Former champs Stony Brook, Colgate fight to stay alive

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Hamilton, NY ( - A little less than a year ago, the Colgate and Stony Brook football teams found themselves in the FCS playoffs after winning their respective conferences.

Colgate was the champion of the Patriot League, while Stony Brook came out of the Big South with a share of the title.

It's amazing what a little time can do.

Stony Brook made the move to the Colonial Athletic Association prior to the start of the 2013 season, which was seen as a big jump. But many still thought the Seawolves would be competitive for the conference title, especially after the team's 20-10 win over Villanova in the first round of the 2012 postseason.

The Seawolves suffered a huge setback after two games when starting running back Marcus Coker was lost for the remainder of the season with an abdominal injury.

At 2-3, the Wolves aren't statistically out of the playoff hunt just yet. But with losses to CAA teams Villanova and Towson already, and a schedule that includes New Hampshire, Maine, Richmond and James Madison, the scenario isn't looking too sunny in the team's first CAA season.

Just as, or maybe even more surprising than Stony Brook's rough start to the 2013 season, has been Colgate's start.

The Raiders already have accumulated more losses this season than all of last year, with some obvious defensive lapses. The Raiders have allowed 37 points to Albany, 53 to New Hampshire and 39 to Yale.

Walter Payton Award candidate Gavin McCarney, the unquestioned leader of this Raiders offense, has had periods of injury this year, causing him to miss playing time.

Fortunately for Colgate, the Patriot League schedule hasn't started up yet. If the Raiders can mend their problems before Oct. 19 when the team travels to Worcester, Mass., for a game with Holy Cross, then the team can right the ship.

The Seawolves and Raiders square off Saturday at Colgate in a contest of two underachieving former champions. By no means is the season over, but a rough start hasn't helped either team.