D3 Football: Conference Race Watch (Week Eight)
By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports
We’re just two days away from kicking off the eighth week of the 2019 New England D-III football season – crazy to think we only have four more weeks remaining, right?
As we inch closer to the end of the regular season, we’ll be posting a weekly ‘Conference Race Watch’ for all five New England conference, along with some analysis (and input) on what teams are still alive to win their respective league title.
As usual, you can follow our New England D-III Football coverage, as well as other regional updates (and news) at @Noontime_FB on Twitter.
Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)
Current Leaders: Endicott College and Western New England
In The Hunt: Husson University and Nichols College
Analysis: As of now, it appears as if next Saturday’s (Nov. 2nd) meeting between Endicott and Western New England could decide this conference’s outright champion, but an Endicott loss this weekend to Husson or a Western New England setback to Curry College would make the final three weeks very interesting.
Endicott’s next four opponents will certainly provide them with challenges – games against Husson, Western New England and Nichols are must-wins, but the same could be said for the University of New England, too, which scored its first-ever win over the Eagles last Saturday.
If Husson and Nichols both lose this weekend then their chances of winning the CCC will would become rather slim. They would both need to win their final three games and hope one of their conference foes could trip-up Endicott and Western New England.
We’ll know a little bit more after Saturday’s slate concludes as to which teams will remain in the mix to win the CCC.
Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)
Current Leaders: Gallaudet University and Dean College
In The Hunt: Anna Maria College and SUNY-Maritime
Analysis: Saturday’s match-up between Dean and Gallaudet should help us identify a potential league champion. Dean has scored two impressive conference wins the past two weeks, beating SUNY-Maritime at home before rolling past the AMCATs of Anna Maria on the road last Saturday. This is their final road contest of the season – they have only won one game away from campus this season, while Gallaudet has captured just one home victory.
Gallaudet played its best game of the season last weekend when they beat Alfred State on their home turf – they looked like a much different team than the one that needed an extra session (and extra point) to defeat Castleton University on the road.
A win for either Dean or Gallaudet most likely puts them in the driver’s seat heading into the final two weeks of conference play.
SUNY-Maritime and Anna Maria are both alive for the conference crown but need to win their final three remaining contests in order to have a chance to secure a spot in the upcoming NCAA Tournament. The Privateers and AMCATs both lost to Dean College but can keep pace with the Bulldogs and Bison by scoring wins this weekend.
Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)
Current Leaders: Framingham State and Western Connecticut
In The Hunt: Bridgewater State and Massachusetts Maritime Academy
Analysis: Saturday’s matchup between Framingham State and Western Connecticut is a must-win for both squads who have yet to drop a single conference game this fall. The winner will certainly have the inside track to the conference crown, while a loss would not diminish the chance to share the league crown.
Framingham State’s defense was very impressive last week against Plymouth State while the offense seems to be finding its groove at the right time. Western Connecticut has looked rather impressive these past few weeks but did struggle against Bridgewater State. The Colonials beat the Bears back in week three, but Bridgewater State has rebounded quite nicely since the one-score setback, winning four-straight league contests, including a 56-20 win this past Saturday against UMass Dartmouth.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy is still very much alive despite losing to Western Connecticut a few weeks ago. Like the Bears of Bridgewater State, who are idle this weekend, the Buccaneers need to win out and hope Framingham State and Western Connecticut get tripped-up down the stretch.
New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)
Current Leader: Middlebury College
In The Hunt: Amherst College, Trinity College, Wesleyan University, and Williams College
Analysis: Coach Bob Ritter‘s squad has scored some impressive (and dramatic) wins this fall but could endure some challenges in the final three weeks, especially against Hamilton College (week 10) and Tufts University (week 11). Middlebury played its best game of the 2019 season last Saturday when they beat Wesleyan to secure their sixth-straight win, as well as four victories against four of the top five teams in the NESCAC.
Wesleyan and Williams both lost to Middlebury, but need to win out and hope the Panthers get tripped up down the stretch. Both teams will face each other next weekend in what should be an exciting matchup.
Amherst and Trinity are also in play to share the conference crown, too, but need to win out and hope Middlebury loses one of its final three contests. Additionally, they both need to beat Wesleyan and Williams, too, which won’t be an easy task.
New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)
Current Leader: WPI
In The Hunt: Merchant Marine, Springfield College, and MIT
Analysis: The Engineers remain the top team in the NEWMAC thanks to their perfect mark. But that perfect record will be tested these next four weeks, beginning with Saturday’s matchup with Merchant Marine. The Mariners suffered their first conference loss to Springfield College last Saturday – the Engineers beat the Pride last month – so this is somewhat of a must-win for Merchant Marine. If WPI does get tripped-up by Merchant Marine, they still remain the team to beat over the final few weeks.
After starting their season 1-3, Springfield has rebounded with three-straight wins, including two hard-fought victories against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University. Their win last Saturday against Merchant Marine was by far their most impressive win of the 2019 season. Springfield hosts Catholic University this weekend before enjoying a bye week ahead of their final two contests of the season. Springfield is still very much alive despite losing to WPI but needs to win its final three contests in order to have a chance to share the conference title.
Finally, last year’s NEWMAC champions – that would be MIT – are still in the mix to capture their second-straight title, but also needs to win its final four contests. Upcoming games against Coast Guard, Norwich, Springfield, and WPI won’t be easy, but if coach Brian Bubna‘s squad can pull out a win this Saturday in New London, Connecticut against the Bears it would provide the Engineers of Cambridge with a great deal of momentum heading into their final three contests.