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The CAA Today: SENIOR DAY

floated rightTerence Thomas, Sr. CSN The CAA Today columnist

For many Seniors, this coming Saturday will be the last time they wear a football uniform of any kind. Towson head coach, Rob Ambrose stated in post game press conference that the emotion that comes with this finality will be like a “shock to the soul”. Some Seniors have already played in their last home game. For those teams not going to the playoffs and are home, this Saturday will be their last time going out and representing their university. I spoke with Villanova Seniors, LS, Will Thompson (Glen Arm, Md), who stated the feeling was surreal, and TE Eric Predatsch (Poughkeepsie, NY) who could not find the words to describe his feelings. These two have one regular season home game left in their college football playing careers.

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We often forget that these are men playing a kids game. A game these kids probably started playing before they were 5 years old. It could have started as a game of catch in the backyard with their father, brother, neighborhood friend, or as some type of organized youth event. Back then they were just enjoying the time spent with whom they were playing catch with or whom they were participating with. Games were won and lost, but the experiences have outlasted the games. Speaking from my own experience, I used to hate the Southern California grass in August. It caused me to itch unmercifully. I hated “Up/Downs”, and “Monkey Rolls”. I remember leaving the practice field for the last time thinking, I’m going to miss those activities. On the eve of their last practice this week, many Seniors will share in similar thoughts.

This week, if you should happen to come across the path of a Senior football player, shake his hand or give him a pat on the back, and thank him for his efforts on the football team, he’s certainly deserved it.

STANDINGS & PLAYOFF PROBABILITIES

North			Overall		CAA
New Hampshire		(8 – 2)		(5 – 2)
Maine			(5 – 5)		(4 – 3)
Massachusetts		(5 – 5)		(3 – 4)
Hofstra			(4 – 6)		(2 – 5)
Northeastern		(2 – 8)		(2 – 5)
Rhode Island		(1 – 9)		(0 – 7)

South
Villanova		(9 – 1)		(6 – 1)
Richmond		(9 – 1)		(6 – 1)
William & Mary		(9 – 1)		(6 – 1)
Delaware		(6 – 4)		(4 – 3)
James Madison		(5 – 5)		(3 – 4)
Towson			(2 – 8)		(1 – 6)

The Contenders:

The CAA has announced the playoff scenarios which are as follows;

(1) If both Villanova and Richmond win: The two teams are recognized as CAA Football Co-Champions and Villanova earns the conference’s automatic bid by virtue of the league’s first within-the-division tiebreaker – Head-to-head competition.

(2) If both Villanova and William and Mary win: The two teams are recognized as CAA Football Co-Champions and Villanova earns the conference’s automatic bid by virtue of the league’s first within-the-division tiebreaker – Head-to-head competition.

(3) If Richmond wins and Villanova loses: Richmond is awarded the outright CAA Football title and earns the conference’s automatic bid by virtue of its 7-1 league record.

(4) If William and Mary wins and Villanova loses: William and Mary is awarded the outright CAA Football title and earns the conference’s automatic bid by virtue of its 7-1 league record.

All four are sure to make the playoffs.

On the Bubble: None

Contenders No More:

Both Delaware and Massachusetts lost this past weekend ending their potential of being selected by the NCAA committee for an “At Large” birth into the playoffs. Delaware has a game remaining at Villanova and a Blue Hen win can cost the Wildcats a share of the Conference title. The Minutemen finish on the road at Hofstra. The Minutemen are winless on the road in 2009, and it would like to break that streak In Long Island as well as bring their CAA conference record to .500. Also, a win would give coach Kevin Morris a winning season in his first season as head coach.

CAA IN THE GPI

1. Colonial Athletic Association (25.40)
1. Villanova (1.50)
3. Richmond (3.25)
4. William & Mary (3.63)
9. New Hampshire (10.00)
18. James Madison (18.00)
19. Delaware (18.25)
25. Massachusetts (24.13)
29. Maine (27.88)
43. Hofstra (36.25)
63T. Northeastern (48.63)
73. Towson (56.13)
75T. Rhode Island (57.13)

In last week’s column, I misidentified some Special Teams personnel. With the help of their football contacts, I am able to correct those errors.

For Delaware, the Punter/Holder is Jr. Ed Wagner (Barto, Pa.), and the LS/DS is Jr. Zach Reed (Huntington, Pa.). For Richmond, the Long and Short Snapper is Rs, Sr., Jared Decker (Parkersburg, WV). For William & Mary, the Short Snapper is Rs, Sr. C.J. Muse (Lexington, SC).

I want to thank the Appalachian State fans, John Bruschi and Ron Ecker for sharing their thoughts on the Payton Award and how Armanti Edwards (App State QB ) should be considered for same also. Gentlemen, I don’t disagree with you. I’m sure CSN “So South” columnist, Myron Hosea will do a great job extolling the virtues of Edwards and the other SoCon athletes worthy of Payton Award consideration.

I also want to thank Maine fan, Lloyd Waxman for trying to give me a “heads up” on my Maine pick last week with an injury update.. I’m not sure I would have changed my pick, but I do appreciate the thought.

Lastly, Delaware fans Jim Demes, and Douglas Merkel, along with JMU fan, Jonathan Rezadoost for your insightful emails. It was Mr. Rezadoost who coined the phrase “Superman Landers”, or at least so he thinks.

Due to extenuating circumstances, the Game Recaps and reviews will have to be limited this week.

GAME RECAPS

The Hofstra @ Northeastern game was my only miss of the week, and I congratulate the Huskies for winning at home on “Senior Day”. The Huskies honored their 27 outgoing Seniors prior to the game. In a game marred by rain and wind, defense ruled the day, or at least the first half.

Hofstra’s initial score was set up by a Northeastern 12 yard punt from the NU 18 yard line. HU could get no closer than the NU 14 and had to settle for a 31 yard FG by Sr. K, Henry Greco (Franklin Square, NY) with just under 12 minutes to go in the half.

With just under 8 minutes to go in the half, HU received a punt at the HU 1 yard line. HU drove to the NU 5 yard line 16 plays, taking just over 7 minutes off the clock. With 4th & Goal from the 4 yard line, HU went for it and failed. NU Sr. LB, Jason Vega (Brockton, Ma) made one of his game high 12 tackles.

Hofstra head coach, Dave Cohen commented in his teleconference call on Monday that his defense played great in the first half as HU went into the locker room leading 3 – 0 at halftime.

In the first half, Jr., Alex Dulski (Walpole, Ma) started at QB. In the second half, Rs., Fr., Matt Carroll (Kenneth Square, Pa.) entered the game and lead the Huskies on a 10 play, 83 yard touchdown drive that ended with a 24 yard TD pass to Jr. WR, Greg Abelli (Billerica, Ma.) giving the Huskies 7 – 3 advantage.

Much like NU, HU made a change at QB, and had So QB, Steve Probst (North Massapequa, NY) enter the game in the third series for ineffective Sr. QB, Cory Christopher (Miami, Fl). Probst did not fare much better.

In NU’s second possession of the third quarter Jr., RB, John Griffin (Westminster, Ma.) popped out of the NU backfield for a 49 yard TD run. As a team, NU only had 128 net yards rushing. Griffin had 140 net yards rushing on the day. NU now had a 14 – 3 lead. NU would not score again.

In the beginning of the 4th quarter, HU found a spark as Probst lead the team on a 7 play 55 yard drive that lasted just 2:05, scoring a 4 yard TD pass to Fr. WR, Nicholas Talbert (Hartford, Ct). HU went for 2 and was successful closing the score to 14 – 11.

NU took a safety in the final seconds to run out the clock making the final 14 – 13.

Both coaches had nothing but praise for all of their Seniors for sticking with it and helping the younger players come along. Both teams will look to try and win next Saturday to have something to build off of for next year.

In the Rhode Island @ Maine game, Maine was led by third string So, QB, Chris Treister (Cape Elizabeth, Me) to a 41-17 win over the Rams. The Black Bears were led on Defense, by Sr. DE, Jordan Stevens (Temple, Me) who had 2 ½ sacks.

In the JMU @ UMass game, the Dukes rock solid defense helped them to even their record on the year to .500 by posting 17 – 14 win over UMass. JMU used a fumble to set up their first points, a FG by Rs., So, Dixon Wright (Crossnore, NC). JMU’s next points came on 38 yard fumble return for a TD by Sr., CB, Jamaris Sanders (Newport News, Va). The Dukes are now 5 – 5 on the year.

In the Delaware @ Navy game, the Blue Hens were really fired up and ready to take on the Bowl bound Midshipmen. Delaware took a 9 - 7 lead into halftime. UD even extended that lead in the third quarter to 12 – 7, but then the rest of the night belonged the Midshipmen as they would cruise to a 35 – 18 win. The Blue Hens were led by the strong right leg of Sr., K, Jon Striefsky.

The New Hampshire @ William & Mary game was without a doubt the game of the week and the winner wasn’t decided until the final minutes, with the Tribe pulling it out 20 – 17. On Senior Day in Williamsburg, Sr., K, Brian Pate (Fredericksburg, Va) kicked the game winning FG of 37 yards with just under 3 minutes remaining in the game.

In the Richmond@ Georgetown game, 7 different Spiders scored TD’s as Richmond won easily 49 – 10. Sr., QB, Eric Ward (Atlanta, Ga) was 7 of 12 passing with 2 TD’s in his brief outing. While heir apparent, Rs. Fr., QB Eric Laub (Coplay, Pa) saw his first significant action for the Spider and was 9 of 15 passing with 122 yards.

In the Villanova @ Towson game, the CATS came out clawing early en-route to a 49 – 7 win. One of the games hilites, was when Sr. QB, Antwon Young (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl) was simply trying to throw a “Bubble Screen” to his right, when the CB jumped the route, leaving the middle wide open. Young pulled the ball down, and scampered 82 yards untouched into the end-zone. The Cats were led on defense by Jr. LB, Terry Thomas (Plainsboro, NJ) with 10 tackles and 2 QB hurries, Sr., SLB, Osayi Osunde (Bloomsburg, Pa.) with 7 tackles, and Sr. DE, Tim Kukucka (Wall, NJ) 7 tackles, 1 sack.

GAME PREVIEWS

Last week I was 6 – 1, which brought me to a 59 – 18 record on the year (76.6 accuracy percentage).

#63 Northeastern (2 – 8, 2 – 5) @ #75 Rhode Island (1 – 9, 0 – 7) @ 12:30
TV: None
Series: Rhode Island leads 29 – 25 – 2
The Sun will shine bright on this last day for many Seniors. Both teams are peaking as the night falls on their season. Scoring will be in abundance, as fans and players from both sides will be wrapped in excitement to see which team will prevail as the clock ticks down towards zero. In the end, the home town Rams will walk off the field winners, notching their first CAA victory of the season 31 – 28.
Upset Meter [—-8-].

#25 Massachusetts (5 – 5, 3 – 4) @ #43 Hofstra (4 – 6, 2 – 5) @ 1:00
TV: Verizon FIOS1
Series: Tied 6 – 6
It is Senior Day on Long Island, both the Pride and the Minutemen will end their season at Shuart Stadium on a beautiful Fall afternoon. The desire to win will be the deciding factor in the outcome of this game. UMass has many Seniors that will play their last football game. The Pride will be playing for just that, PRIDE. One thing in the Prides favor is the fact that UMass has lost all of their road games. A streak the Pride would like to extend by one more game. The Minutemen will play to form and come out flat and fall 28 – 21.
Upset Meter [——8-].

#73 Towson (2 – 8, 1 – 6) @ #18 James Madison (5 – 5, 3 -4) @ 3:00
TV: None
Series: JMU leads 15 – 5 – 1
The Tigers will be eyeing the clock, while the Dukes will be eyeing the teams going into the playoffs. Both teams will be eying the future as their season will end Saturday night. The Dukes will runaway with the win, but like when a tree falls in the jungle, will anyone notice. Dukes 28 Tigers 14.
Upset Meter [0—].

#29 Maine (5 – 5, 4 – 3) @ #9 New Hampshire (8 – 2, 5 – 2) @ 12:00
TV: The Comcast Network – Philadelphia, New England, Mid-Atlantic Plus
Series: UNH leads 45 – 43 – 8
UNH can afford to rest some players as a loss will not affect their playoff chances, and a win really won’t have any effect on who they will play. Having lost the previous week to the Tribe, the Cats will look to erase that taste from their mouths at the expense of the Black Bears. Young Chris Triester of the Black Bears will get a much stiffer test this weekend. Wildcats 21 Black Bears 13.
Upset Meter [–3—].

#4 William & Mary (9 – 1, 6 – 1) @ #3 Richmond (9 – 1, 6 – 1) @ 12:00
TV: The Comcast Network – Mid-Atlantic, Cox 11
Series: William & Mary leads 59 – 54 – 5
The battle for the “Capital Cup” is how this game is being billed. The winner gets a share of the CAA and at least two home games for the playoffs. This is more than just a game, southern Virginia bragging rights for the year. The Spiders will not accept losing two straight at home. They’re not the defending champs for no reason. The Spiders will test the Tribe defense early and often. The Tribe will counter with their D-Line, and attempt to cause Spider turnovers. In the end, the home team will prevail 21 – 20 (déjà vu?).
Upset Meter [—-9].

#19 Delaware (6 – 4, 4 – 3) @ #1 Villanova (9 – 1, 6 – 1) @ 3:30
TV: The Comcast Network Sporstnet – New England.
Series: Nova leads 21 – 20 – 1
Nova’s playing to get the #1 playoff seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Blue Hens are playing for Pride. The Wildcats have a 3 game win streak going over the Hens. This Senior class is looking at the probability of never having beaten the Wildcats. This rivalry game is billed as the “Battle of the Blue”. At the end of the day, it will be the Hens who are blue as the victorious Wildcats will again meet in the center of the field to display the trophy given to the winner. Wildcats 28 BlueHens 16.
Upset Meter [—4—]

You can also check each schools website for information on how to watch their games online.

God Bless all the Senior players in their final games this weekend, and I wish you well in your future endeavors.

As always, keep the emails coming to CAATODAY@YAHOO.COM, and I’ll get back to them as soon as I can.

CAATODAY signing off.