009.
"The excellent competition between all the league's teams, combined with the stellar facilities of Ice Castle and the top-notch hospitality provided by Duquesne University, will surely make for an exciting event," said Duquesne Head Coach Dave Fryer. "Our team has performed very well on the ice at the previous two CHMA Playoffs, and now we have a chance to showcase ourselves as its host, as well."
More information on the 2009 CHMA Playoffs will be made available during the 2008-09 season through the Duquesne Hockey website and the CHMA site (www.collegehockeymidamerica.com).
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Date Posted: Sunday, November 16, 02:54:41pm
Sept.26 California University of PA Away W, 8-4 1-0-0 0-0-0
Oct. 3 Mercyhurst College Away L, 3-5 1-1-0 0-0-0
Oct. 4 University at Buffalo Away W, 6-1 2-1-0 0-0-0
Oct. 12 University of Pittsburgh Home L, 3-5 2-2-0 0-1-0
Oct. 17 Indiana University of PA Away W, 6-0 3-2-0 1-1-0
Oct. 18 Penn State Berks University Home W, 8-2 4-2-0 1-1-0
Oct. 25 Youngstown State University Away W, 4-3 5-2-0 2-1-0
Nov. 1 Rutgers University Home W, 6-4 6-2-0 2-1-0
Nov. 2 California University of PA Home W, 9-6 7-2-0 2-1-0
The rest of schedule-
11/21 Slippery Rock Cranberry, PA 7:30
11/22 West Virginia ICE CASTLE 3:30
12/6 W & J ICE CASTLE 3:30
12/7 IUP ICE CASTLE 2:00
1/10 Mercyhurst ICE CASTLE 3:30
1/11 Liberty ICE CASTLE 2:00
1/16 West Virginia Morgantown, WV 10:00
1/17 Kent State Cleveland, OH 5:00
1/24 Youngstown State ICE CASTLE 3:30
1/25 John Carroll ICE CASTLE 2:00
1/30 Slippery Rock Cranberry, PA 10:30
2/4 W & J Canonsburg, PA 9:05
2/6 Liberty Lynchburg, VA 7:30
2/7 Liberty Lynchburg, VA 7:30
2/13 West Chester West Chester, PA 9:15
2/14 Penn State Berks Reading, PA TBA
2/20 John Carroll Cleveland, OH 8:10
2/21 Slippery Rock ICE CASTLE 3:30
2/22 Pitt Harmarville, PA 9:40
TBA Kent State ICE CASTLE
TBD 2/27-3/1 League Playoffs ICE CASTLE
TBD March ACHA Nationals Cleveland, OH TBD
[> Subject: Re: Duquesne Hockey starts out at 7-2
Date Posted: Sunday, November 16, 03:07:12pm
I is my biggest hope as a Duquesne and a hockey fan to have the Dukes start an NCAA team and play across the street at the Pens new arena. The Pens could scout out some visiting college talent, so both would benefit.The women could add softball or golf to balance out Title 9. Neither would be very expensive. Pittsburgh is a hockey town! Lets Play!!
Subject: 2008 Coffee Mug Nominations
Date Posted: Saturday, November 15, 09:33:12pm
These were tougher than last year. Shaler Tom didn't post as often as others, but they were always thoughtful, constructive and original.
~2008 COFFEE MUG NOMINATIONS~
Player of the Year 2008 Offense- Sean Bunevich
Player of the Year 2008 Defense- Chidozie Oparanozie
Non-Player of the Year- Alex Pamormius
Past Player- Buff Donelli
Past Non-Player of the Year- Greg Gatuso
Fan of the Year- Shaler Tom
Subject: Charlotte Approves a Football Program
Date Posted: Saturday, November 15, 09:15:49pm
The A-10 needs to get their heads together to re-start a football conference. Charlotte's Board just voted to start a program. If Duquesne, Dayton, Fordham, Charlotte, RI, and Richmond could get together, the'd have the needed 6 for a conference. UMASS may go 1-A and has a better chance at supporting a D-1 team than Temple. Marist would be a good add as would Old Dominion who is thinking of a team. LaSalle dropped citing lack of teams to schedule just when they build a nice stadium. This would change it for them. I'm sure that there would be a few more to consider. There are rumors that the CAA may split.But- We need a few seats added even if we are happy staying in the NEC- If you build it they will come. No kid of great worth will come to play at a field that is 1/5 the size of his high school field.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Pittsburgh- Duquesne ended its season as it did in a number of games this year. They started strong in the first half only to have its offense bog down as the game went on. The Dukes again lost the time of possession battle as an opponent’s running game ground out 200+ yards.
The first quarter was fun to watch as the visiting Monmouth Hawks and Dukes punched and counter-punched with each possession as the Dukes took a 14-10 lead on a 10 Yard touchdown run by Kevin Rombach and a three-yard TD pass by Conner Dixon to Brian Layhue. Duquesne alternated quarterbacks throughout the game with each showing brief glimpses of why Duquesne was predicted to have one of the deepest teams in 1-AA at the position.
When Monmouth quarterback Brett Burke launched a 57-yard touchdown pass to Rodney Solomon to put the Hawks up 17-14, the Dukes again answered with a decent drive into Hawk territory before having to settle for an apparent game-tying field goal. The snap seemed to be a bit behind holder Kevin Rombach who then tried unsuccessfully to run for the first down.
Neither team was able to score in the second quarter. Mark Troyan tried again to tie the score after the Dukes drove down to the Monmouth 6 yard line on the first drive of the second half, but his kick was blocked.
Duquesne’s offense would not score again as David Sinisi began to grind out yardage on his way to finishing with his total of 174 for the day. Altogether Monmouth gained 234 yards on the ground. Burke mixed in another long touchdown pass of 83 yards John Nalbone to pull away from the Dukes for good. Burke finished the game with 14 of 23 passes for 263 yards. Neither Duquesne quarterback had close to 100 yards passing.
-Monmouth, like Albany, tuned up for the NEC with a very challenging out-of-conference schedule playing Rhode Island, Maine and Coastal Carolina.
-Former quarterback and current receivers coach, Dave Loya was recognized at halftime for his induction into the Duquesne Hall of Fame.
- Duquesne loses only nine seniors.
Friday, November 14, 2008
OnTheBluff.com Football Analyst
The Monmouth coaching staff has to figure out just who they are playing this week when they line up to face the Dukes. One set of game film will show a Duquesne team that started the first half of their first game of the season giving up 42 points to Bucknell. Then the coaches will have to design a game plan to stop the Dukes that held Bucknell to six points in the second half while scoring 35 to almost pull out a win.
Next the coaches will have to explain how to hold the Dukes scoreless for three quarters, as did St. Francis but warn them of the offense that posted three touchdowns in the second quarter against the Red Flash.
They will have to make sure that the Hawks are ready for the only team to be able to beat the Dayton Flyers in their past 16 games. This is the same Dayton team that beat the reigning conference champion, Albany in last year’s Gridiron Classic. This Duquesne team out-gained Albany who went undefeated so far in conference this year and held their own against three ranked CAA teams.
This Duquesne team is dangerous enough to jump out to leads against Albany, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Bryant, only to lose each game. Monmouth Coach Kevin Callahan will have to figure out which run defense the NEC’s leading rusher will face. The team that held Wagner to 26 yards on 29 carries or the one that gave up an average of 208 yards per game previously.
When Monmouth gets done looking at all the game films and tries to determine how Duquesne can look so good on one game film reel and so bad on the next, perhaps Coach Callahan can explain it to Duquesne Coach Jerry Schmitt.
Coach Schmitt has yet to name a starting quarterback for the game that begins at 1:00 at Rooney Field. The Duke’s las game of the year can be heard on 1360 WMNY and over the internet on Redzone Media.
What was the first collegiate team on record to play Duquesne? (Duquesne was known back then as Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost)
“For all the Marbles” in the Steel City
The Pittsburgh Coaching Legends Trophy will not be the first award offered to recognize the winner of local college football contests. In December of 1936, The Pittsburgh City Council authorized Mayor Cornelius D. Scully to award a Championship Cup not to exceed $2000 in cost to Duquesne as the top collegiate football program in the city that year. That year, the Dukes went on to win the Orange Bowl in Miami as well. The cup was presented each year until one of the three universities could win it three consecutive years, claiming permanent ownership of the cup. It would be interesting to know if either trophy still exists in a dusty trophy case somewhere on the campuses of Pitt, Duquesne, or CMU.
Pitt and Carnegie Tech had a still earlier similar cup awarded by the city until Pitt was able to win three years in a row, claiming ownership. Technically, Pitt and Carnegie Mellon could still play for the Layden Cup but it is unlikely in the near future given the differences in their assigned collegiate NCAA Divisions. At present, Duquesne and Robert Morris are the only two teams likely to play for the Cup although Pitt does usually play an FCS opponent each year.
I would like to offer the cup to the Heinz History Center’s Sports Museum to house and perhaps set up a small display recording all of the times the local teams went head to head against each other.
The Layden Cup
The games began with the first in 1901 between Duquesne (then the Pittsburg College of the Holy Ghost)and Pitt (then known as the Western University of Pennsylvania). Between Pitt (29 wins), CMU [originally Carnegie Tech] (18 wins), Duquesne (15 wins) and RMU (5 wins), I need 29 gold marbles, 18 red marbles, 15 or more blue marbles and 5 or more white marbles along with 2 clear marbles to represent the two ties. Overall there have been 69 games played in head to head Steel City College Football. This year's game allows either Duquesne or RMU to add the 70th marble.
One problem- I need help to find these marbles and my wife will shoot me if I spend any more on the trophy. Is anybody able to help? There will soon be a picture of the cup here on this blog when the face plate is added. There already are some articles from the past below as the idea of a Steel City Challenge Cup developed.
Alternate colors to represent the teams could be Pitt (gold), Duquesne (red), CMU (white) and RMU (blue).
The Elmer Layden Cup Steel City Collegiate Football Challenge Cup
Elmer Layden was the first Duquesne coach to play both Pitt and Carnegie Tech (Later Carnegie-Mellon). Layden had been one of Grantland' Rice's famed Four Horsemen of Notre Dame and later went on to become the NFL's first commissioner. The Dukes would win their first New Years Day game under Layden, the 1934 Festival of Palms Bowl. The bowl was re-named the Orange Bowl the following year. Duquesne would win the Orange Bowl again later that decade.
Past winners of head to head Pittsburgh Rivalry games are listed below.
1901- Pitt over Duquesne 18-0
1903- Duquesne over Pitt 10-6
1910- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 35-0
1923- Carnegie Tech over Pitt 7-2
1924- Carnegie Tech over Pitt 6-0
1925- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 12-0
1931- Duquesne tied Carnegie Tech 0-0
1932- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 6-0
Pitt over Duquesne 33-0
1933- Pitt over Duquesne 7-0
1934- Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 3-0
1935- Duquesne over Carnegie Tech, 7-0
1936- Duquesne over Pitt 7-0
Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 13-0
1937- Pitt over Carnegie Tech 25-14
Pitt over Duquesne 6-0
Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 6-0
1938- Carnegie Tech over Duquesne 21-0
Pitt over Duquesne 27-0
1939- Duquesne over Pitt 21-13 (Last Pitt-Duquesne)
Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 22-7
1940- Duquesne over Carnegie Tech 14-7
Pitt over Carnegie Tech, 6-0
1941- Pitt over Carnegie Tech, 27-0 (Last Pitt-Carnegie Tech)
1980- CMU over Duquesne 39-7
1981- Duquesne over CMU 27-10
1982- CMU over Duquesne 19-0
1983- CMU over Duquesne 14-11
1984- CMU over Duquesne 20-14
1985- CMU over Duquesne 31-10
1986- CMU over Duquesne 33-22
1987- CMU over Duquesne 17-13
1988- CMU over Duquesne 24-14
1989- Duquesne over CMU 11-10
1990- CMU over Duquesne 31-8
1991- CMU over Duquesne 28-14
1994- Robert Morris over Duquesne 28-6
1995- Robert Morris over Duquesne 38-20
1996- Robert Morris over Duquesne 28-26 (ECAC Bowl)
1998- Duquesne over Robert Morris 24-22
2003- Duquesne over Robert Morris 33-28
2004- Robert Morris over Duquesne 34-14
2005- Duquesne over Robert Morris 23-12
2006- Duquesne over Robert Morris 27-7
2007- Duquesne over Robert Morris 17-14
2008- Robert Morris over Duquesne 34-27
2009- Duquesne over Robert Morris 34-20
STEEL CITY FOOTBALL RIVALRIES
It was in 1901 that that Pitt, then known as Western University of PA, would win the first recorded contest between Steel City teams with a 18-0 win over Duquesne. Duquesne was known at the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost until 1911. Duquesne or PCC/HG returned the favor in 1903, beating Pitt 10-6. In 1906 Pitt beat up on Carnegie Tech 35-0. Tech got revenge in the next game, but had to wait 17 years in 1923 by a score of 7-2. Duquesne’s teams reached prominence under coach and former Notre Dame Four Horseman, Elmer Layden. One of their standout early players was Steeler founder and namesake of Rooney Field, Art Rooney Sr.. Art Sr. was their quarterback and place kicker in the 1920’s. It took Duquesne’s 41st year after starting a program to play in an inter-city game with Carnegie Tech, drawing 0-0 in a charity game in 1931.
The Pittsburgh college football rivalries took off BIG TIME after that. All three teams, Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie Tech, were ranked often in the first national college football rankings put out by the Associated Press.
As the teams became better, the rivalries became bitter. All three teams played nationally known opponents including Notre Dame and the then powerful service academies. But they often faced more determined battles in their own back yards. Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie-Tech all played in New Year’s Day Bowls, but National Championships were up for grabs when they met during their regular season. Back then only the very top teams played in the Rose, Orange (First known as the Festival of Palms Bowl) and Cotton Bowls. There were no Outback Bowls or the dozens of other modern bowls that cheapen the achievement today.
The college game and its rivalries actually dominated local sports to a point where the same Art Rooney had to take the Steelers on the road to places like Johnstown, Louisville, and New Orleans to sell tickets.
Unfortunately the rivalry between Pitt and Duquesne ended in 1939 with a Pitt loss to the Dukes. Pitt was ranked #1 in the nation by the AP going into the game. The Dukes went on to an undefeated season that year and finished in the AP Top Ten and #1 in the Massey Ratings (See article below). The last game of the great city rivalry came in 1943 when Pitt also ended their series with Carnegie Tech, beating the Tartans handily 45-6. By then, Duquesne had folded its team for World War II and only briefly tried again after the war. Pitt’s rivalries then turned to Penn State and today’s Backyard Brawl with West Virginia.
The Pittsburgh collegiate rivalry lay dormant for decades until Duquesne’s club football team stepped up to Division III and re-ignited their rivalry with the Tartans of Carnegie Mellon. CMU and Duquesne played spirited games from 1980 to 1991 at times even at Three Rivers Stadium. When Duquesne stepped up again to 1-AA, the Steel City Rivalries ended again.
It didn’t end for long. A new collegiate team would be founded a century after Pitt and Duquesne began theirs in Pittsburgh. Robert Morris started from scratch under the direction of former NFL head coach Joe Walton. Duquesne’s series with the Colonials began in 1994 with the Dukes holding a slight edge 5-4. Both teams were consistently ranked at or near the top of non-scholarship 1-AA football. Now, both teams are stepping up in talent when the NEC member Robert Morris began offering scholarships three years ago. Duquesne offered its first scholarship since 1950 when it joined the Northeast Conference this year.
And so, with both teams now in the same conference and stepping up in competition, the Steel City Football Rivalry is on again.
MAJOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL 1941: THE DUKES WERE # 1 !
More About Duquesne and Major College Football Rankings
Many recognized collegiate football ranking systems begin declaring national champions dating back to 1869 when Princeton was declared national champion by most systems. Controversy exists even in that year’s selection of the nation’s best by some systems rating Rutgers at the top. Back then there were no polls taken by sports writers such as the AP Top 25 or the USA Today Poll or the now defunct UPI Coaches Poll.
The most familiar and accepted current system, The Associated Press only released their first collegiate football ranking in 1934. No AP Poll was released in 1935 but they have been releasing continuous rankings since 1936. The only inconsistency with the AP Poll since 1936 relates to the years when they would not issue a final yearly ranking after the college bowl games.
College football teams from 1869 to the present are ranked very accurately and without regional prejudices by statistically based systems such as the Sagarin, Massey, Sorrenson, RPI, Dunkle and other computer models. Most of these commonly accepted and statistically sound models are fairly consistent since they all basically look at a teams record against their strength of schedule. Their formulas as to how to factor in data from when in the year a team lost or home field advantage do rate teams differently.
Thus, even when bias from a sports writer, coach, or fan is not considered, there is seldom a year when all agree as to who is the nation’s best college football team. Even then, who is to say the fans, coaches and writers shouldn’t have a say over cold computer calculations.
The current BCS System makes an effort to achieve some consensus by relying on both polling data and computer ranking systems. Obviously, even the BCS Series Rankings has never made all of the people happy all of the time.
This debate and controversy over whose team is the best is really part of what being a college football fan is all about.
Duquesne’s National Major Football Championship
All this being said, there was a time and respected system that has declared the Duquesne Dukes the National Champion. That honor belongs to the undefeated and untied 1941 edition of the Duquesne Dukes. This rating is no fluke. The ’41 Dukes gave up only 21 points all season and were led the nation in scoring defense, rushing defense and total defense. No major college team since has given up fewer points.
Only Duquesne, Minnesota and Duke finished the 1941 season undefeated and untied among major programs. Admittedly, Minnesota has been recognized by most ranking systems, including the AP as being the # 1 team in the nation that year. However the Massey Rating System has looked at the data and declares Duquesne to be the #1 team in the nation that year. Duquesne was considered to play in the Cotton Bowl that year. Had they been selected and gone on to beat Texas A & M they would have had a good claim over Minnesota.
The Massey System.
The first questions that most would ask are what is the Massey system and is it legitimate? It is legitimate to the point that the current BCS Series currently uses it to determine which teams are selected to play in the BCS Bowls and for the National Championship. The Massey Ratings may be the most scientific and full-featured system available.
Kenneth Massey has been doing these ratings since 1995 and offers previous ratings back to 1930 based upon available data. Massey’s system takes no short cuts. For example, most ratings give a standard home field advantage factor of about 4 points to all home teams. Massey makes the home field advantage factor more precise by analyzing each team’s performance at home vs. away and neutral site games to determine a more accurate facet in rating teams. In other words, winning at home doesn’t and shouldn’t have the same degree of advantage for all teams rated.
The Massey Ratings are also thought to be considerably accurate when considering strength of schedule. This is no easy task when considering the college football world of 1941 when the best in the country often still played considerably lesser-developed programs.
National Major College Football Classifications and Ratings
Duquesne’s first team was fielded in 1891. As most other college teams of the era, the original Dukes’ opponents were not necessarily from other colleges. They included athletic clubs and even high school teams. Nor were there restrictions that all team members had to be current or former students. This began to change as the Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the United States (IAAUS), was established on March 31, 1906 to set rules for college athletics. The IAAUS became the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1910.
Prior to 1937, ranking colleges was difficult since programs varied widely as to the class of opponents each school would play. Going undefeated against a schedule that included Notre Dame, Penn State and Michigan was obviously more impressive than one that included lesser opponents. With the advent of Bowl selections, the college football had to start separating the apples from the oranges.
In 1937 the NCAA began issuing a system that divided its collegiate football programs into Divisions and placed restrictions on how often teams from each division could play each other. In 1937, the top division was the “University” or “Major College” Division. In 1973, The NCAA restructured its classifications to rename the major programs “Division I”. Division I was subdivided into “I-A” and “1-AA” in 1978. Currently, Duquesne plays in Division I-AA or as the NCAA now officially calls it the “Championship” Subdivision of Division I vs. the “Bowl” Subdivision. Other current NCAA Divisions are II and III. The NAIA and the NCCAA govern smaller college athletic programs.
Massey considered all 119 NCAA Major College football programs when he ranked Duquesne # 1 in 1941. (See link at- http://www.masseyratings.com/cf/years.txt )
Duquesne’s Past Collegiate Classifications
Until the NCAA began to define the caliber of competition, Duquesne was considered an “Independent” collegiate football team along with all other college teams. When the University or Major Division was established in 1937, Duquesne was among this group of just over 100 other colleges and universities. Massey’s 1941 rating considered 119 Major Division teams when it selected Duquesne # 1 in the nation.
Unfortunately, just as Duquesne Football was reaching its highest potential nationally, the team was cut by the University due to the Second World War. Both the AP and Massey had ranked Duquesne teams throughout the 30’s and 40’s prior to the war. Massey ranks the 1933 Dukes at #8 and the 1936 Dukes # 2 in the nation. The AP ranks them at # 14 and # 8 respectively.
Duquesne briefly tried to re-establish the team after the war as a Major Division program, but gave up after the 1950 season. Students and volunteers would start Duquesne’s next team as a club.
Duquesne’s Other National Collegiate Football Championships
When Duquesne re-started its football program in 1969 as a club team, it was sanctioned by the now defunct NCFA. Duquesne was recognized as the National Club Champions in 1973 when they went 10 – 0 under coach Dan McCann and defeated Mattatuck 13-7 in the National Championship game played Three Rivers Stadium.
In 1979, the University again took over sponsorship of the program as an NCAA Division III program. Interestingly, Division III would be the only classification where Duquesne Football could not claim a national championship rating or ranking.
The program would be “upgraded” again in 1993 when it would move to the NCAA Division I-AA. However, the move to I-AA did not necessarily mean that the Dukes would be able to compete on even terms with most other I-AA programs since they would join an odd group of schools who were considered I-AA, but would not be allowed to award scholarships and would have severe limitations on the amount of money they could spend on travel or coaching staffs. This “cost containment” approach to keeping the university at the NCAA Division I for the rest of the school’s athletic programs would evolve into a strange subdivision within the I-AA subdivision known at the “Mid-Majors”.
The Sports Network (TSN) and Don Hansen’s Weekly Football Gazette both developed a bit of love for this odd group of so-called major programs who would not or could not commit the resources to compete with the other major programs of Division I-A and I-AA. Generally, there were about 30 college programs that would either play as independents or populate the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Northeast Conference and the Pioneer Conference. All three were officially recognized by the NCAA as belonging to the I-AA Division, but were not given automatic berths to the I-AA Playoffs.
Duquesne would come as close as any of the Mid-Majors to competing with their better-funded I-AA brothers. Greg Gatuso’s squad often played scholarship programs and often won. Not only were these Duquesne team often ranked # 1 by the TSN and Hansen Polls, but were often ranked in the regular I-AA polls. Their highest ranking in the National I-AA Coaches Poll was # 14 before losing their only game of the 2002 season to Albany in the ECAC Classic. Both the TSN and Hansen rankings would select the Dukes the following years as the # 1 Mid-Major National Champions in 2003 when they beat Monmouth to win that year’s ECAC Classic.
Now the “Mid-Majors” are no more. Duquesne and most of the other Mid-Majors have either begun to offer scholarships or have folded.
The Dukes have laid at least partial claim to National Football Championships from the Club level to the I-AA Mid-Majors to, according to the Massey Ratings, the Major College level. What does the future hold for the Dukes at the regular I-AA level now that they have begun to award scholarships? The NEC, the Duke’s new conference will be eligible for a bid to the Division I-AA National Championship beginning in 2010.
The 1941 Massey Ratings
1941 Teams Rated: 119
Team W L T PF PA Off Def Sched Rating Dom
1 Duquesne 8 0 0 17.88 2.62 4 2 44 33.84 0.736
2 Minnesota 8 0 0 23.25 4.75 5 4 41 29.26 0.609
3 Mississippi St 8 1 1 19.10 5.50 28 1 4 26.63 0.530
4 Notre Dame 8 0 1 21.00 7.11 6 11 49 26.20 0.517
5 Alabama 9 2 0 23.91 7.73 8 8 5 26.09 0.514
6 Georgia 9 1 1 29.00 7.73 3 26 28 23.63 0.440
7 Texas 8 1 1 33.80 5.50 1 36 38 23.50 0.436
8 Oregon St 8 2 0 14.30 4.90 23 3 30 23.21 0.427
9 Michigan 6 1 1 18.38 5.12 17 6 22 22.32 0.401
10 Navy 7 1 1 21.33 3.78 16 7 34 21.97 0.390
Filling In Duquesne's Football Tradition: The Real Record
For example, how many times did Duquesne play Pitt on the football field and what was their record? Duquesne's media guide lists the record at 2-4 with the recognized games being in the 1930's when Duquesne and Pitt were both nationally ranked powers.
Pitt's football records are a bit more complete and show that the first Pitt-Duquesne game turned out to be an 18-0 Pitt victory over the Dukes in 1901. However, the Panthers don't recognize a loss to Duquesne in 1903 by a score of 10-6.
Part of the reason for the confusion could be that Pitt, at the time of both earlier games was known as the Western University of Pennsylvania and Duquesne was officially known as the Pittsburgh College of the Holy Ghost.
Instead of Duquesne's Media Guide record of 2-4 and Pitt's version of 2-5, the actual record is 3-5. This record is now verified by the College Football Data Warehouse.
By cross checking available records from Pitt, West Virginia, Washington and Jefferson, I.U.P., Thiel, Westminster, St. Francis, Geneva, University of Buffalo, Bethany, California University of PA and others, Duquesne's documantable all time record should stand at 395 wins, 287 losses and 25 ties.
Duquesne's Media guide does not include a proud 1891-1901, first decade record of 33-17-5 in its all time record. It does, however, now list Duquesne's first documented collegiate game, a 1893 loss to Washington and Jefferson by a score of 22-19.
It would be a great recognition of a proud football tradition to claim our 400th win if it occurs this year!
TEN REASONS TO ADD MORE SEATS TO ROONEY
2. Scheduling- It will be very hard to attract quality out-of-conference opponents to Rooney Field. Even the soccer teams that come in think the field looks “quaint” to be polite.
3. Attendance- I’ve brought along friends to see a game at Rooney and it really doesn’t feel like a real college game atmosphere. They enjoyed the game, but would be more likely to come back if there was more atmosphere.
4. Crowd Noise/Emotion- Emotion feeds emotion. It is extremely difficult to get a crowd into the game with so few rows behind you.
5. Home Field Advantage- This crowd noise obviously help the home team.
6. Financial Benefit- It would be easier to charge admission to build a revenue base. Football needs to be a moneymaker for the rest of the department (or at least support itself) as it does for many other colleges. Too many fans, particularly from the opponent’s side of the field are just walking up without paying. A better field will also attract more paying customers and also could be a chance for student groups to set up booths as they do at other universities.
7. Press Coverage- If given a choice between covering a game at other college with a lower or same classification, but a better field facility, we are not competitive. TV highlights from games at Rooney look small time.
8. Hosting Games- Central Catholic actually decided to hold its games elsewhere due to the lack of seating capacity. This is a good school to keep associated with.
9. Academic Excellence- Who knows how many students come on campus to consider Duquesne when Central Catholic plays here or when they take a campus tour or if they come to see a Dukes game and get the feel of a real college game? The students we want to attend Duquesne are those with school spirit who want to picture themselves as being part of something fun and exciting. Rooney’s size does not paint this picture.
10. School Pride- This field just looks small time in comparison to other local fields such as Walton Stadium.
09/04 DUKES 17-BUCKNELL 13
09/11 DUKES 35-DAYTON 31
09/18 Delaware 30-Dukes 6
09/25 DUKES 28-ALBANY 17
10/02 MONMOUTH 1:00
10/09 CCSU 31-Dukes 29
10/16 Dukes 37-SACRED HEART 17
10/23 Dukes 21-Wagner 20
10/30 Robert Morris 34-Dukes 11
11/13 Dukes 41-ST FRANCIS 17
11/20 Dukes 37-Bryant 29
Duquesne University Fight Song-Rev. Thomas Quigley 1926
We'll sing hooray for the Red and Blue,
A big hooray for the Red and Blue;
For the flag we love on to victory,
And when the foe is down,
we will raise a mighty shout
And sing hooray for the Red and Blue;
We're all your sons and daughters true.
Now with all your might, give them
for the grand old Red and Blue.
DUQUESNE DUKES ALL-TIME FOOTBALL RECORD (1891-2011)*
Winning %- .574
~DUQUESNE GLORY/GORY YEARS~
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