Noontime’s Way Too Early D-III Football Conference Predictions

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Frank Stola and the Williams College football team will be one of the favorites in the NESCAC this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Our WAY too early New England D-III football preseason coverage rolls on with some predictions on who we think will win their respective conference this season.

Yes, we know these are VERY early predictions and they will certainly change once we get closer to kick-off, but for now, enjoy some way too early thoughts (from your friends at Noontime Sports) on who we think will celebrate a conference championship in November.



Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Endicott College or Western New England
  • Teams to Watch: Husson UniversityNichols College, and Salve Regina University
  • Quick Synopsis: Yes, we know the Gulls and Golden Bears will be the teams to watch this fall, but don’t overlook Husson, Nichols, and Salve Regina as these three teams that will certainly challenge Endicott and Western New England for the CCC crown. Western New England has won the conference the last three years while Endicott has come close the past two seasons to snatching the title from its rival.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

  • Predicted Winner: Dean College
  • Teams to Watch: Maritime (N.Y.) 
  • Quick Synopsis: With a 4-1 conference mark, the Bulldogs were able to win their first-ever ECFC title last fall, so expect that momentum to continue one year later. Maritime (N.Y.) will also be a team to watch this season, while the other ECFC teams should provide challenges to both the Bulldogs and Privateers.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Framingham State or UMass Dartmouth 
  • Teams to Watch: Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut 
  • Quick Synopsis: The Rams of Framingham State have enjoyed a great deal of success the past few years, but could this be the year of the Corsairs? With quarterback Stephen Gacioch leading the UMass Dartmouth offense this fall, expect the Corsairs to challenge the Rams for the top spot in the MASCAC.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

  • Predicted Winner(s): Wesleyan University or Williams College
  • Teams to Watch: Middlebury CollegeTrinity College, and Tufts University
  • Quick Synopsis: As of now it seems as if this conference could be a two-team or five-team race for the NESCAC crown. Williams will welcome back an impressive senior class that should help them overcome the challenges to secure their first outright title since 2008. Keep your eyes on Trinity and Tufts – these two teams could play spoiler – and, of course, don’t overlook the Cardinals of Wesleyan, who will return some impressive talent on both sides of the ball.

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

  • Predicted Winner: MIT
  • Teams to Watch: Coast Guard Academy, Merchant Marine Academy, and Springfield College  
  • Quick Synopsis: Coach Brian Bubna and the Engineers have won back-to-back NEWMAC championships so it is hard to pick against MIT, which will once again be one of a few teams to watch in this conference. The Bears of Coast Guard Academy could also be a team that takes that next step, but don’t overlook Merchant Marine and Springfield College. Also, let’s not count out WPI, which did graduate a big senior class, but will carry over some momentum from its 10 win season.

The Way Too Early New England D3 Football Top 20 Poll (June 2, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com 

Sure, college football is not happening today or tomorrow, but a new season appears to be on the horizon.

So, like we did last year, it is time to unveil our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll – we will have a preseason poll once we get closer to the 2020 season.

Program Note: Our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 was based on our final poll from the 2019 season, as well as statistics. 


The 2019 Way Too Early New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll

The Final 2019 New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll 


Noontime Sports Way Too Early New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll 

1. Williams College 7-2, 7-2 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 11

2. Endicott College

9-2, 6-1 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 3

3. UMass Dartmouth

7-3, 5-3 MASCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 9

4. Wesleyan University

8-1, 8-1 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 8

5. Middlebury College

9-0, 9-0 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 4

6. Salve Regina University

4-6, 3-4 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 20

7. Trinity College 

5-4, 5-4 NESCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 13
8. Western New England 9-2, 7-0 CCC 2019 Final Spot: No. 1
9. Framingham State  8-3, 8-0 MASCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 5

10. MIT 

7-3, 6-1 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 6

11. Springfield College

6-4, 5-2 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 7

12. Western Connecticut

8-3, 6-2 MASCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 10

13. Tufts University

4-5, 4-5 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: NR

14. Nichols College 6-4, 4-3 CCC 2019 Final Spot: No. 14
15. WPI 10-1, 6-1 NEWMAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 2
16. Amherst College  4-5, 4-5 NESCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 15
17. Bridgewater State 6-4, 6-2 MASCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 12
18. Husson University 4-6, 4-3 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 17

19. Coast Guard Academy

5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 18

20. Univ. of New Eng.

4-6, 2-5 CCC

2019 Final Spot: NR

On The Rise: Anna Maria College and Dean College

Noontime’s Top 10 New England College Football Rivalries

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By NoontimeSports.com 

There is nothing better than a rivalry, especially on the gridiron. And we have quite a few here in New England, but which one is the best?

Well, we think this list features the best rivalries – 10 to be exact – but if you feel we missed a game (or two), let us know by leaving a comment below. All ideas are welcome!

1. Harvard University vs. Yale University: Hands down, this is the best New England college football rivalry. And while some may think Amherst-Williams belongs in this spot, Harvard-Yale is just as important as The Biggest Little Game in America. The Bulldogs needed two extra sessions this past year to edge the Crimson, 50-43, to claim the 136th edition of The Game. Harvard captured the 2018 meeting, which was played at Fenway Park.

2. Amherst College vs. Williams College: As mentioned above, Harvard-Yale, Amherst-Williams are the two of the best rivalries in New England, but there is nothing better than being in the stands in Amherst or Williamstown in early November to watch this game. The Ephs won their last meeting against the Mammoths by a score of 31-9 and finished their 2019 campaign with their best record under head coach Mark Raymond.

3. Bentley University vs. Stonehill College: The 35th meeting between these two programs was an instant classic. Taking place last October, Falcons won the game on a last-second 32-yard field goal by Grant Buchanan. The win was the Falcons’ second-straight against the Skyhawks, as well as their first against their rival in Easton, Massachusetts since 2011.

4. Maine vs. New Hampshire: The Black Bears may have won the first-ever meeting between these two programs, but the Wildcats have been rather successful since that initial games, especially these past few years. New Hampshire beat Maine twice in the last three seasons, including last fall in their season finale. The winner of each matchup claims the Brice-Cowell Musket, which is named after the former head coaches of the two programs.

5. The Colby-Bates-Bowdoin Trophy (CBB): Since 1892, Bates CollegeBowdoin College, and Colby College have been playing football against each other. And believe it or not, but Bowdoin and Colby have competed against each other 131 times with the Mules winning their most recent meeting with the Polar Bears last November. The win provided Colby with its second-straight CBB title after Bates claimed the crown from 2014-2017. Bowdoin last won the trophy in 2010 when they beat Colby in the final game of the season by a score of 26-21.

6. Coast Guard Academy vs. Norwich University: “The Little Army-Navy Game” is always a must-see, must-watch affair in September, October, or November. The two teams, who entered their previous meeting with identical 2-0 records, first met in 1929. The winner claims “The Mug,” which was donated by The Day with the first award being presented at the conclusion of the third meeting in 1931. Coast Guard currently leads the all-time series, but the Cadets won the most recent contest last September, thanks to an impressive second-half comeback.

7. Dartmouth College vs. New Hampshire: This may not be the most well-known rivalry to current football fans (and players), but the Big Green and Wildcats have met quite a few times over the past few decades. In fact, the first-ever meeting between Dartmouth and New Hampshire occurred in 1901 with the Green and White claiming a 51-0 victory. The two teams last met in 2016 but will meet again in 2021.

8. MIT-WPI: Sure, WPI’s longstanding rivalry may be RPI, but from an in-state (or in-region) opponent, it has to be MIT, right? The Engineers of Cambridge won the first six meetings – both MIT and WPI initially met in 1888 – but since 2001, the Engineers of Worcester have won six of seven contests. The two teams began playing against each other every year since 2015. Last fall, MIT snapped WPI’s six-game winning streak by securing a hard-fought win in double-overtime. The victory was MIT’s first against WPI since 1900.

9. Endicott College vs. Western New England: This always seems to be a must-see, must-follow contest, no matter the records. But for the past few years, this has been the de-facto conference championship game. The Golden Bears have won two of the last three meetings while Endicott captured the 2018 meeting. The win over WNE in 2018 provided Endicott with its sixth victory at home against its rival while snapping the Golden Bears’ 25-game conference winning streak.

10. Southern Connecticut vs. University of New Haven: The Elm City Trophy has resided in New Haven these past few seasons, but the Owls did make things interesting last October. The Chargers have won 24 of the 31 meetings in this series and will attempt to continue its recent momentum against the Owls when they visit West Haven, Connecticut later this year.

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Keith Brown (Endicott College)

Senior Guard Keith Brown (24)

(PHOTO COURTESY: David Le ’10/Endicott College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

For the past four years, Keith Brown has been a player to watch on the Endicott College men’s basketball team.

The Pelham, New Hampshire native credits the program’s “competitive atmosphere” for making him a better player. “We all wanted to push each other to get better through practices, pick-up games, and (various) weight lifting sessions,” he said when asked about what he enjoyed most about competing for the Endicott men’s basketball program.

And that assistance from both current and past teammates allowed Brown to flourish under the direction of coach Kevin Bettencourt and conclude his career as the first-ever men’s basketball player to net 2,000 points.

Brown, who was named to the D3hoops.com All-Northeast Region Third Team, and NABC All-Northeast Region second team last month, capped an impressive four-year run by scoring 2,046 points in 103 games to go with 540 rebounds, 207 assists, and 111 steals. He also tallied 52 blocks, including 24 this past winter, while leading the Gulls to a 19-8 overall record.

We recently spoke with Brown about his final season with the Gulls, as well as his future plans beyond graduation later this spring.


What will you remember most about your senior year? 

The friendships my teammates and I established. We are very close friends and did everything together, both on and off the court.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you will remember most? Why these particular games? 

There are three games I will always remember from this past season. The first one is when we beat Nichols College on our home court. It was a (great game) with a packed crowd. It was also a great (college basketball) atmosphere.

The second game is when we traveled to the University of New England. I broke the all-time scoring record during the game while Matt McDevitt netted his 1,000th point.

And the third contest was our ‘Senior Day’ against Curry College. Not only was I able to share the court with my fellow seniors and roommates for the past four years, but I also became the first student-athlete in program history to score 2,000 points.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching? 

I haven’t officially decided on what I am going to do after I graduate. I definitely want to remain involved with basketball in some capacity, but I do have an interest in coaching down the road.

What interested you in pursuing a degree in business management? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

It’s a broad degree, in my opinion, which will allow me to do many things. I have been fortunate to gain some real-life experience with four internships, but my plan is to land a job within the sports world.

I am a determined person and believe that I will find the right job that is best for me (after graduation).

Noontime’s Senior Salute: Kaleigh Putnam (Endicott Women’s Basketball)

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Kaleigh Putnam averaged 15.2 points and 3.4 rebounds per game this past winter for the Endicott College women’s basketball team. (PHOTO COURTESY: David Le ’10/Endicott College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation 

Beginning today and over the next few weeks, Noontime Sports is going to be highlighting various senior student-athletes we have covered this school year, beginning with Endicott College‘s Kaleigh Putnam, who was named to our All-Noontime New England D-III Basketball Third Team and D3Hoops.com’s All-Northeast Region Fourth Team.

Putnam, who is a sports management major, guided the Gulls to their first-ever Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) title in February, along with their initial NCAA Tournament victory over the University of Scranton.

A two-time all-conference honoree, including a first-teamer this past winter, Putnam concluded her time with the Gulls by netting 971 points to go with 354 rebounds, 248 assists, and 101 steals.

Earlier this month, we caught up with Putnam to discuss her final season, but also her future plans after graduation next month.


What will you remember most about your senior year?

I will always remember winning the CCC championship. All of our hard work really paid off and I couldn’t be prouder of my teammates for what we accomplished.

Being able to spend every day with my best friends and playing the sport I love is something that I will cherish forever. Championship day was just an example of what our program and our team were capable of accomplishing this past winter. Also, being able to say that we were the first Endicott women’s basketball team to win the championship is very, very special to me.

Looking back on the 2019-20 season, what game (or games) will you will remember most? Why these particular games?

First, our championship game (against UNE) will be something that I will remember most. That day was so special and historic. Everyone on the team was well-prepared and came out ready to play. It was really special for everyone to step up and play as well as they did.

The other game was our team’s first-round NCAA Tournament contest against Scranton. Scranton was ranked twelfth in the nation (at the time) and no one in the gym thought we were going to win except us. It was probably one of the biggest crowds that we played in front of (this past year) and one of the most fun games that we played in, as well. We were all playing our best basketball (heading into the game) and everything that we had worked for (throughout the season) had come full circle on that particular evening. We proved (to both) ourselves and others that we can compete on a national level.

What have you enjoyed most about competing for the Endicott women’s basketball team (and program) these past four years?

Engaging with the Endicott community. Everyone at Endicott, from the students to the athletic department and faculty, were all very supportive throughout my career. Everyone was invested in the success of the program and I think that really showed. Without their support, we would not have been as successful as we were this past season.

Making the connections with my teammates and coaches and being able to share the experience of playing basketball with them for four years is something that I am going to cherish forever.

Once you officially graduate later this spring, do you plan to stay involved with the sport in some capacity? Any interest in coaching?

I do plan to stay involved in sports, but not just basketball. I could see myself coaching in the future – I have been coaching with an AAU program for the past few years so I will probably continue with that. I could definitely see myself coaching at the college level at some point when the opportunity presents itself.

What interested you in pursuing a degree in Sports Management? What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

The passion and the environment that sport brings out in people is something that I want to be around for the rest of my life. It is what drew me to pursue a degree in sport management.

As for my post-graduation plans, I will continue my education at Springfield College next semester to pursue a master’s degree in Athletic Administration. And after my time at Springfield, I would like to pursue a career within college athletics.