I hope this note (and post) finds everyone doing well, staying safe and healthy, while thinking optimistically – better days are ahead, everyone. I believe it!
Today, I am writing to announce a site update for the remainder of 2020: we will be closed with plans of restarting our blog (and site) next January!
Additionally, our rebranded podcast – The Matt Noonan Podcast – will not begin its second season until next January (at the earliest!).
To say these past few weeks and months have been tough when it comes to daily, weekly and monthly coverage would be an understatement. But I am extremely grateful to everyone that has provided both my colleagues and I with the opportunity to produce some positive content during these unprecedented times.
Additionally, I want to thank everyone that has joined me, both recently and over the past few years for podcast interviews – I truly appreciate our various guests carving out time to join me, as well as answer a slew of my questions. And for our listeners (at home or in the car), thank you for tuning in – hopefully I didn’t say “um” too many times (fingers crossed!).
While this was certainly not an easy decision, I do believe this short break will allow me to comeback reenergized to produce some content that I love, but also enjoy sharing with my colleagues, friends, family members, and fans. And while I have said it before, I will say it again, I am extremely thankful to everyone that has provided me an opportunity to cover their respective athletic teams and programs to those that have granted me access to some amazing events over the past 11 years.
Please continue to stay safe and well, everyone, and I hope you all have a wonderful rest of 2020 while enjoying some holiday cheer either in-person or remotely!
It’s been a busy week of blogging to producing some new content for our social channels – we’ll recap it later today in during our Friday Rewind post – but in the meantime let’s dish out a late morning edition of the Daily Noontime.
So tomorrow will be a special day for our New England NCAA D-III football fans with Coast Guard Academy competing against the United State Merchant Marine Academy with kickoff scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
Fans can stream the game between the Bears and Mariners on ESPN3 – here is a preview of tomorrow’s Secretaries’ Cup.
According to Sports Illustrated, there seems to be growing concern about not just the remainder of the college football season, but also the college football playoffs. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby knows the college football world is heading into some serious uncharted territory, but as of now, no games and bowls have been canceled, including the traditional New Year’s Day contests, so please remain calm, everyone.
Switching gears to college basketball – what is college basketball again? – it appears as if 40 teams will compete in ‘Bubbleville‘ at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut later this month. 45 games will be played over an 11-day period with the final contests scheduled for Saturday, December 5.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has started its college basketball season, but things have not gone smoothly due to the coronavirus. It’s likely every NCAA men’s and women’s basketball team will be impacted at some point this winter by the virus. And that could mean games – not just a few, but many – will get postponed or canceled.
Alright, that will do it for now, but stop by later and as always, make sure to smile, everyone!
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.
It is rather gloomy outside our home office, but that won’t stop us from thinking positive thoughts – we are an upbeat, positive media outlet. You know that right?
Alright, let’s get to some news, beginning with yesterday afternoon’s exciting announcement from the Hockey East.
The Hockey East Association plans to drop the puck for the 2020-21 season next Friday, November 20. Games for the opening weekend, as well as the first few weeks will be aired on NESN while other contests will be seen “through its partnership with ViacomCBSDigital.”
Metcalf would continue by adding, “We’ve worked closely with all our member institutions in establishing protocols in an effort to play as safely as possible, while also giving our teams a complete and meaningful season.”
According to Wednesday’s release from the Hockey East, the league’s 11 men’s teams will compete in 20 contests this winter while its 10 women’s programs will skate in 18 games.
Prior to yesterday’s announcement from the Hockey East, Atlantic Hockey shared similar news last month about its ‘return to play‘ with games beginning later this month.
Other New England NCAA D-III conferences have canceled winter sports competition, mainly conference play and championships, but did leave the door open for its various schools to pursue non-conference contests, pending it safe to do so.
According to D3Hoops.com, only a small number of conferences and schools have elected to cancel or “call off” competition for its winter sports teams. And there are a few schools on this list from both Massachusetts and other parts of New England.
While we do like to keep things positive, we do need to share a heartbreaking (and very sad) report: Penn State‘s Journey Brown is retiring from football due to heart condition, which the 21-year-old halfback discovered during “a routine COVID-19 test in early September.”
The news of Brown’s retirement was announced last night by his coach James Franklin, who did tell reporters that the condition is not related to COVID-19.