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Colgate Is More Than A Toothpaste

The same family that founded the soap and toothpaste company also donated many millions of dollars to a small upstate New York school called Madison University, which in appreciation named the school after the Colgate family.

Colgate University is where I went to school, as you know if you've read this blog for a while; I went to my 25-year reunion last May.

And today, I couldn't be prouder to be an alumnus, as today the Colgate Raiders defeated Western Illinois 28-27 on a touchdown with less than two minutes left by Jamaal Branch, who you are going to hear about one day in the NFL. Today's game, for the second week in a row, was played on Colgate's campus in a driving snowstorm.

This win kept the Raiders undefeated this season at 14-0 and put them in the semifinals of the Division I-AA playoffs, next Saturday against the winner of tonight's Northern Arizona - Florida Atlantic quarterfinal. If they win next weekend, they'll go to the I-AA championship game in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Friday, December 19. That game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Colgate has a little over 2500 students, and no scholarships except need-based ones. The last two weeks they have defeated state schools with six times their enrollment and many athletic scholarships.

This is proof that the true student-athlete can indeed compete on the same stage as the "big boys". Western Illinois, for example, played I-A third-ranked LSU this year. Sure, they lost 35-3, but at least this tells Colgate players that they're not "second-rate" by any stretch. Pretty impressive for a school whose football team was 0-11 as recently as 1995; I'd give almost all the credit for this to coach Dick Biddle, who was so highly regarded he was considered for the coaching vacancy at Duke (he turned it down, saying he didn't want to leave Colgate and only considered it because he is a Duke alum).

Having playoffs like this, to me, is far more exciting than the silly BCS system, which sometimes does come up with a true national championship matchup (this year, it appears it will), but more often than not bogs down in controversy.

There's one little thing that I wanted to mention here. Colgate is the highest-seeded team remaining in the I-AA tournament, but they have already been told that they must play next week on the road. Why? Supposedly, Andy Kerr Stadium, where the Raiders play, doesn't meet the minimum 15,000 seating capacity for such events. That's silly, as was pointed out on the Colgate radio broadcast today. The stadium officially seats 10,221, but could easily be expanded to 15,000 or more with temporary bleachers in the end zones.

I doubt Colgate's players would be too unhappy to play in the warmth of south Florida next weekend, but still -- a 14-0 team ought to be rewarded with a home game. This teaches the wrong lesson to the true student-athletes who have worked so hard to get this far. Of course, if Northern Arizona wins, they might wind up playing in a snowstorm in Flagstaff, Arizona!

Let's go 'gate!