By Preston Adams, FCS Fans Nation Contributor
What. The. Hell.
Once again, Week 3 has shown us that the CAA is going to be a hard conference to predict when it comes to teams 2-10. But, at the same time, we had some things cleared up when it comes to the strengths and weaknesses of potential playoff teams. Let’s get right to it.
Rhode Island (L@UCONN 56-49)
Rhody looked like they could put up points against any team while losing in a barn burner to old conference rival and FBS foe UCONN. What I saw from the Rams was a team that can (and will likely) get gashed on defense in all areas, and an offense that will not have the same success against better defenses in the CAA. They’re a formidable team, but they aren’t the shiny object everyone should be grasping at as a cinderella story. If they make the playoffs this year, that’ll be a major success for their program.
Richmond (W@St. Francis (PA) 35-27)
Outstanding circumstances like a game played earlier due to the threat of Hurricane Florence and an away game instead of a home game would certainly make good excuses for an underwhelming performance for most programs. Richmond is not any program though, and has been a CAA flagship program for years. Apart from standout wideout and special teams specialist Dejon Brissett, the Spiders had a very underwhelming performance against a sub par NEC opponent. It took a final drive, and a freak last play to make the score what it was in the end. Richmond has a lot of work to do if they want to be a playoff team this year, but I just don’t see that happening for them.
James Madison (W vs. Robert Morris 73-7)
James Madison did exactly what they should have done, even though they moved up their game to Thursday night. They beat down an inferior opponent and got their back ups some reps in the second half. Transfer QB Ben Denucci looked wonderful both running and throwing, while the JMU running attack broke big run after big run. Jimmy Moreland also broke the school interception record with a pick 6 just to top off a great night for the Dukes. Overall, they finally showed why they are the clear cut number 2 team in the nation and the CAA favorite.
Towson (W@NOVA 45-35)
I think everyone would agree that this was the most shocking result of the weekend. We all assumed an older, more experienced Towson team would be a force to be reckoned with this year, but no one saw them putting up 45 against what we all assumed was a formidable NOVA defense. This was not an indictment of NOVA, which still looks like a top 15 team and a playoff team but more of an arrival for Towson. They thrust themselves into playoff talks with this win and if they keep up that level of play in the CAA, could be a sleeper to make a great run!
Albany(W vs. Morgan State 30-27)
If JMU is everyone’s consensus team to beat in the CAA, Albany is everyone’s consensus CAA punching bag following the first 3 weeks of the season. It took 238 receiving yards from Dev Holmes and a last minute break out play to beat MEAC bottom dweller Morgan State. This might be the only game Albany wins this year. Is Hofstra planning on getting football back anytime soon? Asking for a friend.
Other games that happened include Delaware beating Cornell 27-10. This is not a surprising result, and it will be interesting to see what the Blue Hens look like when they go to see the Bison on Saturday. Stony Brook took care of business against Fordham 28-6 away from home. This is a game they should have won. We’ll see what they’re really made of entering conference play. UNH, not surprisingly, lost at Colorado 45-14 bringing their record to 0-3 on the season. Senior QB Trevor Knight is still out with soreness, and by the time he gets back, it may be too late for the Wildcats to make a run for the playoffs. Maine had a scheduled bye, while the face off between William & Mary and Elon was postponed due to Hurricane Florence.
So, while we had a few eyebrow raising results this week, We did get some slightly more definitive answers before heading into heavy conference play. James Madison is clearly the team to beat, and Albany will be a team most CAA teams will look to pick up a win against. UNH still a mystery, but the longer Trevor Knight is out, the more likely it is that they will be playing spoiler for other teams in playoff contention. Teams 2-10 in the CAA will be beating up on one another competing for another 3-4 playoff spots, but I still see a few teams on the outside looking in even in that group. With that, I’ll leave you with my CAA power rankings after week 3.
William & Mary