New England Small College Football Conference Race Watch (Week 10)

Joel Nicholas and the Williams College football team currently sit atop the NESCAC with a 7-0 record. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By Matt Noonan

With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, we head into the tenth week with some exciting conference races to watch in both NCAA Division II and Division III.

As usual, let’s start in Division II and then run through the five Division III conference races.


Northeast-10 Conference (NE10)

The Leaders: Bentley University (8-0, 6-0) and University of New Haven (7-1, 6-0)

Matchup to watch this weekend:

  • Bentley at New Haven (Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: A few weeks ago, I thought this would be the matchup that would determine the conference winner. And indeed, it is.

The Falcons and Chargers enter the tenth week of the 2021 college football season with a great deal of momentum – they both secured spots on the NCAA Division II Super Region One Rankings with Bentley securing the top spot while New Haven checked in sixth.

Saturday’s winner will most likely represent the NE10 in the national postseason later this month, pending they don’t win their final contest next weekend.


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC)

The Leader(s): Endicott College (7-2, 4-1) and Salve Regina University (8-1, 4-1)

In the Hunt: Husson University (6-2, 3-1) and Western New England (5-3, 3-1)

Matchups to watch this weekend:

  • Salve Regina at Husson (Saturday, November 6 at 12 p.m.)
  • Western New England at University of New England (Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: The Seahawks will wrap up their regular-season slate with a visit to Maine on Saturday with hopes of returning to Newport, Rhode Island with their ninth victory. A win for Salve Regina would eliminate Husson from the conference championship hunt, but the same could be said for the Eagles if they are able to outlast the Seahawks as it seems unlikely that this year’s league champion will have two conference setbacks on their resume.

Western New England will also be in Maine on Saturday to face a Nor’easters squad that almost edged Endicott last weekend. UNE can play spoiler by beating the Golden Bears, but most likely, Western New England will prevail.

Endicott is idle this weekend but will return to the gridiron next week when they visit Nichols College.   


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference

The Leader(s): Alfred State (4-4, 3-1), Anna Maria College (5-2, 3-1), Castleton University (5-3, 3-1 ECFC), and Gallaudet University (5-1, 3-1)

Matchups to watch this weekend:

  • Castleton at Alfred State (Saturday, November 6 at 12 p.m.)
  • Gallaudet at Anna Maria (Saturday, November 6 at 12 p.m.)

Synopsis: This is a “playoff” week with all four contenders competing against each other. And when it concludes, we may have a better gauge of who will represent the conference in the postseason.

For a few weeks, it appeared as if Anna Maria was going to win the league, but now, it could be Castleton, which needs to win its final two contests, as well as get some help from other ECFC members. Anna Maria needs help, along with Alfred State and Gallaudet.

Speaking of Gallaudet, the Bison have been a team to watch this fall, too – can they bounce back from a three-point setback last month to Alfred State this week? I believe they can, but they are facing an Anna Maria squad that is eager to return to the win column after losing to Castleton one week ago.

Don’t rule out Alfred State as they could finish the season on a four-game winning streak to secure their first-ever conference crown. Again, they will need some help to win the league, but I could see them winning the ECFC. Just a hunch.

All in all, it should be an exciting final two weeks of the ECFC football season.  


Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

The Leader: Framingham State (6-2, 6-0)

In the Hunt: Bridgewater State (5-3, 5-1)

Matchup to watch this weekend:

  • Bridgewater State at Framingham State (Saturday, November 6 at 12 p.m.)

Synopsis: Framingham State inched closer to winning the conference crown last week with a 23-14 win against Massachusetts Maritime Academy. But as coach Tom Kelley and the Rams know, for them to win the conference, they must beat a Bridgewater State team that was stunned last weekend by UMass Dartmouth.

Bridgewater State can still win the conference, but they need to win their final two contests, including this Saturday’s tilt in Framingham. Like the Rams, they have beaten some of the league’s top teams, including Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Plymouth State, and Western Connecticut. Framingham State, however, topped UMass Dartmouth in their third game of the season.

If the Rams lose on Saturday, then they will need to beat Worcester State next weekend and hope the Bears get tripped up by the Buccaneers in the Cranberry Bowl.

All in all, Saturday’s contest has the makings of an instant classic – can Bridgewater State bounce back and keep their title hopes alive or will Framingham State’s current momentum carry them to their seventh straight victory?


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

The Leader: Williams College (7-0, 7-0)

In the Hunt: Amherst College (5-2, 5-2), Trinity College (6-1, 6-1), and Wesleyan University (6-1, 6-1)

Matchups to watch this weekend:

  • Wesleyan at Williams (Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m.)
  • Amherst at Trinity (Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: Following an impressive win last weekend against Trinity, Williams heads into its final two contests with a great deal of momentum, but they will certainly be challenged by Amherst and Wesleyan, who are eager to hand their Little Three rival a loss.

Williams will enter this week’s meeting with the Cardinals as the favorite, but Wesleyan is a resilient squad that seems eager to bounce back from a heartbreaking defeat this past weekend against Amherst in overtime.

And speaking of the Mammoths, they need to win, both this week and next week, to have a shot at sharing the conference crown. Amherst has not beaten Trinity since November 4, 2017, so let’s see if they score an important win this weekend against a squad that will be ready to return to the win column.   


New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)

The Leader: Springfield College (5-3, 4-0)

In the Hunt: Catholic University (5-3, 3-1) and United States Merchant Marine Academy (7-1, 4-1)

Matchups to watch this weekend:

  • Norwich University at Catholic (Saturday, November 6 at 12 p.m.)
  • Springfield at MIT (Saturday, November 6 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: With a 28-23 victory last Saturday, Springfield has put itself in a position to win the conference for the first time since 2017. But for Springfield to win the NEWMAC, they must beat their two remaining opponents: Catholic and MIT.

After dropping a pair of league contests, the Engineers of MIT have roared back, winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich, so don’t expect the Cambridge football team to lay down to Springfield. But it’s hard to see MIT or Catholic derailing Springfield, which has not lost a game since September.

Despite losing to Springfield last weekend, the Mariners of Merchant Marine Academy are still in contention to win the league, but they need the Pride to lose either this week or next week. Additionally, Catholic is in the mix but needs to beat Norwich and Springfield and have Coast Guard beat Merchant Marine next week.

All in all, it should be an exciting final two weeks of NEWMAC football.

 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.