Category Archives: CAA

LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/26/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25And, well, was I completely wrong about Villanova and Richmond, who were two of my Top 10 teams that got upset this week?

CAA fans will say that conference games in their conference are hard, but... Albany and Elon aren't known as being the giant-killers in the conference, let's just say.  It's great to see Albany do well, who were awful close to an FCS playoff team last season, and Elon as well, former home of former Lehigh head coach Pete Lembo as well as  the new home of former Lehigh offensive coordinator Drew Folmar.  But are they Top 25 teams?

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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/19/2017


I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and let's just get all the drama out of the way now - James Madison is my clear-cut No. 1.

I know, right?  Shocking.

This week saw two Top 10 teams of mine last week go down - and Virginia, the games weren't close.  One might not have been too much of a surprise, as it came against a nationally-ranked team at their place.  But the other stunned a lot of people, including myself, and frankly, I hate missing the call of a Patriot League team upsetting a CAA team.
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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/12/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and for the second straight week - hold on to your hats - I think James Madison was, and still is, the No. 1 team in the nation.

I know, right?  Crazy.

Truth be known, the top layer of FCS teams did little to move themselves much.  When teams like New Hampshire were beating FBS teams and teams like Villanova were taking FCS teams to the wire, much of the Top 10 proved they were Top 10 worthy teams.
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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/5/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and this week, unsurprisingly, I think James Madison was, and still is, the No. 1 team in the nation.

Not exactly going out on a limb, am I?

If you try to pick FCS games, one of the easiest picks of last week was to take the Dukes to upset the Pirates.  Pretty much all the experts across the board thought that James Madison, even with some suspended players, was stacked enough to take over rebuilding East Carolina, and boy, did they ever.

Remember the days when FCS vs. FBS matchups were defined by the FCS teams "wilting" in the fourth quarter?  With upper-echelon FCS teams like James Madison, that myth has been debunked for a while, but it was brutally apparent in this game, when RB Cardon Johnson easily eluded East Carolina tacklers on two 80+ yard touchdown runs.

That didn't surprise me at all this weekend.  And they're still my No. 1 team.

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LFN’s FCS Top 25, 9/5/2017

I don't officially vote in any of the FCS Top 25 polls, but I do share who I think deserves to be in the Top 25, and this week, unsurprisingly, I think James Madison was, and still is, the No. 1 team in the nation.

Not exactly going out on a limb, am I?

If you try to pick FCS games, one of the easiest picks of last week was to take the Dukes to upset the Pirates.  Pretty much all the experts across the board thought that James Madison, even with some suspended players, was stacked enough to take over rebuilding East Carolina, and boy, did they ever.

Remember the days when FCS vs. FBS matchups were defined by the FCS teams "wilting" in the fourth quarter?  With upper-echelon FCS teams like James Madison, that myth has been debunked for a while, but it was brutally apparent in this game, when RB Cardon Johnson easily eluded East Carolina tacklers on two 80+ yard touchdown runs.

That didn't surprise me at all this weekend.  And they're still my No. 1 team.

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Villanova at Lehigh Game Preview: Battle Of Nationally Ranked Teams Highlight Mountain Hawk Season Opener

One has been here before; the other has not, at least not lately.

Over the course of the last few seasons, Villanova Stadium has hosted all sorts of games involving Top 25 teams.  James Madison, New Hampshire, Richmond - all of these CAA teams have been to the Main Line, at one time or another, at the same time the Wildcats have also been in the Top 25.  When it comes to hosting big football games, Villanova is no stranger to that situation.

Not so, Lehigh.

Sure, the Mountain Hawks have played a bunch of Top 25 teams over the course of the last several seasons.  And last year, Lehigh returned to the Top 25 as well.

But the Mountain Hawks haven't hosted a game like this, a Top 25 tilt between two opponents that are both in the Top 25, since the Mountain Hawks beat New Hampshire 34-27 back in 2012.

This year's season opener represents the cumulation of the long, hard road of building a Top 25, national-caliber FCS football team.  Last season was a year of a Patriot League championship, a return to national respect, and rings.  And it all leads to this weekend, one of the biggest games on the Week 1 FCS National schedule that will provide a tremendous test to see how this 2017 Mountain Hawk team might turn out this season.
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Know Your 2017 Opponents: Villanova

(Photo Credit: Akira Suwa/Philly.com)

Writing a season preview about Villanova used to be the easiest job in the world.

Just grab your boilerplate biographical information about future hall-of-fame head coach Andy Talley, do a little Googling of the Wildcat's next up-and-coming NFL prospects, come up with a dozen synonyms for the words "tough" and "challenge", and the preview basically writes itself.

But this season's task of facing Villanova is simply different than all of those other years.  Talley, the only coach Villanova has ever known since restarting their football program in 1985 after a failed attempt to pull the plug on it in 1981 in the middle of spring practice, has finally retired from the head coaching ranks.  While the same familiar trappings of high preseason rankings and potential NFL prospects remain, their new head coach, longtime Talley assistant Mark Ferrante, is now running the Wildcats and will be seeking his first win as a collegiate head football coach.

The three things that are certain is that the Wildcats are ranked No. 10 in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll to start the year, that they're ranked No. 9 in the FCS Coaches' Poll, and that when they come and visit Murray Goodman Stadium on September 2nd at 12:30 PM, they'll be playing Lehigh in a battle between Top 25 teams.
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Davenport, Kpassagnon Only Two Of Possible NFL Draftees Lehigh Faced Last Year

One of the more interesting aspects of covering Lehigh football for so long is the fact that you end up seeing future NFL players on their rise to the big show.

In fact, two players who squared off against the Mountain Hawks in particular have an excellent chance of being drafted on Day 2 or Day 3 of the NFL draft.

But those not the only Lehigh football opponents that will be hoping to get a phone call from an NFL team this Friday or Saturday.

Though few Patriot League, Ivy League or even CAA players enter their football programs with the NFL as their main goal, every football player that matriculates to these schools still harbor the dream of dominating their league and as a result get an opportunity to pursue their NFL dream.

And it is true that NFL scouts come to FCS football games to look for talent that might have been overlooked.  Many years ago I was in Hofstra's press box, watching the Pride take on New Hampshire, with NFL scouts from the Colts and Saints there to watch WR Marques Colston play.  The Saints decision to pursue Colston may very well have come from that game in Hempstead, New York.
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Not A Bad Feast Of FBS and FCS College Football This Weekend

Still bummed that Lehigh's Patriot League Championship season is over?  Yeah, me too.

That doesn't mean that I've totally tuned out the college football landscape, though.

Starting tonight, there's some terrific games on TV and online streaming that I'll be watching, both at the FCS and the FBS level.  Happily, the FCS Round of 16 games are not all going up against each other like last week, so the opportunity is there to catch one or more of those games - and you can bet that I will be.

Below the flip, starting with the MAC championship game tonight, are my picks for games to watch, and - why not? - some picks as to who I think will win.

(Yes, it includes Penn State.  Stop asking.)
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QUICK RECAP: Lehigh’s Season Comes To Close After Dominating 64-21 Defeat To UNH

Right from the opening drive it didn't feel like it was going to be Lehigh's day.

With sophomore QB Brad Mayes in for senior QB Nick Shafnisky, who was unable to start due to an undisclosed illness, a pass that bounced off the hands of senior WR Derek Knott instead bounced into the hands of New Hampshire's first team all-CAA CB Casey DeAndrade.

Six plays later, the New Hampshire offense converted that turnover into the very first touchdown of the day for the Wildcats, the first of many on a defense that clearly missed senior LB Colton Caslow, who got hurt in the second half against Lafayette last weekend.

Four different New Hampshire players scored a grand total of six rushing touchdowns, two coming from RB Dalton Crossan, two coming from his backup, RB Trevon Bryant, one from the third-string, RB Evan Gray, and one on a scramble from QB Adam Riese.

All in all, the Wildcats racked up 364 yards rushing on the Brown and White, rushing to a 36-7 lead on the Mountain Hawks and coasting to a 64-21 victory.  In the ultimate twist of irony, Lehigh got beat in the way they had beaten so many opponents in their nine game regular-season winning streak - with UNH jumping to a big lead and never really taking their foot off the gas.
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