Yesterday, I reported that the CAA has officially released the league's composite 2008 schedule. The goal of all FCS/I-AA teams is to make the playoffs. Each team's schedule has a large bearing on that ambition.
An FCS team needs a minimum of seven DI wins to make the playoffs. Eight is a better goal because seven wins means being the last team named. Eight DI wins will usually being chosen and being sent on the road. Nine DI wins means a home game in the first and maybe another game in the second round. Ten wins or better means home games up until Chattanooga.
Hofstra: Eleven games in 2008. OOC games with UConn, Albany and Stony Brook. The Pride plays the Delaware, JMU and Richmond rotation in the CAA South. The OOC is manageable with two likely wins and the Pride has a chance at UConn. Five playoff teams in the CAA schedule means Hofstra is an unlikely choice for the playoffs in '08.
Maine: Twelve games in 2008. OOC includes Iowa, Monmouth, Stony Brook and Iona. The Black Bears play the Delaware, JMU and Richmond rotation. Maine also plays five CAA playoff teams and is unlikely to win at Iowa. Three DI wins over Monmouth, Stony Brook and Iona gives the Black Bears a chance at seven DI wins however.
UMass: Twelve games in 2008. OOC includes Texas Tech, Albany, Holy Cross and Bryant. The Minutemen also play the Delaware, JMU and Richmond rotation. UMass needs to avoid the upset at Holy Cross to get three DI wins out the the rest of the OOC. Texas Tech should have one of their stronger teams in '08, so an upset win is unlikely. UMass probably won't go undefeated in the CAA, but has the potential to get nine or ten wins.
New Hampshire: Eleven games in 2008. The Wildcats OOC includes Army, Albany and Dartmouth. I think UNH can win all three of those games. UNH plays the non-playoff section of the CAA South: Villanova, Towson and William & Mary. Chances look good for eight or better DI wins for the Wildcats.
Northeastern: Eleven games in 2008. OOC includes Ball State, Georgia Southern and UC Davis. The good Huskies play the non-playoff rotation of Villanova, Towson and William & Mary. Northeastern has a good chance of upsetting UC Davis at home, but the rest of the schedule looks too difficult to get seven wins or better.
Rhode Island: Twelve games in 2008. The Rams OOC includes Boston College, Monmouth, Fordham and Brown. The Rams play the Villanova, Towson and William & Mary rotation out of the CAA South. A coaching change often invigorates a program. Rhody should go 2-2 in the OOC and probably will get a few more upsets in the regular season. Reaching seven DI wins will still be difficult.
Summary: New Hampshire has the most favorable schedule in the CAA North. If they can find a quarterback to replace Santos, the Wildcats have a good chance at the playoffs. UMass should be strong again this year. Three OOC DI wins should give the Minutemen a leg-up on the playoffs. Maine looks like the next best shot.
UPDATE: UNH QB search is on .
UPDATE II: As pointed out by a reader, Northeastern has added a second BCS team to their 2008 schedule, Syracuse.