Welcome back for the fourth installment of my weekly Colonial Athletic Association football pick-em. Last week I went 3-2 on my predictions in the five games played, which brought my yearly win-loss total to .500, at 9-9. Let’s take a look at this week’s matchups.
In the first matchup of the week, the Tribe of William and Mary travel to Kingston to take on Rhode Island. William and Mary is now 2-1 in their last three games and are coming off a huge upset of the Maine Black Bears, beating them this past week at home 27-20. The Tribe are 3-4 on the year and 2-2 in conference. In their three wins this year, William and Mary’s defense has shown up in a big way. In games won by the Tribe, they allow only 16.3 points per game, however, in the Tribe’s four losses, they allow an average of over 41 points per game. On the other side, Rhode Island is coming off a blowout loss to Stony Brook in New York, losing 52-14. This is the second most points the Rams have allowed on the year, and the most they’ve given up to an FCS school. URI is now 4-3 on the year, and 2-2 in conference, losing their last two games. Even with the poor offensive showing from Rhody this past Saturday, the offense is still explosive, sitting at third in the conference in scoring average, at 33.7 points per game. The defense has been the issue for the Rams, as they currently sit at ninth in the conference in scoring defense, allowing opponents to score an average of just under 30 points per game against them.
Official Prediction: URI:31, William and Mary:24
In the second matchup of the week in CAA football, Albany travels to Orono to take on Maine. The Great Danes are coming off a loss to Towson in which they let up 56 points and 538 yards of total offense. Albany is now 2-5 on the year, 0-4 in conference and have currently lost three games in a row. I don’t expect that change anytime soon either, as this Albany defense has allowed over 400 yards of total offense per game, and allowed opponents to score an average of 34.4 points per game on the year. On the other side, Maine is coming off a surprising loss to William and Mary this past week. This loss was the Black Bears first conference loss of the year, and they are now 3-1 in conference and 4-3 on the year. Offense has been an issue on the year for Maine, as they rank in the bottom third of the CAA in total offense at 338.3 yards per game, and are also the third to worst scoring offense in the conference, on average scoring 22.3 points per game. Look for the Black Bears to get back on track in pursuit of an FCS playoff appearance.
Official Prediction: Maine:28, Albany:17
In the next matchup in the upcoming slate of CAA football, University of New Hampshire travels to Pennsylvania to take on Villanova in a battle of the Wildcats. UNH is currently a putrid 1-6 on the year and 0-4 in conference play. In their last time out, New Hampshire was beaten handily by Delaware, 38-14 at home. Currently, UNH is dead last or tied for last in the conference in Scoring Offense, Total Offense, Kick Return Average, Pass Efficiency, Turnover Margin, First Downs, Sacks Against and Field Goal Percentage. UNH is also last in the CAA in Red Zone Offense and Defense. On the other sideline, the Villanova Wildcats have had an equally bad year in conference, also sitting at 0-4 in conference play. However, Villanova is 3-4 on the year. The strength of this team is their defense, as they rank fifth in conference in scoring defense, allowing 22.4 points per game. Villanova also ranks fourth in both passing and rushing defense, allowing 194.6 yards per game passing, and 108.9 yards per game on the ground. Villanova is third in conference in total defense, only allowing 303.4 yards per game. Look for a capable Nova defense to control the incompetent UNH offense.
Official Prediction: UNH:10, Villanova:24
Who wins? The unstoppable force, or the immovable object? In the second to last matchup of the week, that exact question will be answered when the Towson Tigers travel to Delaware to take on the Blue Hens in a battle at the top of the conference leaderboard. Towson is currently situated on top of the mountain that is the CAA standings, with a record of 4-0 in conference and 6-1 on the year. Towson is also the hottest team in the conference and among the hottest in the country, winning their last five games in a row. It’s been all offense for Towson, as they currently have the most prolific offensive attack in the CAA. The Tigers lead the conference in scoring average at 40.3 points per game, and total offense, averaging 482.9 yards per game, which is about 74 more total yards than the next closest team. For Delaware, the Blue Hens are currently just a rung down from Towson atop the CAA standings, sitting at 3-1 in conference and 5-2 on the year. For Delaware, the key to success has been the opposite to Towson, and that’s been the Blue Hens stingy defense. Delaware currently ranks second in the conference in scoring defense, only allowing an average of 18.1 points per game. The Blue Hens are also fourth in the conference in total defense, allowing 327.7 yards per game. Look for the unstoppable force in Towson to come away with a victory.
Official Prediction: Towson:42, Delaware:28
In the last matchup of the week, the James Madison Dukes come off a bye week to play host to a Stony Brook Seawolves team that just imposed their will on URI. JMU is currently 5-2 on the year and 3-1 in conference. The Dukes are a perennial powerhouse and this year is no different, as they rank in the top half of every team stat imaginable. What stands out most about JMU is their incredible defense and high octane offense. Currently, JMU is second in scoring offense in the CAA, averaging 39.7 points per game. The Dukes defense leads the conference in opponent scoring average, only allowing 9.7 points per game on average. This team is elite in every facet of the game. On the other side, Stony Brook itself is a good football team in its own right. The Seawolves are fourth in the conference in scoring average, putting 32.2 points per game on the board, while their defense is also fourth in the conference in scoring, only allowing 21.9 points per game to opponents. Look for that number to go up after this weekend, in a game that should be dictated by the Dukes.
Official Prediction: JMU:45, Stony Brook:17