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CAA Football: Week 9 Preview

The Cats have a bye this week so here we combine VU54TheGeezer's CAA preview and predictions with other useful info to prep you for the football weekend ...

Here is VU54TheGeezer's breakdown of all the CAA games on the docket for week 9 (with a perfect 5-0 record last week, he is now 48-14 with his predictions this season):

#20/22 Stony Brook (4-0/5-2) at #27/28 New Hampshire (4-1/5-3)

Stony Brook has gone a whole month since their last loss, 38-10 vs Sacred Heart at Stony Brook. That's 3 wins in-a-row for the Seawolves. That streak includes wins over Towson on the road, 27-20; a home win over URI, 14-3 and last week an upset over Delaware in Newark, 28-3. They average 19 on offense and 18 on defense. After UNH they have games with W&M and Maine, both at home and at Albany. All challenging games but they only need 2 wins and I think they are in the playoffs. Three wins and they are a shoo-in. Last year in a 5-5 season for the Seawolves they beat the playoff bound UNH Wildcats at home, 31-6. In 2014 in a 5-7 season Stony Brook lost at UNH, 28-20. In 2013 Stony Brook (5-6) lost at home to New Hampshire in their 1st season in the CAA, 31-13.

In the month of October UNH has a win at home over W&M, 21-12; a win down at Elon, 13-10; a home loss (a rarity) to JMU, 42-39 and,last week, a road win at Towson, 21-7, where the Wildcats scored 2 defensive touchdowns. Back in September it looked like the UNH 11 year consecutive playoff streak was about to end after their loss at Ivy Dartmouth, 22-21 for a 1-2 record at the time. Since then they have gone 4-1 and are right back in the playoff mix. UNH went to the playoffs last year with 7 wins and must  get that number again. Thus, like Stony Brook, they need 2 more wins with games remaining with Albany (after a bye) at home and at Maine. Since UNH only suffers a home loss once in a blue moon (the night of the JMU game), things are looking pretty secure for UNH.

This is a really big game for Stony Brook. If both teams finish at 7-4 it will probably come down to this head-to-head matchup for the post season unless the committee decides that the Stony Brook wins over North Dakota and Richmond warrant another 7-4 CAA team a bid. Sorry, Seawolves fans, but I have to go with a UNH win at home: 24-21. UNH has a bye next week before hosting Albany. Stony Brook hosts William & Mary on November 5th.

 

Elon (1-3/2-5) at #32/36 Albany (1-3/4-3)

Neither team has won a game in the month of October. Both have 3 game losing streaks. Elon last won with their major upset of W&M on the road, 27-10 on September 24. Since then there have been losses vs Villanova, 42-7; UNH, 13-10 and Richmond, 35-7 last week and all three were in Elon, N.C. Three of their last four are on the road with only Rhode Island at home and probably their last chance for a win. But, if the William & Mary game taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected in the CAA. This will be the 1st meeting between Albany and Elon. The Phoenix average 14 a game and give up 26.

Albany, a Top 25 team for the past several weeks, hasn't won since their September 24 game vs St. Francis, 20-9. Since then it has been a triple overtime loss at home vs Richmond, 36-30; then a 20-16 loss at Maine and last week a 24-13 loss at Villanova. Albany is averaging 26 a game and gives up 20ppg. I don't see the playoffs in their future with games vs Delaware, at UNH and Stony Brook. The Great Danes would love to get to the .500 mark in the CAA for this year (after being picked for 11th) but may fall a win short.

Albany gets back on the winning track with a 31-14 win over the Phoenix. Elon travels to Towson and Albany hosts Delaware next week.

 

Towson (0-4/1-6) at Delaware (0-4/2-5)

In the preseason this was a matchup of #6 vs #7. Now it's a battle for the cellar with Rhode Island as the only other CAA team not to win a conference game. Both teams have lost 5 games in-a-row. Towson's last win came against St. Francis back on September 10th. Since then it has been losses vs Villanova, 40-21; at Richmond, 31-28; Stony Brook, 27-20; an out-of-conference game with Ivy Dartmouth, 20-17 and last week 21-7 vs New Hampshire. Last year the Tigers beat Delaware, 19-0. In 2014 in a 4-8 season, Towson won at Delaware, 24-17. In 2013 the year that Towson played in the Championship game, they lost to the Hens, 32-31. There always seems to be bad blood and no love when these two play each other. Towson averages 21 a game and gives up 32 a game.

Interim head coach, Dennis Dottin-Carter, lost his 1st game since the Hens fired Dave Brock a week ago, losing to Stony Brook, 28-3, in Newark. The Hens looked pretty inept in that one. They average 23 on the offensive side and 26 on the defensive side of the ball. This storied football program has not lost 5 in-a-row in 80 years and is a shell of the Tubby Raymond glory days. The talent is there in most positions (except the most important one - QB, where they have no passing game) and with their receivers. Can the Hens get one win against the remaining games with Towson, at Albany, at Richmond and Villanova? For the Cats sake, I hope they have one before the rival game with Villanova.

This is the best chance for a Delaware win with their remaining games but they just can't seem to get it right. I know, expect the unexpected, but I'll go with a Towson victory in Newark, 24-21 if they can get a defensive turnover. Towson hosts Elon and Delaware travels to Albany.

 

Rhode Island (0-5/1-7) at #5/8 JMU (4-0/6-1)

Poor head coach Jim Fleming. It looks like a winless CAA season in 2016 for the Rams. At least they won one game and against their in-state rival Ivy Brown, 28-13. The Rams have 3 games to play: at JMU, at Elon and home against Towson. Not looking too good. The Rams have problems on both sides of the ball - on offense scoring only 13 a game and on defense giving up 34 a game.

JMU is a scoring machine with their 44ppg average and will put their weaponry on display this weekend. This is their final tune-up before their big game at Richmond next weekend. The Dukes have beaten Maine, Delaware, William & Mary and New Hampshire for their 4 CAA wins. Where URI brings in a 3 game losing streak to Harrisonburg, the Dukes counter with a 4 game win streak since their loss at North Carolina.

Not much analysis is needed for this one. JMU to smoke Rhode Island, 45-7. URI travels to Elon (go Rams) and JMU plays at Richmond next week.

 

Maine (3-1/4-3) at William & Mary (1-3/3-4)

It's hard to believe that Maine, who was picked for 9th, has a better record than W&M, who was picked for 2nd. It's a nice tribute to 1st year Black Bear head coach Joe Harasymiak and their players. In the month of October the Black Bears have gone 4-0 with wins over Northeast Bryant, 35-31; then at Delaware, 28-21; then at home over #17 Albany, 20-16 and last week at Rhode Island, 28-21.They average 22 a game and give up 27, which continues to fall every week. Don't start thinking playoffs Maine fans with games at W&M, Villanova, at Stony Brook and then New Hampshire. If Maine gets two wins out of those four and finishes 6-5, Harasymiak should get CAA coach of the year.

What a disappointing season for the Tribe. They will have to run the table for a chance at the playoffs and have games with Maine, at Stony Brook, at Towson and home vs Richmond. That looks like 2 wins and a losing season at 5-6, when  they were thought to be a playoff team in the preseason. The Tribe lost at Maine in 2013 in a 7-5 season, 34-20. They also lost at home to Maine in 2012 in a 2-9 season, 24-10. The Tribe average just 20ppg and give up 24 a game. Both numbers don't represent a Jimmye Laycoch coached team.

Seems like Maine has the Tribe number and is a very hot team right now but I'm looking for a cool-down in Williamsburg this weekend with a Tribe 24-21 win. The Tribe travel to Stony Brook and Maine hosts Villanova on November 5th.

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