The Playoffs Begin Early In The CAA

HIGHLIGHTS: New Hampshire vs JMU

The FCS Playoffs don’t begin until Nov. 30, but some Colonial Athletic Association teams will be part of something very close to a playoff game this weekend.

Take New Hampshire and UAlbany, for example. The Wildcats (5-4, 4-2) and Great Danes (6-4, 4-2) will meet Saturday at UAlbany’s Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, and each team will likely need a victory this weekend -- and next weekend as well -- to have any chance of qualifying for postseason play. The loser of Saturday’s game will almost certainly be removed from the playoff conversation.

New Hampshire can finish no worse than second in the CAA if it defeats UAlbany and follows up that victory with a win against Maine next weekend. That would also give the Wildcats seven wins overall, which may be the minimum needed to earn an at-large berth for any team that plays an 11-game schedule like New Hampshire does.

UAlbany, which will conclude the regular season with at game at Stony Brook next weekend, is among the teams that may need eight wins to qualify. If so, the Great Danes would need to add two more victories to their resume. A seven-win UAlbany team would be a longshot at best.

As many as six CAA teams may still be trying to play their way into the 24-team playoff field. That doesn’t include James Madison, which is close to clinching the CAA Championship and the automatic playoff berth that comes with it.

“From top to bottom I think the CAA is as competitive as any league you’re going to find in the country,” UNH interim head coach Ricky Santos said. “The top team being James Madison, (which) is a national-championship-contending team right now.

“It has really good balance, there’s a ton of parity, but for us right now we’re not trying to get caught up in the numbers, the stats and how it’s all going to play out. We really need to focus on this week and getting better. And if we win this game the following week will have even bigger implications on a potential postseason berth.”

Here’s where things stand in the CAA with two weeks left in the regular season:

Safely In

James Madison

The Dukes (9-1, 6-0) can secure an outright CAA title by beating Richmond at home Saturday. 

James Madison is in position to earn the No. 2 seed for the FCS playoffs, which means any postseason game the Dukes play in through the FCS semifinals will be held at Bridgeforth Stadium.  

Almost There


After Friday night’s non-conference home game against LIU, the Wildcats (7-3, 4-3) will complete their regular-season schedule with a home game against Delaware next weekend. In many cases eight will be the magic number when it comes to wins needed to qualify for this year’s playoffs, so one more victory should get the job done. 

If Villanova wins nine games, a first-round bye could be in play.

On The Bubble

UAlbany, Maine, New Hampshire, Richmond and Towson.

As mentioned above, Saturday’s UAlbany-New Hampshire winner will keep its postseason hopes alive. You can probably draw a line through the loser of that contest. 

Richmond (5-5, 4-2) is another team that will likely need two more victories. The problem the Spiders face is they play at James Madison on Saturday in what can be described as a high-risk, high-reward contest. 

Towson (6-4, 3-3) has a favorable schedule remaining (at William & Mary; and at home against Elon) and may need to win both games to qualify. 

Two of Maine’s losses came against FBS opponents, so if the Black Bears (5-5, 3-3) can get past Rhode Island on Saturday they could find themselves in a win-and-get-in game against rival New Hampshire next weekend. Rhode Island is the only CAA team that hasn’t won a conference game this year, but if this season has taught us anything it’s this: there are no guaranteed victories in the CAA.

One Eye On Next Season

Delaware, Elon, Rhode Island, Stony Brook and William & Mary

The best Stony Brook (5-5, 2-4) can do is win seven games with a 12-game schedule. That, plus a 4-4 record in the conference, will still leave too many CAA teams with better resumes. Delaware (4-6, 2-4), Elon (4-6, 3-4), Rhode Island (2-8, 0-6) and William & Mary (4-6, 2-4) can’t finish above the .500 mark overall or in the league, since Elon, like New Hampshire, has an 11-game schedule. 

These teams will be looking to create some momentum heading into the offseason.

Spring Comes Early At William & Mary As Tribe Returns To The Gridiron

Mike London Is Back With The Tribe

Barely moments after the last piece of confetti fell in Frisco, signaling the end of the 2019 college football season, William & Mary opened its spring practice season in Williamsburg, kicking off the 2020 campaign. 

Elon's Matt Foster Selected As CAA Football Scholar-Athlete Of The Year

RICHMOND, Va. (February 11, 2020) – Elon senior tight end Matt Foster was selected as the 2019 CAA Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year by a vote of the conference’s athletics directors.

CAA Signing Day In Review: 'Nova, JMU Cap Impressive Hauls

The implementation of an early signing period in December has altered the dynamics of National Signing Day in February somewhat. Still, the first Wednesday of the month marks an important milestone in the development of any college football program. 

D'Eriq King To Arkansas? A Knee-Jerk Observation

A beautiful thing happened as LSU’s coronation tour neared its grand conclusion on Monday night: Breaking news, as D’Eriq King Tweeted, “Just kidding, I’m definitely leaving Houston — probably always was.”

Mecole Hardman Sparked A Chiefs Comeback, But First He Called His Shot

With Kansas City trailing Houston 24-0 in the second quarter of Sunday's AFC Divisional round playoff game, Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman returned a kick from his own end zone all the way back to the Texan 42-yard line, injecting life into his team and into a rabid crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.

James Madison Fell Short, But The Dukes Aren't Going Anywhere

FRISCO, Texas — Were James Madison and North Dakota State to play 100 times, it’s easy to predict that they would split the series 50-50. 

The Stage Is Set For An FCS Championship For The Ages

FRISCO, Texas -- Although James Madison and North Dakota State ended the 2018 season on much different notes, their paths to meeting in the 2019 season’s title game were similar. And the gap between them now feels immeasurable.  

The Only Thing Bigger Than Ron'Dell Carter's Personality Is His Game

FRISCO, Texas -- Draw up a blueprint for the ideal football star: What qualities spring to mind? 

Power Five Transfers Have Fueled JMU's Run To Frisco

FRISCO, Texas -- They came from the ACC, the American, the Big Ten to be here in Texas, by way of Harrisonburg. 

3 Things To Watch As James Madison Aims To Dethrone North Dakota State

Pair two teams as similar — and as excellent — as James Madison and North Dakota State, and just a single facet can completely change the game.