Noontime’s Top 10 New England College Football Rivalries

NSFBRivalries2020

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.

What Would Be The Best New England FCS, D-II & D-III Football Matchups?

Football Line Web

What if WPI (left) and Springfield College (right) played against some local FCS and D-II football teams?

By Matt Noonan 

Trying to decipher if and when a college football season will occur this fall remains a mystery to many these days, including yours truly. But what if the upcoming season featured more regional games, specifically contests that saw the various New England FCS teams competing against D-II and D-III squads?

How about D-II and D-III teams squaring-off either under the lights or during a gorgeous October afternoon?

Could it happen? Maybe – I am not entirely sure, but it is an interesting thought, right?

While we may not know if and when a college football season will occur (or officially begin), here are a few ideas for some potential matchups that would be worth watching (or following).

American International College, Springfield College, and Western New England: How about AIC, Springfield, and WNE competing against each other to determine the best football team in Springfield, Massachusetts? Springfield and WNE have met in week one these past few years with the Pynchon SAW trophy on the line – the hardware is named after the city’s founder William Pynchon – so why not add AIC to the mix?

Holy Cross vs. New Haven: The Chargers (New Haven) are currently slated to compete against Dartmouth College in September, so why not play against the Crusaders, who advanced to their first postseason since 2009 last fall? This could be a really interesting game against two teams that finished in the top half of their respective conference last season.

Assumption College vs. WPI: I floated this potential matchup earlier this week in my ‘Noontime Commentary‘ piece about the upcoming fall sports season. I think this could be an interesting game, but I am not sure who would win. These two teams are literally down the road from each other, so we could call this game the ‘Battle of Salisbury Street.’ Thoughts?

Bentley University vs. New Hampshire: After finishing its 2019 campaign with a 6-4 record, I think these Falcons (Bentley) are ready to take on the Wildcats of New Hampshire. Whether this game is played in Waltham, Massachusetts, or Durham, New Hampshire, there would be an interest in this contest with both programs attracting a slew of student-athletes from the six New England states to their respective campus every year.

Harvard University, MIT, and Tufts University: Welcome to the ‘Battle of Cambridge and Somerville!’ Yes, I know there is already the ‘Battle for the Picket Fence’ between Cambridge Rindge & Latin and Somerville High School, so why not have Harvard, MIT, and Tufts compete for bragging rights for both cities? It could be some interesting games for sure, but in the end, Harvard would prevail. Go Crimson!

MIAA, RIIL Cancels Spring Sports

SoftballWEB

Four New England states have canceled high school spring sports. (VISUALHUNT.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island joined Maine and New Hampshire by canceling its state’s spring high school sports season this afternoon.

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) both shared this news on their respective Twitter accounts.

Both states are abiding by the advice of Governors Charlie Baker and Gina Raimondo, who have ordered both Massachusetts and Rhode Island to conclude their respective academic schools years online, not in-person.

Connecticut has not canceled its spring sports season, but the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) announced yesterday they will “not run any spring state championship events.” The CIAC could, however, have a regular-season in June, but that would only occur if schools reopen. Connecticut is not scheduled to reopen until May 20.

The Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA) will make an announcement regarding its spring sports season on Thursday, April 30.

Maine and New Hampshire announced the cancelations of its states’ spring sports season earlier this month.

Springs Sports In Massachusetts Will Most Likely Not Happen

baseball-softball-clay-ball-sport-game-league

Could Massachusetts see a high school spring sports season? (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualhunt.com)

By Matt Noonan

With yesterday’s announcement by Governor Charlie Baker regarding schools remaining online (and remote) for the remainder of the school year due to COVID-19, it seems most likely that a spring high school sports season will not occur. But an official announcement has not yet been made by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) as of late this morning.

Hours after Baker’s announcement of both private and public schools remaining closed for the remainder of the academic school year, the MIAA tweeted the following yesterday afternoon: “Difficult news received from Governor Baker today. A formal MIAA BOD statement regarding the status of 2020 spring sports will be provided by weeks end.”

While high school athletic directors, coaches, and student-athletes, as well as fans, eagerly await an official announcement from the MIAA, it seems most likely that Massachusetts will become the third New England state to cancel its spring sports season like Maine and New Hampshire did earlier this month.

Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Vermont have not canceled its spring high school sports seasons, but perhaps yesterday’s news by Baker could result in more cancelations across the region, along with schools not being open until possibly next fall.

The MIAA canceled its basketball and hockey winter championships last month, naming both state finalists as co-champions.

New Hampshire Becomes Second New England State To Cancel Spring Sports

7021437345_2577a984b1_b

Maine and New Hampshire have canceled high school spring sports due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). (PHOTO COURTESY: cooper.gary on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND)

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation

For the second week in a row, a New England state has announced that their respective high school spring sports season will be canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). And that state was New Hampshire, which made the announcement one week after the Maine Principals Association (MPA) shared the bittersweet news about their spring sports season being canceled, as well.

In addition to canceling spring sports, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu announced that classes will remain online for the remainder of the school year.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont have not canceled their respective spring seasons – all four states seem hopeful and optimistic that they could provide their student-athletes with some competition, pending their state’s stay-at-home advisory or order is lifted sooner rather than later.

As of this morning, Massachusetts is scheduled to reopen its schools on Monday, May 4th, but it is possible Gov. Charlie Baker could extend closures beyond that date. “We’ll make a decision about schools sometime soon,” Baker said, during Thursday’s daily briefing with the media.

Connecticut is not scheduled to resume in-person classes until May 20th – the announcement came the same day Maine shared they would be canceling their spring sports seasons – while Rhode Island recently extended its stay-at-home order until Friday, May 8th. 

The Vermont Principals Association (VPA) seems hopeful they can provide their spring student-athletes with a season but did share in a press release earlier this week that they would make a decision on Thursday, April 30. Vermont’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order has been extended to May 15th.