College: 12 thoughts on the college football season in New England

We covered all 15 Division One programs in New England this fall and watched a lot of games. Here are 12 thoughts observations on the season we just had.

  1. Boston College had a disappointing season. There is no way around it. Many of us thought they would win 8 or 9 games. Instead, they finished 6-6. Losing Phil Jurkovec to injury was the primary reason for the disappointing finish but even with Jurkovec back, the Eagles failed to play at the high level we thought they could play at entering the season.

  2. Holy Cross had a season for the ages. They finished 10-3, won the Patriot League for the third straight season and won a playoff game. In perhaps what could be their biggest achievement this season, they didn’t lose Bob Chesney to another program. All things considered, it was an all time season for the Crusaders.

  3. UMass was a train wreck, finishing 1-11. Walt Bell got fired with three weeks left in the season and was replaced by offensive line coach Alex Miller. Miller and the remaining staff members did a great job keeping the program competitive but the season was lost. The hiring of Don Brown however gives the Flagship Faithful hope so the future is bright.

  4. The most underrated coach in New England is Dartmouth’s Buddy Teevens. Teevens has turned the Big Green into a perennial contender in the Ivy League. They split the league this season with Princeton but in reality, they were league champions because they beat Princeton head to head. Replacing quarterback Derek Kyler will be tough but the Big Green will once again be in the mix in 2022.

  5. Harvard and Yale both exceeded pre-season expectations. Both programs were good enough to hang around and compete for an Ivy League but fell a little short of winning the league. Harvard in particular lost two tough games to Dartmouth and Princeton. The Crimson could have very easily won both.

  6. Kudos to Jim Fleming and his staff for the job they did at URI. The Rams finished 7-4 but were in the hunt for both a conference title and an at large playoff spot the entire season. It will be interesting to see if the Rams can build off of it. They lose several quality seniors but return a plethora of young talent.

  7. Congratulations to Sacred Heart on a great season. The Pioneers won the NEC and had Holy Cross on the ropes in the first round of the playoffs. Head Coach Mark Nofri has built a program centered around a strong running game and tough defense. It is a formula for success.

  8. Speaking of programs that are building. Bryant, Merrimack and Central Connecticut State all had big wins this season and showed marked improvement. Consistency will be the key for all three programs moving forward. The respective coaching staffs are bringing in the talent. Now that talent needs to play well enough to compete for an NEC title.

  9. Congratulations to former Maine coach Nick Charlton on accepting the UConn offensive coordinator position. Charlton and his staff did a tremendous job of turning around the fortunes of the Black Bears and guiding them to a 6-5 finish. Beating UMass and winning the Brice-Cowell Musket were all feathers in Charlton’s cap.

  10. New Hampshire got off to a great start but fell apart after week three and finished 3-8. It all led to the eventual retirement of Sean McDonnell and the promotion of Ricky Santos to head coach. The Wildcats are in good hands with Santos. Aggressively recruiting the area and landing talent will be key moving forward for the Wildcats.

  11. I know that Jim Mora‘s hiring was seen as a P.R move by the administration at UConn but if given time, Mora can make the Huskies competitive. Building up local recruiting connections will be key. UConn was historically bad this past season. It can’t get any worse. Only way is up from here.

  12. Finally. Congratulations to E.J Perry on a great career at Brown. He was a pleasure to cover this season. He and the Bears offense kept the team in games. James Perry’s squad is young but the tide will turn. Perry and his staff are good recruiters and terrific coaches.