Ivy League teams to kick off 2014 season

Sep 18, 2014 - 4:14 PM Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The preseason favorites in Ivy League football this season, the Princeton Tigers say they have a theme of being "obsessive competitive."

"Internal competitiveness (in) everything we do," fourth-year coach Bob Surace said of his assistant coaches and players.

"Our guys have really, really come to buy into that mind-set."

The Tigers edged Harvard in the league's preseason poll. Those two teams shared the league title last season, with Princeton winning the head-to-head matchup but then failing to complete an unbeaten league record when they lost on the season's final Saturday at Dartmouth.

With 2013 Ivy offensive player of the year and Walter Payton Award finalist Quinn Epperly back to lead the way at quarterback, the Tigers hope to finish off an outright title this season, which they haven't accomplished in 50 years.

So they are being obsessive competitive about their preparation, and it's led to this weekend, when all eight league teams will open the 59th Ivy season.

Half of the teams will be home and half will be on the road, with Princeton traveling across the country to the University of San Diego. The Tigers won the only previous meetings between the programs when Jim Harbaugh was USD's coach.

All of the Ivy teams figure to be competitive internally in a league in which athletics mix on a high level with academics.

Like Princeton, Penn will open the season against a Pioneer Football League squad, as coach Al Bagnoli begins his 23rd and final season with the Quakers' first-ever visit to Jacksonville, which beat San Diego last Saturday.

There will be 14 matchups between the Ivy and Patriot League squads this season, and five will be played this weekend. Harvard will host Holy Cross on Friday night, followed on Saturday by Yale hosting Lehigh, Cornell visiting Colgate, and Columbia hosting 18th-ranked Fordham in the Liberty Cup that honors victims of the 9/11 tragedy.

In addition, Dartmouth will host Central Connecticut State from the Northeast Conference in a first-ever meeting.

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