Having reached the FCS playoffs for the first time last season, Albany and Stony Brook are ready for what some would say is an even tougher challenge.
The two programs will join the CAA beginning in July 2013, commissioner Tom Yeager announced Tuesday.
"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."
Stony Brook, the 2011 Big South Conference champion, beat Albany, a 2011 Northeast Conference co-champion, in the FCS first round, 31-28, last year.
"We are excited about being invited into the best conference in the country at this level of football", Albany coach Bob Ford said. "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 football has come very far, very fast over the last five years, and now is the time to elevate our program further and to put ourselves in a position to win national championships," Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore said. "The CAA has a clear pedigree and built an unrivaled tradition of excellence, and I am confident that under coach Chuck Priore's leadership, our football program will continue to grow and annually compete for league and national championships as members of the CAA. Clearly, as we join this outstanding conference today, our best days are ahead of us."
Albany and Stony Brook will remain in the America East Conference for sports other than football.
CAA Football would have 10 teams for the 2013 season: Albany, Delaware, James Madison, Maine, New Hampshire, Richmond, Stony Brook, Towson, Villanova and William & Mary.
Rhode Island is scheduled to join the NEC next year, but the additions of Albany and Stony Brook could cause the university to reconsider its move out of CAA Football.
Old Dominion and Georgia State are leaving the CAA for the FBS level next year.