Rojo, you really think the-toughness of the VCP course is overrated?
I think Dartmouth is going to put 8 guys in front of Columbia's #5. Thats how many guys they have that have been consistently cranking 100+ mile weeks for at least a year (some for over two years now). And those miles are not stopping at crosswalks in Manhattan. We are talking about hills twice the size of Cemetery that they climb every day.
I think the course isn't a total non factor but generally I think the best runners win regardless of the course. At a meet this tight, it might make a difference. I think VCP is a legit course so it might hurt a 1500 guy who is barely hanging on for 8k but I had plenty of milers rock VCP. I had a 1:48 guy get 2nd at VCP. Courtney Jaworski also did just fine at VCP.
Dartmouth doesn't seem to have the low sticks one needs to win. It's possible they put everyone between 5 and 20 and win it. The other teams do scare me at #5. That's where they could lose a heps there for sure.
I think VCP is better for Dartmouth which has distance runners as compared to the PRinceton course but the back hills are way overrated. Most of the race takes place on the flats.