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Playoff Snub Mystifies Tribe Coach
William and Mary’s Jimmye Laycock says his team should have been the fifth CAA team in the playoffs.
WILLIAMSBURG - It didn’t come as a shock that William and Mary didn’t make the playoffs. The team that took the 16th and final spot, however, was something of a surprise.
Maine, with an 8-4 record but a loss at home to a playoff-bound New Hampshire team that William and Mary beat on the road and a lower ranking than the Tribe in The Sport Network’s Top 25, made the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) field. The Black Bears were the fifth team selected from the Colonial Athletic Association, joining James Madison, Richmond, Villanova and New Hampshire.
“I’d like to hear the justification of that one,” said William and Mary coach Jimmye Laycock, who watched the playoff selection show Sunday night on ESPNU. “Nothing against Maine, but we’re ranked ahead of them. We played a tougher schedule. … I don’t think it’s fair to our players. If they’re going to take a fifth team from our league, I think it had to be us.”
William and Mary (7-4, 5-3 CAA) is ranked 16th in The Sports Network poll, while Maine (8-4, 5-3 CAA), with its other losses coming to Richmond, James Madison and Football Bowl Division (formerly I-A) Iowa, is 17th. In the FCS Coaches poll, the Black Bears are 17th and the Tribe 19th.
Statistical guru Jeff Sagarin, in ratings that combine I-A and I-AA teams, ranks William and Mary’s schedule as the country’s 82nd toughest and Maine’s as 98th.
Maine’s season included a six-game winning streak, while the Tribe, which last made the playoffs in its national semifinal season of 2004, won five games in a row.
William and Mary lost at ACC opponent N.C. State to open the season and lost to JMU and Richmond, with the latter a 23-20 overtime loss on Saturday.
“It was tough enough yesterday, and then to turn around and have this happen today, it’s doubly tough,” said Laycock, who hadn’t yet spoken to his players on Sunday night. “I’m sure that’s sick feeling for them.”
Maine fell 44-17 at Richmond, now ranked as high as sixth, on Sept. 20 and lost 24-10 to No. 1 JMU at home on Sept. 27. The Tribe lost 48-24 to the Dukes in Harrisonburg on Nov. 15.
William and Mary, coming off three consecutive losing seasons, also had victories against CAA teams Delaware, Rhode Island, Towson and Northeastern, along with wins against VMI and Norfolk State. Maine beat conference foes Delaware, Hofstra, Northeastern, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and also had wins against Monmouth, Stony Brook and Iona, which dropped its football program Thursday.
“One of the teams they beat, Iona, doesn’t even play football anymore,” Laycock said. “You tell me how you count that as a win.”
Laycock’s teams have made nine playoff appearances in his 29 seasons at William and Mary. He said Saturday that he thought his team deserved its 10th postseason bid, but knew the Tribe left its fate in the hands of the selection committee.
“I knew it was a long shot at getting in, but then, holy cow,” he said. “I don’t know. It’s beyond me. You look at scheduling, you look at everything. I don’t understand it. I cannot understand the justification for that situation whatsoever.”
Snub mystifies Tribe coach
By Melinda Waldrop, The Hampton Roads Daily Press