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For UD, it's CAA and everyone else

For UD, it's CAA and everyone else

For UD, it's CAA and everyone else

    Four different teams that are currently members of the Colonial Athletic Association have won a Football Championship Subdivision national championship this decade.
    Delaware, James Madison, Richmond and Villanova have each been the last team standing since 2004, and two teams — Villanova and Delaware — make up half of the 2010 semifinals.
    Sometimes, it’s hard to acknowledge the other conferences.
    “In some ways, you root for the CAA because it does just show how great this conference is,” said Delaware coach K.C. Keeler about Villanova’s quarterfinals win over Southern Conference member Appalachian State Saturday. “In other ways, you feel like those are the only two teams that can beat you. There’s a mindset where if you survive the CAA, you can win a championship. I wasn’t really pleased when the bracket came out and New Hampshire and William and Mary were on our side of the bracket. It was like, ‘Oh God, we have to go through the CAA again. We already did this one time.’”
    Villanova defeated the Mountaineers 42-24 to advance to face Eastern Washington on the road in the semifinals.
    “The conference is amazing,” Keeler said. “I think people are starting to realize that you can take six teams from the CAA and another four or five from across the country, and those are the teams that can win a national championship. Half the teams that can win a championship come from this league every year.”
    Delaware defensive back Anthony Bratton, a senior, knows the Blue Hens (11-2) need a win over Georgia Southern (10-4), another SoCon member, Saturday in Newark, Del., he can’t help but look ahead to a potential national title game against the other team from the CAA.
    “Every game is like a playoff or a championship game,” Bratton said about the CAA schedule. “Every year we send a good amount of teams to the playoff bracket. Year-in and year-out, our conference, we’ve got a team that can make it to the championship every year, if not two or three. If we play Villanova it will be a battle from the last game of the season. They knocked us off the No. 1 spot.”
    In the three games since the CAA’s current formation in 2006, the league has had a member in the title game each time. Overall, five CAA members have won the title, the four mentioned above, and Massachusetts, which defeated Georgia Southern in 1998.
    Four SoCon teams (three current members) have won at least one national title — GSU, ASU, Furman and Marshall — and five have played for the championship. Western Carolina was the runner up in 1983.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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