Colgate's scheduling situation remains a weird experience but it's starting to move back toward a more manageable situation:
- 2014: 8 home; 6 away
- 2013: 4 home; 8 away; 2 neutral
- 2012: 9 home; 5 away
- 2011: 6 home; 9 away
- 2010: 7 home; 5 away
- 2009: 6 home; 8 away
The sweet spot is that one- to two-game difference, something that Colgate hasn't experienced since the 2010 season. The Raiders return to that state of affairs in the coming spring, a welcome fact for a team that struggled in 2013 after a breakthrough effort in 2012.
Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
The Strong Third
March 1: Bucknell; March 18: Cornell; March 29: Loyola; April 5: @Lehigh; May 5: @Syracuse
The Peter Baum Experience has finished its residency in Hamilton, now on the road entertaining audiences at various points throughout the nation. The attack's graduation from Colgate creates issues for the Raiders and those issues will need to be addressed in hostile situations: Almost a third of the Raiders' schedule features teams expected to reside somewhere in or just outside of the top 20 at the sunrise of the 2014 season. Three of those dates are Patriot League necessaries -- against Loyola, Lehigh, and Bucknell -- but the other two are valuable Central New York games against programs that have historically overshadowed Colgate in the NCAA Tournament era. Nothing about these dates are easy, but two stick out as especially difficult: (1) Loyola and Lehigh appear in back-to-back fashion, right in the heart of the Raiders' conference campaign and could serve as determining factors in Colgate's pursuit of a Patriot League Tournament invitation; and (2) The Syracuse date comes immediately after the Patriot League Tournament, a tough spot to meet the Orange depending on what the Raiders' league postseason situation provides.
Easing Out of the Driveway
February 8: Bryant; February 15: Vermont; February 22: @Lafayette
Colgate didn't put together a bad effort in 2013 -- the team went 8-7 and made the Patriot League Tournament -- but it was a step back from an important 2012 campaign that saw the Raiders drop Massachusetts in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2014, Colgate has the opportunity to erase some of their year-end woes from 2013 -- the Raiders lost five of their last six games, beating only Lafayette in that stretch -- and get 2014 started on the right foot. The Raiders' first three games in the coming spring are very manageable, opportunities to accelerate growth and put Colgate in a nice position before the dawn of March. These aren't season-defining games, but they are vital chances to get well quickly.
February 22: @Lafayette; March 8: @Boston University; March 22: @Navy; March 12: Holy Cross; April 18: Army
The Patriot League Tournament is going to have a different flavor in 2014: For the first time ever, the league will feature a quarterfinal round, pitting seeds three through six in early play while the conference's top two seeds get a bye to the semifinals. Consequently, positioning for the conference tournament is especially important now given the extended nature of the postseason, potential matchups in the semifinal round, and the fact that nine teams now find residence in the Patriot League. Where Colgate -- and every other member of the league -- is going to need to make its money is against the meaty middle and lower reaches of the conference. If the Raiders take care of business against competitively equal and inferior clubs, Colgate should be in a nice spot to create havoc.