By John A. Oswald of Newsday, page 2!
Lions May Not Win, But They Can't Lose

   At Columbia University, they're calling 
today's football game at Princeton the 
biggest road trip in the school's history.
   If Columbia loses its 35th consecutive 
game today, as most students predict - and 
some students hope - it will earn the 
dubious distinction of being the worst team 
in major college football history. The team 
has not won a game since 1983.
   As many as one-third of the school's 
6,000 undergraduates are expected to go to 
central New Jersey. The university's 
undergraduate dormitory council has 
organized seven buses to travel to 
Princeton, and other students have said they 
plan to drive or take trains.
   Yesterday afternoon, the Columbia box 
office had sold more than 1,200 tickets to 
the game, according to Petrina Long, 
assistant director of athletics. For most 
away games, school officials say, rarely 
more than 50 tickets are sold.
   Many of the fans traveling today say they 
will openly root for the team to lose.
   At one campus party Thursday night, which 
organizers said was designed to celebrate 
the possible loss, toasts to today's game 
were made.
   "I just hope we lose because if we win, 
it will be such a letdown," said Jill Levey, 
a senior.
   "We all like being at an academic 
institution where everyone is intellectual 
and no one can play football. I'm proud that 
our boys are wimps," she added.
   One student, apparently caught up in the 
spirit of the party, said he and some 
friends plan to travel to Princeton today 
and go a little crazy.
   "I wanna wear Columbia clothes and cheer 
for Princeton," senior Michael Langer said.
   "We're tearin' down the goal post when 
they lose," said Alec Foege, another senior.
   The school's deans are afraid the party 
atmosphere associated with today's game may 
get out of hand on the Morningside Heights 
campus tonight - win or lose.
   "The dean's office has put all the 
residence counselors on alert because they 
are afraid the place is going to go wild," 
according to Chris Tahbaz, a residence 
counselor and first-year law student.
   "They made this decision based on what 
happened at Northwestern - the place was a 
zoo," he explained.
   Up until last week - when Columbia lost,
 tying the record - Northwestern University 
in Illinois held the national record for 
consecutive major college football losses. 
When that school lost its 34th game in a row 
in 1982 to initially earn the big loser 
title, the campus went wild.
   But not all students at Columbia wish 
their team the worst when they play today in 
Princeton, which is 2-1 this season. The 
stadium there holds 45,000, and sports 
officials there expect at least 35,000 to
attend the game today at 1:30 p.m.
   "Most Columbia students would be pleased 
with the Lions if they can pull it off," 
according to Jason Sippel, a sophomore. 
"Many people think they have tried hard and 
don't deserve the distinction."
   "We'll settle for tying the record," said 
junior Liz Pleshette, the manager of the 
university marching band.
   "I think breaking the record is too much 
of a stigma. Besides, imagine how funny it 
would be to win against Princeton."


By Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post. This is actually Pro-Band. Read on.
This Is Columbia  -  at Its Worst

   Each Monday during the football season, 
the Washington Post runs a report that notes 
various "ups" and "downs" among college 
football teams. This week the Post greeted a 
team that has been down so long everything 
looks like up. The team, of course, is 
Columbia University, the pride of New York 
City, and the holder of the longest current
winless streak in college football.
   Columbia hasn't won a game since the 
fifth week of the 1983 season, when it 
walloped Yale, 21-18. In its 27 games since, 
Columbia has been outscored by 575 points 
and has two ties and 25 losses - the last 24
in a row. (Bowie State and Morgan State have 
25 successive losses, but that is Division 
II) Thus far through the 1980s, Columbia has 
posted a 4-46-2 record. That's not a 
misprint. Columbia has been beyond bad, 
beyond awful, and into terrifying. Columbia 
is to college football what salmonella is to 
frozen dinners. Take Columbia, please. No, 
don't - not even with 34 1/2 points.
   "They're in a slump, okay?" George 
Starke, class of 1971, said. 
   A slump? The Miami Dolphins are in a 
slump. OPEC is in a slump. Columbia hasn't 
had a winning season since 1971. Columbia 
isn't in a slump. Columbia is supine.
   Most recently, the Lions were beaten by 
Penn, 42-7.
   "Columbia was upset last week," Starke 
insisted. "I consider all 24 in a row to be 
upsets. Score is no indication of the 
punishment they inflicted upon their 
opponents."
   Starke played tight end at Columbia. 
("People always tell me, `It's no good since 
you left.' When I was there, we didn't win, 
either. Except we'd always beat Brown. We 
could count on it. The worst thing now is
that somehow over the years Brown became 
good. Our lock is gone.")
   Starke was not just a Big Man On Campus; 
by his sophomore year, he was The Biggest 
Man On Campus at 6-5, 245. "During the 
demonstrations in 1968, the athletes, 
invariably the crewcuts, tried to starve the
longhairs out of the sit-in; they locked 
arms to cordon off the building. I'd pass 
through with food for the longhairs. Of 
course they let me through - I'd have 
punched them out." (Having graduated with
one year of football eligibility 
outstanding, Starke is threatening to return 
to his alma mater at tight end. "These last 
15 years, I've redshirted," he said.)
   Starke remains true blue to Columbia, 
notwithstanding the losing. "Columbia likes 
to keep things in perspective," he said. 
Look at their marching band: never in step, 
never in tune, phenomenally funny. Seeing 
the band having great fun goofballing around 
the stadium sums up Columbia's attitude 
toward football. And I wholeheartedly 
support it. Look, the practice site is miles 
away from the campus. When I was there, we 
rode the subway uptown, then walked seven 
blocks to the field. Columbia is a very 
difficult school. You're better off studying 
than practicing football. On top of that, 
you always lose. So it has to be fun to go 
through all that. You have to want to play 
to do that."
   Now the players ride to practice in what 
is described as "a nice, big bus." So we 
presume they're having fun. But can they 
win? We don't know if Lou Little's 1933 team 
swallowed goldfish, but we know it won the 
Rose Bowl.
   "I'm very confident," Starke said. 
   It shouldn't be this hard. "You don't 
have to be Bear Bryant to win in the Ivy 
League," Bill Steinman, Columbia's sports 
information director, said.
   "Soon," Starke said. "Look, this team has 
lost 24 in a row. How do you approach 
playing against a team that lost 24 in a 
row? How seriously could you take them? If 
the guys at Columbia get really angry, they
could kill somebody."
   Tomorrow is Homecoming. This is the 25th 
anniversary of Columbia's last Ivy League 
championship. And how do you think Princeton 
feels about being the Homecoming foe? 
Typically, your Homecoming game is the 
deadest dog you can schedule. Columbia is 
everybody's first choice for Homecoming.
   Princeton is 0-3, too. "They've had a 
lugubrious start," Steinman said. 
(Lugubrious. You think they're saying that 
up in Green Bay?) "They have to be a little 
nervous. It's one thing to lose to 
Northwestern; that's the Big Ten. It's one 
thing to lose to Brown; they could win the
Ivy League. It's another thing to lose to 
us." Let's see now: Princeton lost to 
Cornell, 39-8. Cornell lost to Lafayette, 
22-15. Columbia lost to Lafayette, 26-21. 
Therefore . . . therefore what? What, is 
Lafayette all of a sudden Alabama? What do 
they have at Lafayette, a raw meat 
department?
   If Columbia doesn't beat Princeton, 
there's Villanova, playing Division III 
football now after discontinuing a big-time 
program some years ago. And there's 
Dartmouth. Did you check out the Big Green
lately? Another 0-3 juggernaut; lost its 
past two games, 45-0 to Navy and 66-12 to 
New Hampshire. New Hampshire? Is the Fiesta 
Bowl paying attention? 
New Hampshire-Lafayette. Take the over.