Noontime’s ‘What If’ D3 Football Conference Champion Predictions

Bobby Maimaron and the Williams College football team would have been one of our teams to watch this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Kris Dufour/Williams College)

By Matt Noonan

Like many of our fans and friends, I miss New England D-III football. But as an optimist, I believe we’ll see our favorite teams and student-athletes back on the gridiron at this time next year vying for conference crowns, along with at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

And speaking of conference crowns – and yes, the national postseason, too – I thought it would be fun to produce a special Noontime’s ‘What If‘ post on which teams I believe would have won their respective conference this fall.

As expected, these predictions were not easy as there are a slew of teams and programs capable of winning their respective conference, but here are my predictions. And as usual, you can share your thoughts with me on social media, as well as send a note to MattNoonan@noontimesports.com.

Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC): Western New England

For the past few seasons, the Golden Bears have been the team to watch and beat in this conference. And once again, Western New England would be the squad to watch in the CCC this fall. They would most likely enter their final game of the regular season with two important wins against Endicott College and Salve Regina University. And like most teams highlighted in this post, the 2020 Golden Bears would look a bit different than previous years, especially on offense as they would have a new quarterback, but their defense would be be a unit to watch – it would be led by linebacker Erich Keutmann, who was named a D3Football.com Preseason All-America second-teamer in September.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Dean College

The Bulldogs captured their first-ever conference crown last season, thanks to quarterback Terrell Watts, who was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year, along with wide receiver Errol Breaux and safety Tyzohn Poole. Of course, there would be other student-athletes to watch as the season progressed, but at this point of the 2020 season, the Bulldogs would have claimed some important wins against Castleton University and SUNY Maritime. They would have also beaten a new D-III football team: Keystone College.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State University

Like Western New England, it is hard to pick against the Rams, which would be starting a new chapter in its program history with first-year coach Aynsley Rosenbaum, who spent the past 12 seasons overseeing the Framingham State offense. But like prior years, this would be the team to watch in the MASCAC. Sure, they would look a bit different on offense without quarterback Adam Wojenski, who graduated last spring, but the Rams would welcome back some key pieces from that unit, including halfback Devaun Ford, who was named the 2019 MASCAC Rookie of the Year. Framingham State would be challenged for the top spot by Bridgewater State, UMass Dartmouth, and Western Connecticut.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Williams College

The Ephs of Williams College suffered just two setbacks last season, including an opening day loss to Middlebury College, which would be a game circled on their calendar this season. Williams would somehow find a way to beat the Panthers at home, along with Wesleyan University, which tripped up the Ephs prior to their season-ending win over Amherst College last November. But for the Ephs to win the NESCAC, they would not only need to beat Amherst, Middlebury, and Wesleyan, but also Trinity College and Tufts University. Additionally, let’s not overlook Colby College and Hamilton College, which would challenge the Purple and Yellow, but in the end, quarterback Bobby Maimaron, along with the rest of the Ephs would make just a few more plays in all nine contests to secure the NESCAC title.

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

Sure, MIT maybe the favorite after winning the NEWMAC crown the past two years, but it would be hard to overlook Springfield College, which would be led by halfback Hunter Belzo and linebacker AJ Smith. The Pride, which finished with six wins last year, would win at least seven, maybe eight games this season, but their most important victory would occur during the final weekend of the regular season against the Engineers in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

MIT’s Raman Joins The Memphis Grizzlies As An Assistant Coach

Sonia Raman, who has coached the MIT women’s basketball team for 12 seasons, was named an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies. (PHOTO COURTESY: MIT Athletics/DSPics.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

Sonia Raman, who has guided the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) women’s basketball team for the past 12 seasons, was named an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies earlier today. 

Raman replaces Niele Ivey, who was recently named the head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team back in April. 

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Memphis Grizzlies coaching staff,” Raman said, via today’s release, which can be found on the team’s website. “I can’t wait to get to Memphis and get started with Taylor (Jennings), his staff, and the team’s emerging young core.”

Added Jennings, “We are beyond excited to welcome Sonia to the Memphis Grizzlies. She has a high basketball IQ and a tremendous ability to teach the game, as well as a strong passion for the game. She is going to be a great addition to our current coaching staff.” 

Memphis concluded its 2019-20 campaign with 34 wins and 39 losses – they fell short of advancing to the opening round of the National Basketball Association‘s (NBA) restarted playoffs in Orlando, Florida by losing to the Portland Trailblazers in a one-game playoff. Portland, which secured the eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, saw its championship hopes dashed by the Los Angeles Lakers (LA beat Portland in five contests). 

At MIT, Raman guided the Engineers to a pair of New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Championships, along with two appearances in the NCAA D-III Tournament. Raman is the winningest coach in program history and led the Engineers to 91 victories in the last five years. 

Prior to being named the head coach of the MIT women’s basketball program, Raman spent time as an assistant at alma mater Tufts University and Wellesley College

“I have been proud to call MIT my home for the last 12 years,” said Raman, via today’s announcement from MIT

Per Multiple Reports, Ivy League Will Not Play Fall Sports

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The Ivy League will announce plans for the fall sports season on Wednesday, July 8. (PHOTO COURTESY: IvyLeague.com)

By Matt Noonan

No official announcement has been made as of late this afternoon, but according to various reports, it appears as if the Ivy League will not being playing fall sports this year.

In addition to no fall sports, Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel is reporting that none of the Ancient Eight winter sports teams can begin their respective season until after January 1, 2021. The decision on winter sports is what a few other local schools have announced, including Bowdoin College and MIT.

With news of no fall sports being played later this year, it is likely that Ivy League football fans won’t see their favorite teams on the gridiron until next September. In addition to football, it is most likely that other fall sports such as field hockey, soccer, and volleyball won’t play games until the 2021-22 school year.

The Ivy League was the first NCAA D-I conference to cancel its basketball tournaments in March due to the coronavirus. A few days later, the Ivy League canceled the remainder of its spring sports season.

Daily Noontime: Wednesday, July 8, 2020

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By Matt Noonan 

Welcome to Wednesday, everyone!

As usual, we hope everyone is having a great week and looking forward to the weekend, which is two days away – yay!

Let’s kick off a brand new day with the ‘Daily Noontime’ – have an awesome day, everyone!


Noontime’s Headlines for Wednesday, July 8, 2020

  • Baseball games have begun in our home state of Massachusetts, including contests played last night by the Massachusetts Independent Baseball League (MIBL).

    If you attended last night’s game in Dedham then you witnessed an exciting 6-5 victory by Braintree.

  • David Price, who helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in 2018, elected to sit out the upcoming baseball season. And according to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, he “was right.”

    I certainly agree with Price – do you really want to play baseball during a pandemic, especially professional baseball? I am fine with local baseball being played safely, but I just don’t know how Major League Baseball (MLB) is going to play games this summer.

    Again, this just my two-cents (above!).

  • We learned yesterday that MIT will not play fall sports this year, including football. MIT will welcome back rising seniors, along with some other students, but more on who can return will be announced later this month.

    The Engineers, who compete in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), join other New England schools that have elected to not field varsity or club sports teams this fall.

  • In addition to MIT, the Centennial Conference (CC) announced yesterday that their schools will not play fall sports this year.

Thanks for stopping by and your amazing support these past few weeks and months! We know today’s Daily Noontime is a bit shorter than normal, but that is because we are anticipating some more updates on fall sports to be announced later this morning and afternoon.

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.