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.

D3 Football: Conference Race Watch (Week 11)

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By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Welcome to the final week of the New England D-III Football season – man, this season has flown by. I still remember counting down the days to week one this past summer, but now it is time to unveil our final ‘Conference Race Watch’ post for the 2019 season.

As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB


Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC): Western New England. The Golden Bears secured the conference’s automatic berth to the upcoming NCAA Tournament with back-to-back wins this month against Becker College and Endicott College. WNE concludes its regular-season slate on Saturday, November 16th when they host Husson University.

Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC): Dean College. Despite ending their season with a 38-20 setback to Castleton University, the Bulldogs still managed to secures its first conference crown since becoming a member of the league in 2017. Dean ended its season with a 4-1 record and will most likely play once more this season in a New England Bowl.

SUNY Maritime will represent the conference in the upcoming NCAA Tournament next weekend.

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC): Framingham State. Despite starting its season with a pair of losses, the Rams managed to rebound with seven-straight wins, including a 40-20 victory last Saturday against Bridgewater State. The Rams conclude their season on Saturday when they visit Worcester State.

New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC): Middlebury College. The Panthers wrapped up their 2019 slate with a 31-24 victory over Tufts University last weekend. The nine wins are the most recorded in program history – the conference began playing five games in 2017.

New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC): MIT/Springfield/WPI. This particular conference champion has yet to be decided, but MIT has the easiest path to the league title if they beat Springfield. A loss to the Pride and a WPI win over Norwich University would then provide the Engineers of Worcester with their first conference crown. Springfield can capture the title by beating MIT and having WPI lose to Norwich.

D3 Football: Conference Race Watch (Week Ten)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

We’re just two days away from another busy weekend of New England D-III Football.

Similar to last week, every Thursday for the remainder of the season will be dedicated to highlighting all five New England conference races. We’ll tell you which team(s) is in position to win their respective conference, as well as the squads that still have a chance to win or share their respective league titles.

As usual, you can follow our New England D-III Football coverage, as well as other regional updates (and news) at @Noontime_FB on Twitter.


Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

Projected Conference Winner: Western New England 

Analysis: With their fifth-straight conference win last Saturday against the Gulls of Endicott College, Western New England has positioned itself to win the conference this Saturday, November 9th with a win over Becker College. The Golden Bears can also claim the conference crown next Saturday with a win over Husson University if they lost to the Hawks this weekend, but this WNE squad seems to have some serious momentum that should help them lock-up the conference crown in Leicester, Massachusetts.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

Projected Conference Winner: Dean College  

Analysis: The Bulldogs enter their final game of the 2019 season as a lock to win their first-ever ECFC title. With their win last week over Alfred State, Dean positioned themselves to share the title with SUNY-Maritime but can win it outright this weekend by beating Castleton University.


Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Current Leader: Framingham State 

In The Hunt: Bridgewater State 

Analysis: Saturday’s game between the Rams and Bears will most likely decide who will represent the conference in the upcoming NCAA Tournament later this month. Both teams enter this weekend’s marquee match-up with impressive winning streaks as FSU has won six-straight, while BSU has captured its last five contests.

Framingham State’s defense has shined these past few weeks and is expected to continue its impressive play on Saturday against a talented Bears offense, which is led by senior quarterback Stefano D’Emilia.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

Projected Winner: Middlebury College 

In The Hunt: Wesleyan University 

Analysis: The Panthers have been the team to beat (and watch) this season in the NESCAC. They matched the 1972 squad with their eighth-straight win last Saturday by defeating Hamilton College, 14-7. A win on Saturday over Tufts University would cap an exciting season for the Blue and White, but don’t expect the Jumbos to lay down to the top team in the conference.

Wesleyan can secure a share of the conference crown with a Middlebury loss and a win against rival Trinity College.


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

Current Leader: MIT

In The Hunt: Springfield College and WPI 

Analysis: With a hard-fought (and important) double-overtime win last Saturday against WPI, MIT is in the driver’s seat with two games remaining. The Engineers need to beat both Norwich University and Springfield to have a chance to win the conference crown for the second-straight season.

Springfield and WPI can also win the conference crown, too, but both teams must win their final two contests. Springfield hosts MIT next week in what could be a de-facto championship game.

D3 Football: 10 Games To Watch (Nov. 2nd, 2019)

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By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11

Hello, November – how are you?

Are you ready for another BIG week of New England D-III Football? I know I am, which is why I am ready to dish out my picks for this week’s ’10 Games to Watch.’

Last Week: I predicted seven of ten games correctly for the second-straight week to bump my overall record to 55-25 this season. Let’s see if I can keep my winning trend going this week – fingers crossed! 

As usual, make sure to stay connected with our New England football coverage on Twitter by following @Noontime_FB.

Also, subscribe to our podcast on iTunes – you will enjoy our hyperlocal sports chatter!

Have a great weekend, everyone!


New England D-III Football | Games to Watch (Week Nine)

Rankings based off this week’s Noontime Sports Top 20 Poll 

Husson University at No. 15 Nichols College (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 12 p.m.): The Bison entered the week with some serious momentum following an epic four-overtime win against the University of New England. I think their win last week carries them to yet another win against a Maine team. PREDICTION: Nichols 28, Husson 20 

Alfred State at Dean College (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 12 p.m.): The Bulldogs are two wins away from capturing their first Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) crown. I expect their recent wins against Gallaudet University and SUNY-Maritime to provide Dean with enough momentum to beat the Pioneers on their home field. PREDICTION: Dean 30, Alfred State 18 

No. 5 Framingham State at No. 19 Mass. Maritime Academy (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 12 p.m.): The Rams are clicking on all cylinders and should certainly be ready to take that so-called ‘next step’ toward winning yet another conference crown by capturing the Kelley Cup. PREDICTION: Framingham State 28, Mass. Maritime Academy 17 

No. 1 WPI at No. 10 MIT (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 12 p.m.): Ah, the battle of the Engineers – who you got? Cambridge or Worcester? While MIT needs this win to keep their conference title hopes alive, I am not sure if they will be able to make enough plays down the stretch, while containing WPI’s Sean McAllen and Connor Field. PREDICTION: WPI 35, MIT 21

No. 14 Norwich University at Catholic University (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 12 p.m.): The Cadets looked pretty impressive last week against Maine Maritime Academy so I expect Matt Dunn, Trevor Chase, and Manni Romero to continue that success one week later. PREDICTION: Norwich 35, Catholic 10 

Hamilton College at No. 4 Middlebury College (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 12:30 p.m.): The Panthers are two wins away from finishing their season with a 9-0 mark, but Saturday’s tilt with the Continentals won’t be an easy one. Hamilton enters Saturday’s contest with some momentum from recent wins against Amherst College and Tufts University, which should help the Blue and Gold keep this one close. PREDICTION: Middlebury 27, Hamilton 24 

No. 2 Endicott College at No. 3 Western New England (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 1 p.m.): Whoever wins this contest should have the inside track to the conference crown. Endicott beat the Golden Bears last season – they needed quarterback Joe Kalosky to help them secure an exciting win on their home turf. I am expecting Kalosky and the offense to once again be a factor, while the Gulls defense will find ways to contain WNE quarterback Alec ColemanPREDICTION: Endicott 42, WNE 30 

No. 9 Williams College at No. 16 Wesleyan University (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 1 p.m.): This is a must-win for both teams, who look to keep pace with Middlebury for the top spot in the conference. Williams scored its first win last Saturday against Trinity College since 2001 and should be able to use that momentum to carry them past the Cardinals in Connecticut. PREDICTION: Williams 28, Wesleyan 20 

No. 18 Plymouth State at No. 8 Bridgewater State (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 2:30 p.m.): With three games remaining, the Bears are still very much alive in their conference race, but need to beat a Panthers squad that somehow outlasted Massachusetts Maritime Academy last weekend by a score of 7-3. Look for BSU’s momentum from two weeks ago to help them score their fifth-straight win. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 30, Plymouth State 14 

No. 11 UMass Dartmouth at No. 7 Western Connecticut (Saturday, Nov. 2nd at 6 p.m.): The Corsairs can play spoiler in this one as Western Connecticut looks to bounce back from a 25-point setback to Framingham State one week ago. This is a must-win for the Colonials, who need to keep pace with both the Rams of Framingham and Bears of Bridgewater State. PREDICTION: UMass Dartmouth 28, Western Connecticut 24 

D3 Football: Conference Race Watch (Week Nine)

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By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeSports 

We’re just two days away from another busy (and important) weekend of New England D-III Football.

Similar to last week, every Thursday for the remainder of the season will be dedicated to highlighting all five New England conference races. We’ll tell you which team(s) is in position to win their respective conference, as well as the squads that still have a chance to win or share their respective league titles.

As usual, you can follow our New England D-III Football coverage, as well as other regional updates (and news) at @Noontime_FB on Twitter.


Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

Current Leaders: Endicott College and Western New England 

In The Hunt: Nichols College 

Analysis: Endicott and Western New England are scheduled to meet this weekend – it is a big game. The winner will most likely have the inside track to the conference title.

Western New England does have wins over Nichols and University of New England, two teams the Gulls of Endicott have yet to face this season.

This matchup – Endicott versus Western New England – always seems to come down to the final drive or the play in the trenches. It will certainly be an exciting game to follow.

With a four-overtime win last Saturday against UNE, Nichols is still very much alive to win or share the conference crown, however, they need to win their final three contests, beginning this weekend against Husson University.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

Current Leader: Dean College 

In The Hunt: Gallaudet University and SUNY-Maritime 

Analysis: With wins over Gallaudet and SUNY-Maritime, Dean is in prime position to capture its first-ever ECFC crown.

The Bulldogs play their final two games at home, including this Saturday when they host Alfred State. A win over Alfred State seems like a lock for the Bulldogs, however, the Pioneers have provided their conference foes with multiple challenges the past three weeks.


Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

Current Leader: Framingham State 

In The Hunt: Bridgewater State and Western Connecticut

Analysis: With a 39-14 win last Saturday over the Colonials of Western Connecticut, Framingham State has positioned itself to win the MASCAC title, but they must score victories against Bridgewater State (week 10) and Massachusetts Maritime Academy (this Saturday). Western Connecticut has beaten both teams, so they currently own the tie-breaker.

Bridgewater State is still very much alive after rebounding from an 0-3 start with four-straight conference wins. The Bears need to win their final three contests to have a chance to claim their second conference title.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

Current Leader: Middlebury College 

In The Hunt: Wesleyan University and Williams College 

Analysis: With two weeks remaining in the NESCAC season, Middlebury appears to be the front-runner, but faces a Hamilton College squad that could provide the Panthers with some challenges. The Continentals enter the game with a lot of momentum following recent wins against Amherst College and Tufts University.

Wesleyan and Williams meet this week with the winner moving into the second position in the standings. If Middlebury gets tripped up by Hamilton, then whoever wins this particular meeting would be tied with the Panthers heading into the final week of the NESCAC season (the NESCAC plays a nine-week schedule, so next week is the final week of the 2019 season).


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

Current Leader: WPI 

In The Hunt: MIT and Springfield College 

Analysis: The Engineers of Worcester – that would be WPI, to be exact – appear to be a lock to win this conference, especially after a commanding win last Saturday against Merchant Marine. They face MIT on Saturday in what is a must-win game for the Engineers of Cambridge. A win over MIT on Saturday should provide WPI with enough momentum to cap their season with back-to-back wins against Coast Guard Academy and Norwich University.

If MIT beats WPI, then they must end their season with wins against Norwich and Springfield to have a chance to secure the conference’s automatic bid for the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Springfield is idle this weekend, but is still very much alive, despite falling to WPI during the fourth week of the season.