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Is this the season for URI Rocco’s breakthrough?
This could finally be Rocco’s season
This may be the season a Danny Rocco-coached team reaches the FCS playoffs after two unusual exclusions. Twenty-four teams, up from 20, will make the 2013 FCS field, including three additional at-large qualifiers.
Rocco’s Richmond team last year went 8-3, 6-2 CAA Football, and was the league’s first team since 1996 with those records to be excluded from the playoffs.
That was outdone in 2008 when Rocco’s Liberty team went 10-2, won the Big South Conference title with a 5-0 mark, and was ranked 14th in the final FCS regular-season poll.
The Flames weren’t selected for the playoffs. The Big South didn’t have an automatic bid at the time.
Rocco coached at Liberty for six years and experienced consistent success (47-20, 26-5 Big South), but didn’t make the FCS playoffs.
The Spiders return 17 starters from last season, Rocco’s first at UR, and are viewed as CAA Football championship contenders along with Towson, Villanova and newcomer Stony Brook. CAA Football sent four or five teams to the playoffs from 2007-2011, but only three last season.
For FCS stadiums, size may not matter
For those who believe the capacity of Robins Stadium (8,700) holds the Spiders back in terms of FCS achievement, it’s instructive to note that New Hampshire has advanced to the FCS playoffs in nine consecutive seasons.
New Hampshire’s Cowell Stadium, which is 70 years old, seats 6,500.