Stony Brook football, the Eagles scheduled FCS opponent next season, appears to be on the move. According to a report in Newsday, the Seawolves football program will leave the Big South Conference after this season to join the Colonial Athletic Association.
The report states that Stony Brook's in-state rival Albany will alo head to the CAA for football. The additions of Stony Brook and Albany would bring the CAA back up to 10 members for the 2013 season -- Stony Brook, Albany, Delaware, Villanova, New Hampshire, William & Mary, Richmond, James Madison, Maine and Towson.
The Seawolves have won or shared the Big South league title in each of the last three seasons, compiling a conference record of 16-2 over that span. Last season, Stony Brook advanced to the FCS playoffs second round, beating Albany 31-28 before falling to national-runner up Sam Houston State 34-27.
These moves come at an opportune time for the CAA, a conference which has gone through a number of membership changes in recent years. Both Hofstra and Northeastern decided to drop its football programs after the 2009 season, while Georgia State and Old Dominion will make only temporary stops in the CAA before moving up to the FBS in 2013 (Georgia State to the Sun Belt, Old Dominion to Conference USA). UMass joins the MAC this season, while Rhode Island will be moving to the reduced scholarship Northeast Conference after this season.
This is good news for Boston College football, too, which has seen the number of local opponents from college football's lower division dwindle over the last decade. In addition to Northeastern (dropped football), Hofstra (dropped football), UMass (moved up to FBS' MAC) and Rhode Island (moved down to NEC), the CAA and its predecessor conferences have also lost UConn (moved up to FBS starting in 1999) and Boston University (dropped football in 1997).
And this is how BC ends up playing a guarantee game against a program from Utah.
The additions of Albany and Stony Brook should help stabilize a football conference that has been on shaky ground given all the recent departures. A stable CAA, combined with the Patriot League's move to 60 football scholarships, should give the Eagles more than enough local options for scheduling guarantee games. That is if the program wishes to continue to schedule an annual FCS opponent after the move to a nine-game ACC schedule and the start of the college playoff which rewards strength of schedule.