This logo needs more blood. via www.nelligansports.com
I'm going to ask you a question: Do you own any of the following items --
- A chain, used primarily to bludgeon your foes?
- A handheld crossbow, used primarily to impale your foes?
- A stick fashioned with a pointy metal top, used primarily to stab and conquer your foes?
If you answered "No" to all of the following questions you are ineligible to compete in the Colonial Athletic Association. Sorry, bros and broettes. You can't bring a lacrosse stick to a post-apocalyptic massacre.
Marisa Ingemi of our sister site In Lax We Trust (plugplugplug) floated the idea that Hofstra was maybe a little underrated in the polls. I don't think she's off-base with her position, but here's the thing: I'm not completely certain that Hofstra is going to come out of the CAA alive. This poses another interesting question: How many CAA teams are going to lose an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament simply because they have to maneuver through this league?
Let's skip that last question for now and get back to the important one: Who's going to kill who in the CAA? Right off the bat -- St. Joseph's is going to get sacrificed all season. It's going to be ugly for the Hawks this year. Like, actual-surgery-shown-on-TLC-ugly. As for the rest of the league, it's anyone's game.
Here's a table to illustrate that fact. It reflects conference record, overall record, and adjusted efficiency margin ranks. Notes and stuff follow after the jump.
|TEAM||W - CAA||L - CAA||W - OVERALL||L - OVERALL||EFFICIENCY MARGIN||RANK|
- Delaware: Beat Hofstra and Towson
- Penn State: Beat Massachusetts and St. Joseph's
- Hofstra: Beat Drexel, lost to Delaware
- Drexel: Beat St. Joseph's, lost to Hofstra
- Massachusetts: Lost to Penn State
- Towson: Lost to Delaware
- St. Joseph's: Stinks
So, to recap: The most efficient team doesn't have a win in the league yet (although they've only played one conference opponent); the second-worst team in the conference with regard to adjusted efficiency margin is sitting pretty at the top of the standings; and the highest-ranked team is in the middle of the league, in a deficient tie-breaker position to the school currently sitting atop the throne.
Yup. Welcome to the CAA.
Now, it's early. Really, really, really early. I'd be absolutely shocked if the league didn't come down to Hofstra and Massachusetts battling it out for the top spot. The Pride are legit and get Massachusetts and Penn State at home. Massachusetts gets Drexel and Delaware up at Garber, which should help out the Minutemen. With each getting the majority of its toughest games remaining on home soil, you'd have to think that they can get a little killing spree going when it matters most.
The team that could really throw a wrench in the works is Towson. Now, the Tigers aren't exactly world-beaters, but they aren't exactly push-overs, either. Towson gets Massachusetts and Hofstra at home, and if they can snag either or both, they'll be sitting in the driver's seat in terms of grabbing the league by the throat and making it pay for prior sins.
Is this likely? Probably not, but I also didn't expect Delaware to beat the Tigers by only a goal. At home. Weird stuff, man.
Penn State is an enigma, an enigma with an eye-patch and wielding a baseball bat. The Nittany Lions snuck by Massachusetts, but still need to go to Hempstead and Newark. They get Drexel and Towson at home, which is nice, but the jury is still out as to whether Tambroni has a team that can win the league. Penn State has certainly been through the fire -- the team is in the top-15 in terms of strength of schedule -- but there's a ton of unknowns surrounding the club. Let's stick them in that second-tier of teams that could possibly make it out alive and tab 'em as a sleeper team to move into the true contender realm.
Then there's Drexel. The Dragons have a tough road left, having to go to Penn State and to Massachusetts. That's a lot to ask, especially when you consider that they still need to play a solid Delaware team and will play Towson late in the year when the Tigers may be wounded and dangerous. So, it's not that I think that Drexel is necessarily "bad," I just think that the schedule isn't doing them any favors.