Harvard has capped out at six wins the last two seasons under Chris Wojcik (6-6 in 2013 and 6-8 in 2012). The Crimson are flush with talent -- at least according to the recruiting rankings -- and have an open-bloom Ivy League in front of its face. Harvard is primed to move past its recent six-win existence; the only question is whether the Crimson is prepared to take the next step forward.
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
Wicked Awesome Games
February 22: @Massachusetts; February 25: Holy Cross; April 8: Boston University
"Take ya head outta the bubblah and pay attention. Are ya payin' attention? Yeah? If not I'm gonna put ya down cellah and make ya write down all of Cahl Yastremski's stahtistics on a sheet of papah. Listen: Hahvahd is playing three teams from the great state of Massachoosets this yeah. Three! That's problee three more than them knucklenuts from Yale. Friggin bums. Youah uncle Tawmmy almost went to Yale but your Grandpop threatened to run him ovah with the lawn mowah if he actually enrolled. Smaht schmuck went ta Emahsehn like a good boy instead. But these games ahn't gonna be easy. Massachoosets is bayhlee a school, like them fahmahs at UConn, but dem sons a guns beat us last yeah in ouah buildin'. And Holy Cross is almost as good as a Hoodsie now! I'm serious! That program pulled a youie! But BU . . . them kids are gettin' theah teeth kicked in. Southie! Now go do youah homewahk or I'll tell ya mothah that youah weah the one that accidentally tried to sell Rhode Island to ta Maine for thirty lobstahs."
The Hub of the Schedule
March 1: @Albany; March 18: @North Carolina; March 29: @Duke
It's not just that the Crimson have struggled to breach the six-win mark the last two seasons that is troubling; it's that Harvard hasn't put together a track record under Wojcik that shows a consistent competency to knock off elite programs. Since 2011, Harvard has beaten exactly zero teams in LaxPower's top 10 when the Crimson met the opponent (Harvard lost twice to Cornell in 2011, to Duke and Massachusetts in 2012, and to Duke and Cornell in 2013). Now, the Crimson haven't exactly kissed the rings of their opponents in these games (in fact, Harvard was a major nuisance last season against elite competition), but the fact remains: Harvard has struggled to drop competition above its head in recent history. The Crimson will have three opportunities to bag big kills in 2014, all on the road, and a victory in on one of these three dates would go a long way to erasing the notion that Harvard is stuck on the fringes of the nation's top-third of teams.
Nobody Said This Would be Easy
April 12: @Pennsylvania; April 19: Princeton; April 26: @Yale
How's that for a closing stretch not only to the season but also to Harvard's conference campaign: Consecutive dates against the Ivy League's assumedly strongest clubs. That puts pressure on Harvard to take care of business early, but it also means that the Crimson will play its best conference competition at a time of the year when tired legs and mental fatigue are at their apex. Good times!