Toughest CAA Non-Conference Schedules

In case you somehow missed the news, FloFootball will be the home of 70 Colonial Athletic Association games this season and we couldn't be more excited.

A year ago, the CAA put an FCS high six teams in the playoffs and since the CAA began sponsoring football in 2007, have been the most successful FCS conference

The conference slate will once again be full of familiar opponents, but what does the non-conference schedule look like for each CAA program? 

Maine

August 30 - vs. Sacred Heart (7-4)

September 7 - @ Georgia Southern (10-3, won the Camellia Bowl)

September 21 - @ Colgate (10-2, second round of the FCS playoffs)

October 19 - @ Liberty (6-6)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 33-15

Coming off the best season in school history, Maine has their work cut out for them before they even get into CAA play. Sacred Heart tied for a Northeast Conference title a season ago, Georgia Southern won 10 games plus a bowl game, Colgate's only losses were to Army and eventual FCS national champion North Dakota State, and Liberty finished with a .500 record and now is lead by former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze. 


Delaware

August 29 - vs. Delaware State (3-8)

September 14 - vs. North Dakota State (15-0, won the FCS National Championship)

September 21 - vs. Penn (6-4) 

September 28 - @ Pitt (7-7)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 31-19

Anytime you play the defending FCS National Champions, an FBS power-five team that a made a bowl game last season, and another school that had a winning record, you've got your work cut out for you before you even enter CAA play.

When NDSU invades Newark they will likely have not lost a game since November 4, 2017. The Bison have of course won seven of the last eight FCS National Championships and were a perfect 15-0 last season.

Heinz Field isn't the most intimidating environment for schools to play in, but the Panthers still are an above-average power-five program that consistently goes to bowl games and occasionally knocks off top 5 teams. 

Penn posted a 6-4 record last season in a very competitive Ivy League and will once again not be an easy out. While Delaware State was just 3-8 a year ago, what's the cliche? In a rivalry game, you can throw out the records. 


William & Mary

August 31 - vs. Lafayette (3-8)

September 6 - @ Virginia (8-5, won the Belk Bowl)

September 14 - vs. Colgate (10-2, second round of the FCS playoffs)

September 21 - @ East Carolina (3-9)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 24-24

The Mike London era begins in Williamsburg with four straight tough non-conference tests. While Lafayette is a winnable opener, a trip to London's former employer in Charlottesville will be no small task, we just went over how good Colgate is, and East Carolina will be much improved under former James Madison head coach Mike Houston. 


Rhode Island

August 31 - @ Ohio University (9-4, won the Frisco Bowl)

October 5 - @ Brown (1-9)

October 12 - @ Virginia Tech (6-7, lost in the Military Bowl)

November 2 - vs. Merrimack (5-5)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 21-25

Two road games against FBS schools that went to bowl games last season is no easy task. Couple that with the fact that Ohio is the preseason MAC favorite and the Virginia Tech game is in the middle of three straight road games in the heart of the season. 


New Hampshire

September 7 - Holy Cross (5-6)

September 14 - @ Florida International (9-4, won the Bahamas Bowl)

September 28 - Duquesne (9-4, second round of the FCS playoffs)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 23-14

After having a 14-year playoff streak a season ago, New Hampshire is eager to get back to the postseason. However, the non-conference slate will not make it easy. 

A trip to Miami will not be easy as Butch Davis has Florida International rolling and squaring off with returning FCS playoff team Duquesne a week before jumping into CAA play is no easy task. 


Towson

August 31 - @ The Citadel (5-6)

September 7 - vs. North Carolina Central (5-6)

September 28 - @ Florida (10-3, won the Peach Bowl)

October 19 - vs. Bucknell (1-10)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 21-25

Despite playing three teams that had losing records a season ago, Towson finds themselves this high on the list because of a trip to the Swamp against a pre-season top ten Florida squad sandwiched between CAA games against Villanova and Albany. 


Elon

August 31 - @ North Carolina A&T  (10-2, won the Celebration Bowl)

September 7 - vs. The Citadel (5-6)

September 21 - @ Wake Forest (7-6, won the Birmingham Bowl)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 22-14

The Tony Trisciani era begins at Elon with a tough test against a North Carolina A&T squad that has won double-digit games the past two seasons and collected one win over an FBS program the past three years. Wake Forest is a program on the rise who put it on CAA title contender Towson a year ago. 


James Madison

August 31 - @ West Virginia (8-4, lost in the Camping World Bowl)

September 7 - vs. St. Francis (4-7)

September 14 - vs. Morgan State (4-7)

September 21 - @ Chattanooga (6-5)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 22-23

Curt Cignetti begins his tenure as the head coach at James Madison by leading the Dukes into Morgantown to take on his alma mater. While JMU's non-conference schedule is not extremely deep, West Virginia is one of the toughest places to play in FBS football. 


Stony Brook

August 29 - vs. Bryant (6-5)

September 7 - @ Utah State (11-2, won the New Mexico Bowl)

September 14 - vs. Wagner (4-7)

September 21 - vs. Fordham (2-9)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 23-23

Much like JMU, Stony Brook's non-conference schedule is not extremely deep but features a very tough road trip to Utah State. The Aggies feature one of the nation's best FBS quarterbacks in Jordan Love and received some votes in the first AP poll of the season. Utah State's lone losses a year ago came on the road at Michigan State and Boise State. The Seawolves also benefit from getting their other three non-conference games at home. 


Richmond

August 29 - vs. Jacksonville (2-8) 

September 7 - @ Boston College (7-5, First Responders Bowl was canceled)

September 28 - @ Fordham (2-9)

October 19 - vs. Yale (5-5) 

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 16-27

Looking to get back to their glory days the Spiders have a manageable non-conference slate. While the trip to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College will be a tall task, five times since 2000 Richmond has picked up wins over FBS opponents. 


Albany

August 29 - @ Central Michigan (1-11)

September 7 - vs. Bryant (6-5)

September 14 - @ Monmouth (8-3)

September 21 - vs. Lafayette (3-8)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 18-27

The past two seasons Rhode Island and Maine have pushed Central Michigan to the brink. Can Albany breakthrough and knock off the Chippewas? 

The Great Danes haven't been to the FCS playoffs since 2011 and this year's non-conference schedule is manageable. 


Villanova

August 24 - @ Colgate (10-2, second round of the FCS playoffs)

September 7 - vs. Lehigh (3-8)

September 14 - @ Bucknell (1-10)

November 16 - vs. LIU Post (10-1, first round of the Division II playoffs)

Opponents 2018 Combined Record: 24-21

Apparently, Colgate is the favorite non-conference opponent for CAA schools to schedule. While LIU Post lost just one game a year ago, this season will be their first year playing FCS competition and it will be interesting to see how they adjust to the step up.

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