By Matt Dewhurst
The last time Albany and Stoney Brook football headlined the same story, one team was celebrating a playoff win and one team was headed for the offseason. Thanks to the Colonial Athletic Association, this time around both schools have something to smile about.
The University at Albany and Stony Brook University have both accepted offers of membership into CAA football beginning July 2013, Commissioner Tom Yeager announced today.
This is certainly a momentous day for CAA football, Yeager said. The addition of Albany and Stony Brook bring playoff-tested programs from the Northeast into an already nationally-prominent league.
The Great Danes have won 30 games and two NEC championships dating back to the 2008, including one last season. Albany won eight of its final nine regular-season games in 2011, helping it earn an automatic berth into the NCAA Playoffs. The Great Danes offense was among the nations best last season averaging better than 33 ppg and holding a pass-efficiency mark of 148.4 which ranked 13th in the country.
"We are excited about being invited into the best conference in the country at this level of football," said Albany head coach Bob Ford. "Every team in the CAA has established themselves in one way or another with great football. There are some great coaches and some very good football players who have played professionally out of this conference. We are very excited to accept this invitation."
Stony Brook is also no stranger to success. The Seawolves are coming off three consecutive Big South championships and earned the programs first-ever NCAA Division I Football Championship berth in 2011. Ironically, Stony Brook defeated its new CAA rival Albany in the first round of the playoffs last season, 31-28. The Seawolves eventually lost to national runner-up Sam Houston State in the second round.
"Joining CAA football will surely raise the profile of our program as we will now compete against the best of the best in Football Championship Subdivision," said Stoney Brook head coach Chuck Priore. "Our coaches and student-athletes are eager for the challenge, and we expect that this opportunity will allow us to annually compete for a national championship each year."
Beginning in 2012, CAA football will kickoff a five-year agreement the Colonial Athletic Association inked with the NBC Sports Group in February. The broadcast agreement will provide CAA football a minimum of five national television broadcasts on the NBC Sports Network and continue its regional television coverage with an additional 13 broadcasts using the Comcast SportsNet regional networks. The CAA and CAA Football was the first collegiate athletic conference to sign a broadcast agreement with the NBC Sports Network, which launched on January 2, 2012.
Portions of this article were taking from CAASports.com