Sunday, October 31, 2010
Plain and simple, Robert Morris won this game in the trenches and by negating the talent position players from Duquesne. Larry McCoy was outgained by Miles Russ 154 to 81; the first in a while he was held under 100. McCoy still had a healthy per carry average of 4.5, but the Dukes just couldn’t keep drives long enough to get him enough carries. This led to Robert Morris possessing the ball over ten minutes more than the Dukes.
The Colonials plainly demonstrated that they deserve their RPI and Sagarin Ratings and could surprise the traditional conferences should they make it to the FCS Playoffs.
I’m far from able to cast the first stone and I know that we live in a culture that increasingly follows the maxim that “If you aren’t cheating you aren’t really trying”. This may also come off as sour grapes but honestly, the Colonials are good enough to have won yesterday without the help of a poorly hidden "scouting party".
However, this is a game where sportsmanship matters and where coaches need to teach more than just football. Unfortunately, I can’t really claim that no one with Duquesne connections would ever get caught doing something unethical.
Next week Robert Morris takes on Central Connecticut State who is also undefeated in the NEC to determine who will be the first conference team ever to make the FCS Playoffs. I wish RMU all the fortune in the world since they are a team from Pittsburgh and the Dukes are now out of the running. Their victory over the Dukes was unquestioned but the methods of some may be.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Well, here are the results of my studies this week...
Key #1: Against common opponents, Duquesne beat the only team to defeat the Colonials. This may not be the best key to the game since this was the first game of the year for Robert Morris and the second for the Dukes. Also, Robert Morris pulled out a 1 point victory over Monmouth, a team that beat the Dukes. Edge Even
Key #2: Since last year’s 34-20 loss to Duquesne, Robert Morris has won 11 of their last 12 games. Edge Colonials
Key #3: Home Field Advantage goes to Robert Morris with a 3-1 edge over the Dukes at Moon Township. However, the Dukes have split the two games at Joe Walton Stadium. Duquesne finally won its first road game last week over Wagner. Duquesne has won the past 5 at Rooney and 6 of the past 8 meetings overall. Home Field Edge Colonials, but History Edge goes slightly to the Dukes
Key #4: Both teams possess one of the best running backs in the FCS with Duquesne’s Larry McCoy and Ro Mo’s Myles Russ. Russ has gained 1,000 in each of the past two seasons and has another 806 so far this year. Larry McCoy rank 9th nationally with over 900 yards this year and a 118.6 per game average. Edge- Slight to the Dukes
Key #5: Like the other “Old Joe” (Paterno), Joe Walton seems to have rediscovered his touch after a couple of down years. After dominating the NEC in the early years, Joewa has his team on top again with a perfect conference record. He blasted their NEC heir and backyard bully, Albany scoring 38 and shutting out the formerly great Danes. Jerry Schmitt though, is 4-1 against the Colonials. Edge- Even
Key #5: The Dukes have a stable of talent at the skill positions with Dixon, Williams, McCoy, Patterson, Moore, Bunovich and the gang. The Colonials have talent at the skill positions too led by Russ. The Dukes have been able to focus on stopping him at 85 yards last year. Edge- Dukes
Key #6: Special Teams have hurt the Dukes, particularly on kickoffs and punts. The Dukes are making progress on scoring with Eric Dule becoming a very accurate kicker and Duquesne’s punting game handed over to a new freshman who has brought up the average up a bit. Edge- Colonials
Key #7- This game will come down to the Duke's defense being able to stop the Colonials late in the game. Their D has shown flashes of brilliance but has given up too many points until last week's game against Wagner. They held the Dukes in the game time after time when the Dukes could have rolled over until the offense rediscovered how to connect. They have finally put it together. Edge Dukes
Funny thing, but no matter how hard I tried, my wife sometime cleaned up better at the track when she bet with her heart.
I think that this game could go either way. When my mind can’t convince my heart to pick against the Dukes, I go with the Dukes in a great game, 28-24.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Perhaps nothing in college football can top the game against the archrival. At the major college level, the battle more often is for an upper hand in recruiting and statewide bragging rights. At levels below that, although the spotlight might not be as bright, the players and fans can bring intensity just as spirited.
Whether it's a longtime rivalry or a brand new rivalry, the travel between schools can sometimes be within walking distance. This weekend's schedule brings a mix of matchups ranging from Championship Subdivision to Division III sure to fan the flames. A sampling:
Duquesne (5-3) at Robert Morris (6-1)
Saturday, noon ET
Series: Duquesne leads 6-5
Pittsburgh proper vs. the suburbs (RMU is in Moon Township). Adding spice is that the schools are both in the Northeast Conference for football. For the first time this year, the league title brings with it an automatic spot in the NCAA playoffs. Robert Morris leads the NEC with a 5-0 mark; Duquesne is 3-2.
This year's game is at Joe Walton Stadium, named in 2005 in honor of the only football coach Robert Morris has had. Walton had coaching stints at the NFL level — with the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers before starting up the grass-roots Robert Morris program.
"The rivalry has always been great for both schools," Walton said of his team's matchup with Duquesne. "It generates a lot of interest and the kids have more enthusiasm for the game. I remember when we first started playing (Duquesne), it was standing room only and we were neophytes. It's been a friendly rivalry ever since."
Walton linked Saturday's game to the Pittsburgh and West Virginia rivalry he experienced as a college player with the Panthers.
"It brings me back to the Backyard Brawl," he said. "Even with smaller programs, the atmosphere doesn't change and one thing I've learned about rivalries is that the home team doesn't always have the upper hand."
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Their closing pressure packed, game winning drive was their most impressive, starting from their on 2 yard line and repeatedly converting on long third downs. The drive brought back memories of what Patterson did earlier this year when he capped a game winning drive against Dayton with his toss to Sean Bunovich. Patterson seems to be at his best when put into pressure situations. Almost half of his passing yards came on the 98 yard game winning drive when he completed 4 of 9 passes for 91 of the 98 yard drive.
The Duquesne Defense may have played its best and most consistent game of the year to keep the Dukes in the game, holding the Seahawks to field goals after two fumbled punt returns and another by fumble by Sean Patterson in their own territory.
Starring for the Defense were Nathan Totino who had his usual game high 12 tackles, Alex Inda who contributed 10 stops and a sack and Serge Kona who stopped Wagner for losses on three occasions. Altogether, the defense held the NEC’s leader in total offense, QB Nick Doscher to just 150 yards on only 8 completions on 26 attempts. They fittingly closed out the game with a Wade Powell interception of as Wagner drove near mid-field. Not only did the Dukes spoil Wagner’s Homecoming, but they kept Seahawk coach Walt Hamline from his 200th career victory.
Notes: Next week the Dukes travel to take on NEC leader and cross town rival Robert Morris at Noon.
Head Coach Walt Hameline knows how to put it all together and is 199-112-2 overall.
Duquesne's kickoff and punting game is not giving the defense an easy time by constantly giving away field position.
Prediction: My head says Wagner 31- Dukes 28. My heart says Duquesne 27- Wagner 24. I'll go with my heart- GO DUQUESNE!!!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sean Patterson looked like he has recovered from his ankle injury by spreading the ball around to 8 different receivers for 181 yards. Patterson’s other touchdown pass was a 49 yarder to Dave Williams. Williams and Conner Dixon each pulled in 4 passes while TE Sean Bunevich pulled in 2 before leaving with a leg injury late in the game.
Alex Inda returned a fumbled punt attempt 38 yards for a score and Eric Dule seems to have found a degree of consistency by converting on all three of his field goal attempts and all four of his extra point attempts. His 13 points are the most from a Duquesne kicker in recent memory.
The special teams took a second fumble away from the Pioneers when Aaron Fitzpatrick forced a fumble that led to Patterson’s long strike to Williams.
The score could have been even more lopsided had the Dukes not to settle for three points on two other turnovers inside the Pioneer’s 20 yard-line.
Next Week Duquesne travels to Wagner.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
First, the expanded Picnic AND restoring the tailgate area. The Straub beer and picnic menu is a nice touch and they did listen to the suggestion to pipe in the radio play by play. It is a bit expensive, but it is nicely done. Moving the picnic area to the Academic Walk side to let some real tailgating take place on the other side is a good idea. There have been more and more party tents popping up there from visiting fans. There is room for a few more local fans to get into the swing. If we could bring back the atmosphere when the Lehigh Valley folks had, it would add much to the atmosphere. This could spread out further along Bluff Street.
While still not a college marching band the pep band is starting to play loud enough to be heard for the National Anthem. Greg- I know that X didn't have football, but a real halftime show means a marching band.
The Department chose the right conference. At first I had hoped to get into the Pioneer with Dayton, but adding this level of scholarships at this time allowed the program to grow at a reasonable pace. Dayton has a huge football "endowment" that lets them do scholarships, but not officially through the university. The NEC is on the rise dramatically if you look at the Gridiron Index, RPI and Sagarin.
Scheduling Delaware was GREAT. It showed that we can hold our own against what may be the best program in the nation this year. Rhode Island would be a good add of another A-10 school, particularly if they are heading into the NEC. They gave Delaware a good game last week too. Youngstown State or even a BCS team like Akron would be a good thing to consider. We are actually ranked ahead of the Zips in most indexes.
They are now charging for admission on the visitor's side now. This really grated many fans to see the visitors bring in a few hundred fans for free while the fans were being asked to contribute to the program.
Thanks Dr. D. and Mr. A.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Very simply, the Field Goal department has improved but the field position has has been hurting Duquesne all year.
Dave Opfar's men need to make a statement that Duquesne doesn't need to put over 30 points on the board to win a game. Other than the game against the inexperienced Bucknell offense, the defense has yet to show just how good they are. They have played well in spurts and seem to have potential.
The Dukes need to re-energize the fan base at home. The Bucknell game and the excitement leading into the Delaware game needs to be re-captured in order to get a good Duke's contingent vs. Robert Morris in a few weeks.
Duquesne has proven that they can move the ball against anyone in the country, including Delaware. They have to be able to finish drives since the battle of statistics doesn't win football games.
Keep a Balanced Attack:
With the running of Larry McCoy and the stable of targets Sean Patterson has the Dukes need to keep opponents guessing. Play calling is a huge key.
Confidence without Overconfidence:
Yes, Sacred Heart is 1-5. However, the Pioneers lost 3 games by 4 or less points including last week's to Bryant. The Duke's psyche may be damaged by last week's close loss to Central Connecticut and the unexplainable melt down the week before. They can't afford to take the Pioneers lightly, nor can they get down on themselves. This team has to remember that they came withing a heel on the back of the end-zone of an overtime game on the road against the team that may be the best in its conference. This team has guts. Last week they weren't reward by a few inches. Mental preparation will be vital in this game to get the Dukes back on track.
Prediction: Duquesne 27 - Sacred Heart 21
Sunday, October 10, 2010
The Dukes' Two-Minute Offense
The Dukes' Never-Say-Die attitude
The Dukes' steadily improving Offensive Line
Eric Duale's FG consistency
The defense's growing ability to adjust and adapt
The Dukes' Kickoff Return team (and Freshman Ryan Ho)
Sean Patterson's confidence
Freshman Aaron Fleck and the improving Punt team
Coach Schmitt's patience with our QB
The Dukes' receiving corps
The Dukes' defense gang-tackling
The Dukes' Red-Zone offense
Sean Patterson's unpredicability / accuracy issues
Eric Duale's kickoffs
Rushing defense still a work-in-progress
While improving, the Dukes' Punting game still needs work
Mental lapses in the defensive backfield
All that said...
Trying to put "homerism" aside, I TRULY feel that the Dukes can win each and every one of their upcoming games and finish the season at 8-3. Not only "can" win.... but WILL win. The Robert Morris game will be the toughest test, but I know the boys will be more than ready for whatever Bobby Mo throws at them.
No game in the NEC is a "gimme" this year, but I believe that the Dukes will go out and take them!
Sunday, October 3, 2010
There is little to be gained by giving long a game recap here. Simply said, the Dukes were picked of 6 times.
• Sean Patterson, shaking off an ankle injury was pulled quickly and was clearly not on his game. He is still the same quarterback who hit Sean Bunovich in the closing seconds to beat Dayton. Patterson even injured, did lead one 51 yard drive to set up a 30 yard missed field goal.
• Marty Mitchell is a freshman who showed talent but was not used to the college game where the defensive backs all have more closing speed than the best he has faced in high school. Marty Mitchell proved his potential in the series when he hit TE Sean Bunovich on a sweat pitch and catch to set up a toss into the corner of the end zone to Connor Dixon.
• Ryan Ho is an electrifying kick returner who could have put the Dukes back in the game in the second half with an amazing return within inches of the goal line.
• Concerning the opening 1 yard drive of the second half: All three tries from the 1 yard line may have been inches over or inches short depending upon a spot from the referee who had no benefit of replay or a clear view on the goal line through the tangle of bodies.
• The coaching staff needed to set the tone that all chances to get back into the game should be taken rather than playing to lose by a more respectable margin. When you are down by so much every point counts. I would have taken another down to get the touchdown. By going for the field goal, you are telling your team that you don’t think they can do it.
• Duquesne also showed the same fear on their next possession. With 7:21 left in the game and down by 20, Duquesne punted on a fourth and 3. Needing three touchdowns, the Dukes refused to gamble to keep the ball. Even though they held the Hawks to a three and out, they lost 2 minutes of the 7 they had left.
• Both of Monmouth’s field goals seemed to slide over the cross bar.
This team must learn about what they have inside. I think that they have character. On days when nothing goes right, you can either come back and correct mistakes and hit it harder next week or you can decide that all is lost.
Duquesne wasn't as bad as it played and Monmouth wasn't that good. If the same two teams play again, Duquesne would be able to beat this team.
THIS SEASON IS FAR FROM OVER. Attitude and confidence are everything. If you think that this season is over, then you must be a loser or a fan from another team trying to poison the Duke's attitude.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
They have a close win at home over a lower level Patriot Team in Bucknell, a very good Dayton Team, were not shamed by an FCS Team that could be the best in the nation (Delaware) and beat an Albany Team that is always in the running to win the NEC.
After three losses (Monmouth was off last week to re-group), I don't think even Monmouth knows what they have as a team. Their first loss was away to an upper level Patriot Team (Colgate), were leading and gained respect against a CAA Team (Maine) and lost to an Old Dominion Team that for some reason is ranked ahead of many BCS Teams by the RPI Index. Monmouth and the NEC still don't know the pecking order of this season.
Monmouth can move the ball on the ground and through the air averaging 106 and 260 yards respectively and 18 First Downs per game against some good teams. Defensively, they seemed average, but again against good opponents.
If Patterson starts, expect Duquesne to win in a shoot-out. If he is not able to go, we have an unknown and untested laser-armed freshman to back up and Duquesne will be more conservative.
PREDICTION: If Patterson plays, Duquesne 31, Monmouth 27.
If he doesn't, ??????
Prediction record to date- 4-0, 100%
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
2010- Robert Morris over Duquesne 34-11
2011- Duquesne over Robert Morris 45-10
2012- Robert Morris over Duquesne 18-13
2013- Duquesne over Robert Morris 21-10
2014- Duquesne over Robert Morris 22-0
2015- Duquesne over Robert Morris 16-7
2016- Duquesne over Robert Morris 31-24
2017- Duquesne over Robert Morris 51-14
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.
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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