Welcome back for the fifth installment of my weekly Colonial Athletic Association football pick-em. Last week I went 3-2 for the second straight week, which brought the yearly total to above .500 for the first time, with a 12-11 win-loss record. Let’s get this bread.
In the first matchup of the week the Rhode Island Rams travel down to North Carolina to take on the Elon Phoenix. The Rams are coming off a win that was necessary to keep their playoff hopes alive, beating the William and Mary Tribe in a nor’easter by a score of 21-10. Rhode Island’s offense is now ranked third in the CAA in points per game, putting up 32.1. The defense has been a weak spot recently for the Rams, but with the stingy effort against the Tribe the Rams have some necessary momentum going into a matchup with Elon, who have a top half offense in the conference, scoring 28.7 points per game. The Phoenix are coming off a bye week so they should be well rested and well prepared going into this contest. The Elon defense on the year is fifth in the CAA, only allowing 21.7 points per game. Elon on the year is 5-2 on the year and 3-1 in conference, but look for the Phoenix to suffer their second conference loss of the year.
Official Prediction: URI: 27, Elon: 21.
In the next matchup of the week, James Madison University travels to Durham to take on the University of New Hampshire. JMU this past week was able to grind out a win against Stony Brook, beating them 13-10 in Virginia. The Dukes are now 6-2 on the year and 4-1 in conference, tied for the number one spot with Towson and Delaware. JMU is second in the conference in scoring average, putting up on average 36.4 points per game. Their defense is also elite, only allowing opposing offenses to score 9.8 points per game on them. On the other side University of New Hampshire was able to pick up their first CAA win of the season, blowing out Villanova 34-0. This win moved the Wildcats to 2-6 on the year, and 1-4 in conference. Playing host to JMU will prove the ultimate test for UNH, as their offense has been lifeless save for the recent performance against Villanova. On the year UNH has only averaged 14.5 points per game, which is second to last in the conference. New Hampshire will need lightning to strike twice against the powerhouse Dukes, but it should be clear skies for JMU.
Official Prediction: JMU: 31, UNH: 6
In the third matchup on this week’s CAA slate, Villanova travels to Virginia to take on the Richmond Spiders. The Wildcats are coming off a shutout loss to their Wildcat counterparts UNH, losing that game 34-0. Villanova is now 3-5, and 0-5 in conference. Villanova’s offense has been the biggest struggle for them on the year, as they are ranked tenth in the conference in points per game, averaging 21.4. On the other side Richmond is coming off a bye week, and currently sits at 3-5 on the year, and 1-4 in conference play. Richmond’s defense currently sits dead last in the conference in opponents points per game, allowing a ridiculous 35.0 points per game. This becomes an interesting matchup because of the differing struggles each team has, but look for Richmond to pull out the victory.
Official Prediction: Richmond: 28, Villanova: 20
In the second to last matchup of the week, The Delaware Blue Hens travel to Guilderland, New York to take on the Albany Great Danes. This matchup is a complete tale of two seasons, as the Blue Hens sit atop the conference with a 6-2 overall record and a 4-1 conference record. Delaware is also on a four game winning streak. On the other side of things, Albany is 2-6 on the season, and currently winless in conference play, with a conference record of 0-5. Delaware’s defense has been the driving force for the Blue Hens, as they are second in the CAA in opponents points per game, only allowing 20.4. For the Great Danes, both their offense and defense ranks in the bottom quarter of the conference. Albany is ninth in the conference in points per game, with their offense only scoring 22.6 points per game. Their defense is currently ranked 11th in the CAA in opponents points per game allowed, allowing 33.6 points per game.
Official Prediction: Delaware: 34, Albany: 13
In our fifth and final matchup of the week, the Maine Black Bears travel to Maryland to take on the Towson Tigers. Maine on the year is currently 5-3 and 4-1 in conference. The Black Bears are coming off a 28-9 home win over Albany, which was needed after they took a tough loss to William and Mary. Maine’s defense has been great for the Black Bears this year, sitting at fourth in the conference, allowing 21.1 points per game. The offense has been cause for concern for Maine, as they are the eighth ranked scoring offense in the conference, only putting up an average of 23.0 points per game. For Towson, they’re coming off a disappointing loss to Delaware in an offensive showdown, losing 40-36. On the year the Tigers are 6-2 on the year, and 4-1 in conference and still in great shape. Towson’s offense has been an absolute powerhouse on the year. The Tigers are ranked number one in scoring offense in the conference, putting up an average of 39.8 points per game. This is a team that loves to get into back and forth offensive showdowns, as their defense sits at ninth in the CAA in opponents scoring average, allowing 29.0 points per game. Look for Towson to bounce back after a tough loss, and get all the bread.
Official Prediction: Towson: 41, Maine: 31