HERO Sports welcomes you to "Two-a-Days", where we will preview every single one of the 125 FCS programs, with two being released each day from June 18 to August 18 (with the final day having three in one day). Today we give you … Columbia.
Columbia (8-2 IN 2017)
Ivy League (Columbia was T-2nd in 2017)
COACH: Al Bagnoli – 4th season (13-17)
2017 OFFENSE: 23.9 ppg. (63rd in FCS)
2017 DEFENSE: 17.5 ppg. (T-14th in FCS)
SUM IT UP: Columbia put it all together in Al Bagnoli's third season in Manhattan. After a four-year stretch that saw the Lions go 4-36, Bagnoli led Columbia to an eight-win season en route to his selection as Ivy League Coach of the Year. Unfortunately, another eight-win season will be hard to replicate in 2018. Senior Quarterback Anders Hill is gone, as are other key starters from both sides of the ball. The back end of the defense should be one of the stronger groups in the conference, but quarterback is a major unknown. With the Ivy League set to field a particularly strong group of teams this fall, Columbia could be in danger of giving back some of the gains it earned last season.
BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Columbia holds their ground and stays above .500. The season starts reasonably enough, with early games against Marist and Georgetown. The Lions will get preseason favorite Yale at home, too, so the schedule lines up about as favorably as Columbia fans could hope for. If the Lions can shoot for a record somewhere in the area of 6-4 or 7-3, that would be a huge statement toward the sustainability of Bagnoli's forward progress. Another second-place in finish in the Ivy League feels just a bit out of reach, but a top-half finish seems possible. Given how good the conference could be, and the pieces that Columbia loses, that's a good goal for a program that wants more than just one year of success.
TOP RETURNEE: WR Josh Wainwright (First-Team All-Ivy).
THE NEXT FIVE: OL Tyler Schonewolf (20 consecutive starts at center); Landon Baty (66 tackles, 4 INTs, 2 FFs in 2017); DB Ryan Gilbert (95 Tackles in 2017); LB Sean White (48 Tackles, 5 PD, 2 INTs in 2017); LB Michael Murphy (All-Ivy HM)
TOP NEWCOMER: LB Cam Dillon (Two-Time All-State HS player in Ohio).
DID YOU KNOW?: At the time of the American Revolution, Columbia University was known as King's College, and its library was lotted after British troops occupied New York.
THE QUOTE: “We are still a work in progress. Our young quarterbacks need all the work they can get. Our young corners need all the work they can get. The spring is for us to really try to get young kids under a little bit of stress to see what you have… we've done some positive things this spring.” — Head Coach Al Bagnoli, during Spring Practice.
SOCIAL MEDIA SPOTLIGHT
THE HASHTAG: #RoarLionRoar
FOOTBALL TWITTER: @ColumbiaLionsFB
If I were a HS QB and had the chance to work with & ultimately get coached by a guy on this list I would do everything my power to make it happen! Check out the ???? @ColumbiaLionsFB QB Coach @rwsantos2 coming in at #4! #PrettyGoodCompany #L19nMentality #OnlyHere #EAT https://t.co/0b6RdqLEwF
— Mark Fabish (@Coach_Fab) June 21, 2018
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