The Monarchs (9-1, 6-1 CAA) shoot for a 10th win and hope to cement a seed and home games in the upcoming FCS playoffs when they face
"I think you can look at it and say this is really the first round of the playoffs, because I think both teams are feeling that type of implications," ODU coach
Old Dominion has all but clinched a spot in the 20-team playoff field, which will be announced Sunday. The Monarchs will go in as an at-large selection, since they are ineligible for the CAA title and automatic playoff berth as an outgoing member.
Absent the Monarchs, as many as five CAA teams are in contention and could tie for the conference title: New Hampshire,
New Hampshire (8-2, 6-1 CAA) could make it simple by beating Towson in their game noon Saturday. The Wildcats would be the outright champ and win the automatic bid. If Towson (6-4, 5-2 CAA) wins, it opens the door for any of 16 potential tiebreaker scenarios that could give New Hampshire, Towson or Villanova the automatic bid.
Villanova, which handed ODU its only loss and defeated James Madison last week, concludes its season against Delaware.
As few as two eligible teams could finish 6-2 in the league, and as many as five teams could be 6-2. The conference could have as many as five teams with at least eight wins, as well as a seven-win Towson team with two losses to FBS opponents LSU and Kent State.
That will make for an interesting Selection Sunday. The CAA has landed at least four teams in the playoff field every year since 2007. But the conference isn't rated as highly as in previous seasons — only sixth by the Gridiron Power Index, a tool that the selection committee uses to compare teams that play disparate schedules in different parts of the country.