Nov. 14, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - As the Patriot League winds down its celebration of the Football 25th Anniversary season, fans will now be able to have their say for which team was the best in the League's first quarter-century.
A poll on the Patriot League website is now open with 10 different choices for the top single-season team in the League's first 25 seasons (1986-2010). To cast your vote, click here
To be listed as an option for the top team in Patriot League history, a squad had to finish as the outright Patriot League champion and have no more than two losses for the regular season. Teams that did not meet those criteria were considered if they won a game in the FCS postseason. For teams that won consecutive outright Patriot League titles, the top team from that run will be considered.
The poll will be open throughout the week before closing on Sunday evening. The winner of the vote for the top football team in Patriot League history will be announced on Nov. 23 along with the fan poll selections for the top Patriot League program, offensive player, defensive player and head coach that were selected earlier in the season.
For full coverage including the Patriot League Football 25th Anniversary Team, This Day in History page, question and answer interviews with former student-athletes and coaches, positional profiles and team history articles, go to the Patriot League Football 25th Anniversary page
Below, read a synopsis of each of the 10 teams considered in the voting for the best in Patriot League history.
1987 Holy Cross (11-0, 4-0 Patriot League) - With Patriot League Player of the Year Gordie Lockbaum leading the way on both offense and defense, the Crusaders put together a truly dominating season where they finished at No. 1 in the national polls. The Crusaders outscored opponents 511-110 for the year and 200-34 in Patriot League action. They never scored below 34 points in any of the 11 games.
1988 Lafayette (8-2-1, 5-0 Patriot League) - The Leopards were the only team to dethrone Holy Cross in the first six seasons of Patriot League football. Lafayette earned a 28-20 win over the Crusaders on Sept. 17 on its way to a perfect Patriot League season. Head Coach Bill Russo won the Eddie Robinson Award as the top coach in the nation for leading the Leopards to the title.
1991 Holy Cross (11-0, 5-0 Patriot League) - The final year of the Mark Duffner era produced a second undefeated overall season for the Crusaders, and their fifth perfect Patriot League campaign in six seasons. The Crusaders more than doubled their opponents in overall (372-174) and Patriot League (185-84) games and won four games by five points or less.
1998 Lehigh (12-1, 6-0 Patriot League) - In addition to sweeping through the Patriot League, the Mountain Hawks became the League's first team to win a playoff game when they knocked off Richmond 24-23 in the first round. Patriot League Player of the Year quarterback Phil Stambaugh led Lehigh to an undefeated regular season that included a 41-22 win over rival Colgate.
2000 Lehigh (12-1, 6-0 Patriot League) - Lehigh won the Patriot League by two games with a dominant team that outscored opponents 337-160 overall and 186-89 in Patriot League competition during Head Coach Kevin Higgins' final season. The Mountain Hawks emphatically defeated Western Illinois 37-7 in the first round of the postseason.
2002 Fordham (10-3, 6-1 Patriot League) - While the Rams shared their first Patriot League title with Colgate, they stepped up in the postseason with a 29-24 win at Northeastern in the first round. The title completed a turnaround under Head Coach Dave Clawson, as the Rams had finished 0-11 in 1999.
2003 Colgate (15-1, 7-0 Patriot League) - The Raiders had a fairy-tale run all the way to the national championship game for Head Coach Dick Biddle. After finishing the regular season with a perfect 12-0 record and 7-0 in the Patriot League, Colgate defeated Massachusetts (19-7), Western Illinois (28-27) and Florida Atlantic (36-24) before falling to Delaware in the title contest. Running back Jamaal Branch won the Walter Payton Award as the Most Outstanding Player in the nation.
2008 Colgate (9-3, 5-0 Patriot League) - After opening with a 1-2 record, the Raiders rolled off eight consecutive wins and won the Patriot League title on the last day of the season with a 28-27 victory over Holy Cross.
2009 Holy Cross (9-3, 5-1 Patriot League) - The storied career of quarterback Dominic Randolph came to an end with a title, as the Crusaders won their first four Patriot League contests and then clinched the crown with a 28-26 win over Lafayette in a winner-take-all contest for the championship on Nov. 14. Holy Cross pushed eventual national champion Villanova before falling 38-28 in a first-round playoff contest.
2010 Lehigh (10-3, 5-0 Patriot League) - The Mountain Hawks won the Patriot League by two games for their first outright championship since 2001. A team that many considered a year ahead of schedule made another statement by winning at Missouri Valley Football Conference champion Northern Iowa 14-7 in the first round of the postseason.