The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: The 2013 Hamilton College Continentals

Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, forever condemning the founding father's football team to perpetual failure. Like football, the duel was supposed to resolve a conflict between gentlemen. Most duelists, to preserve their honor, missed their foes intentionally when they turned and shot. Hamilton College's football team took after its namesake. The rest of Division III's NESCAC, the New England Small College Athletic Conference for those who don't know, fight like Burr when they take on the Continentals. Or maybe we're just really that bad.

In 120 seasons of football, Hamilton College has accrued a record of 356-496-47. A head coach hasn't left the school with a career record over .500 since 1941, and that man, the legendary Forest Evashevski, who went on to win two Rose Bowls as head coach of Iowa, posted a 5-2 mark in his lone season on the Hill.

Hamilton hasn't had a winning season since 1996. In the last four years, three of which made up my sophomore, junior and senior years at the upstate New York school, the Continentals won a gentleman's total of seven games.

One affluent former player loved his team so much that he promised to gift the college with a new turf field should Hamilton upstage Middlebury in the famous “Old Rocking Chair Classic.” After the losses piled up year after year against the Panthers, the man lost patience (or perhaps realized that death was closer than a Hamilton win) and gave us the field anyway. It's quite nice and accurately represents the general ineptitude of the program. This is the field we received for not beating Middlebury.

It's not like our athletics department is all bad. Both soccer teams boast successful traditions as well as a bevy of attractive players and alumni (Disclaimer: I played for the men's team and dated women from the women's team). Women's lacrosse won a National Championship in 2008 and finished runner up in 2010. Most impressively, our streaking team has been undefeated since 2004. They've been featured on FoxNews, NBC and CBS. A full-length documentary was released in 2009. No word yet on whether or not ESPN will give them the 30 for 30 treatment.

But we're not here to talk about the streaking team. We're here to preview the football one. The results of the latter will likely leave the former naked and sad, or as we call it on the Hill, Buff and Blue.

The Good:

Let's start with the nickname, because that's something our founders got right. First off, let me run down the list of our rivals. No, I did not make any of these up: Williams Ephs, Amherst Lord Jeffs, Wesleyan Cardinals, Middlebury Panthers, Bowdoin Polar Bears, Colby Mules, Bates Bobcats, Tufts Jumbos, Trinity Bantams and Connecticut College Camels.

Yeah, Continentals is easily the best of that group. Although we do face a stiff challenge from the Lord Jeffs only because I imagine their mascot as “The Guy on the Couch” from Half-Baked with a crown on his head.

On the field the team features two preseason Division III All-Americans. Running back James Stanell (good kid, by the way) set a school record with 1,560 all-purpose yards last season. Joe Jensen, a wide receiver, finished third in the NESCAC with 56.8 receiving yards per game. There's a reason Bill Simmons called it “The Bizarro SEC.” Oh that was about our girls? Never mind.

When I told one anonymous fan that I was writing about Hamilton Football, she/he responded, “They could be good this year.” Let's end this section with that.

The Bad:

The team loses the leadership and all-around stalwart play of four-year starting quarterback Jordan Eck. Eck passed for nearly 5,000 yards while under center, good enough for third on the school's all-time list. On the field, he played through numerous injuries including multiple concussions. In the final start of his career, Eck threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns. The team will miss him off the field as well, where he lived a social life that makes Johnny Football look like Tim Tebow. Any quarterback would struggle to fill those shoes.

The Continentals welcome an eager freshmen class but not necessarily an overly talented one. Hamilton continuously misses out on the blue-chip, five-star recruits who make immediate impacts on programs. Jadeveon Clowney isn't walking into Clinton, New York, anytime soon. It's difficult to label all of this as bad, though, when bad is the standard. This is normal. See the introductory paragraph.

The Ugly:

I reached out to Jordan Eck, the aforementioned graduated quarterback, to get a comment for this preview. I asked him, “Jordan, what are your thoughts on the upcoming Hamilton football season?” He responded, “I have no thoughts …” before adding “2-6.” I'm sticking with the greatest QB I ever saw play for the Continentals. The Buff and Blue will win 2 games this year, a 100 percent improvement over last season. Go Conts.

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