CAA power rankings: Week two

The 2023 College Football season is two weeks old, and the Coastal Athletic Conference (CAA) has seen its fair share of nail biters and blowouts. 

Frontrunners are emerging and the backend of the conference is beginning to reveal its flaws and imperfections. Some teams are even rivaling FBS competition, while other teams’ attempts at a major upset have fallen very short.

The Good Five Cent Cigar Sports Staff will judge all 15 CAA teams every week to find these frontrunners and provide a power ranking list to show which teams could be featured in December and even in January.

Here are the results going into week three of the season for The University of Rhode Island’s Football team and the rest of the CAA.

15th Place: Stony Brook (0-2)

Stony Brook is the only team in the CAA with two games in conference play and they have dropped both contests by at least 21 points, which is the leading cause for the Seawolves sitting in last place of this power ranking.

Their offense has struggled mightily, only amassing three touchdowns and 13.5 points per game. A rough 37-13 loss to Delaware in their home opener was complemented by a 35-14 defeat by Rhode Island in week two. 

Stony Brook needs to start a turnaround now if they have any hope of making the 2023 season a successful one.

14th Place: Towson (0-2)

Towson is another 0-2 team in the CAA, but they have the benefit of the doubt, facing a Big Ten opponent in Maryland during week one where they lost 38-6.

However, a 42-23 loss to Monmouth last week raised some concerns for a team that finished above .500 in the 2022 season, going 6-5 in last year’s campaign. 

The offensive output has not been terrible, but the defense has left much to be desired, allowing 443 yards per game to go along with 40 points per game.

Towson has another FCS opponent in Morgan State coming up this week and it will have to be a statement game to prevent going 0-3.

13th Place: North Carolina A&T (0-2)

North Carolina A&T was another CAA team that opened up their 2023 season against an FBS opponent, their appointment was with The University of Alabama at Birmingham, in which they were blown out 35-6.

However, a reboundable week two matchup against North Carolina Central showed that maybe the quality of the opponent was not the problem. A 30-16 defeat at home saw NC A&T only pass for 51 yards the entire game, a yardage that would make victory hard even against the most inferior opponent.

The Aggies face their first CAA opponent of the season in week three against Elon and hope to find the win column for the first time this season.

12th Place: Richmond (0-2)

A close 17-10 loss to Morgan State in week one was not the outcome the Spiders wanted, especially heading into week two when they played the hardest game on their schedule in Michigan State, which they consequently lost 45-14.

Richmond’s offense is a sign for concern, only posting three touchdowns in two games. However, if their defense can continue to hold FCS opponents below 20 points on a regular basis, they will have a fighting chance at climbing their way back up the power rankings in the near future.

11th Place: Maine (0-2)

Maine has started the 2023 season on a confusing note. A 14-12 loss to FBS opponent Florida International raised signs of optimism for Maine after a disappointing 2-9 record in 2022.

However, week two served as a shock to most when the Black Bears were defeated in a 44-7 routing from North Dakota State. Granted, North Dakota State is the second ranked team in the FCS per the Stats Perform FCS top 25, but a result of that magnitude will raise concern in any locker room, no matter the opponent.

Maine has another tough matchup against Rhode Island, who is fresh off a big win of their own, and will need to defend their home turf in their first game in Orono in 2023.

10th Place: Elon (0-2)

Elon serves as the last winless team on this week’s power ranking. Their opponents have been tough, first losing to FBS opponent Wake Forest 37-17 in week one, and then dropping to Gardner-Webb 34-27 who sits just outside the top-25 teams in the FCS.

The tough schedule gives Elon the benefit of the doubt, but they will not be able to progress any higher than 10th place until they enter the win column.

9th Place: Hampton (1-1)

A thrilling 35-31 victory over Grambling State in week one gave a shot of adrenaline to the Hampton Pirates roster, a boost that expired before their week two matchup with Norfolk State in which they fell 31-23.

They always say defense wins championships, and that is often true since the offense can’t always keep up. Allowing over 30 points in both contests is not a way to have a successful season, and if their offense cannot keep pace, the Pirates’ season may never see the baseline of .500.

8th Place: Campbell (1-1)

A 34-24 loss to William and Mary in week one was sure to leave a sour taste in the mouth of Campbell. However, instead of rolling over and showing their bellies, the Fighting Camels went with the smart approach of passing the taste onto someone else. The victim of this fit of frustration was the small school of The Citadel, in which the Fighting Camels were victorious 56-7.

Campbell’s offense now ranks second in the entirety of the CAA, posting 40 points per game, and their defense is not too far behind, ranking third at only allowing 20.5 points on average.

7th Place: Monmouth (1-1)

Monmouth rebounded off a tough FBS loss to Florida Atlantic by a score of 42-20 in week one with a CAA win over Towson in week two, 42-23.

The Hawks possess a top-five offense in the CAA and if their defense can find its footing to a more dominant position, Monmouth could be a dark horse team in the CAA this season. However, they will be challenged with the explosive offense of Campbell in week three, which will serve as a tough challenge, and a preview into the rest of the season if the Hawks can withstand the onslaught.

6th Place: Albany (1-2)

The only CAA team with three games under their belt has a losing record, but that should not take away from three GREAT showings from the Great Danes. (See what I did there?) 

A week one 34-13 victory over Fordham in week one gave Albany a boost of confidence going into the two game FBS stretch against Marshall and Hawaii. Are Marshall and Hawaii the best FBS teams? No they are not. However they are still a different caliber of program from Albany, and the Great Danes kept both contests close, losing 21-17 to Marshall and 31-20 to Hawaii.

If Albany can bring that play back to the FCS, they could be a force in the coming weeks, starting with Morgan State after their bye week.

5th Place: Delaware (1-1)

In most cases, a team that loses 63-7 would never grace the top five of a power ranking the following week. However The Good Five Cent Cigar is making an exception for the Blue Hens given that the loss came to FBS #7 ranked Penn State.

In week one, however, they had a great showing against Stony Brook. Despite turning the ball over four times against the Sea Wolves, Delaware’s defense was a force, amounting to a 37-13 win.

Delaware was a top team in the CAA in 2022, going 8-5, and they will most likely continue that in 2023.

4th Place: Villanova (2-0)

Our first of two undefeated teams in the CAA is the Villanova Wildcats. With two massive wins over Lehigh, 38-10, and Colgate, 42-19, the Wildcats are a force to be reckoned with in 2023. 

The one factor holding back Villanova from a top three spot in this week’s power rankings is that they have not faced a high quality opponent yet. That all changes this week as they travel to Orlando this weekend to play the University of Central Florida. 

A solid showing against an FBS team would skyrocket Villanova’s stock in the CAA.

3rd Place: New Hampshire (1-1)

A 51-7 victory to open up a season is terrific for any team, including the New Hampshire Wildcats, however the emphasis of the victory is diminished when it comes against second-year Division I program, Stonehill.

However, a close 45-42 loss to FBS opponent Central Michigan raises the UNH stock significantly. 

The offense is spectacular, averaging 46.5 points a game, and their defense does their job against an FCS opponent. However, to fully claim the top spot in the CAA, they will have to play a CAA opponent, which they do in two weeks when they visit Delaware. Until then, they host Dartmouth and try to iron out any kinks before entering conference play.

2nd Place: Rhode Island (1-1)

An explosive offense, paired with a dominating defense is a foolproof way to have a successful season, and Rhode Island has taken that approach and run with it to start the 2023 campaign.

After a tough last minute loss to Georgia State in week one, by a call that came down to a few inches, Rhode Island was not going to let another game come down to a single decision from the referees.

Instead they responded with a crushing 35-14 win over Stony Brook in the first ever game played at Meade Stadium on a Friday Night. 

Rhode Island’s 467 yards per game is second best in the CAA and their 336 yards allowed per game ranks third.

1st Place: William and Mary (2-0)

The start to the 2023 season for William and Mary has been a tale of domination. In week one they held Campbell’s explosive offense to under 25 points in a 34-24 victory. Consequently, they followed it up with an even better performance in week two against Wofford with a 23-6 win.

The William and Mary defense is a CAA best, allowing only 233 yards per game and their 15 points per game allowed is second in the conference. The defense operates in domination instead of turnovers, boasting an 85.7% 3rd down denial rate.

If the William and Mary defense can keep up the act and the offense can keep pace, William and Mary is in for a really special 2023 season.