The UAlbany football team got a little more clarity in regards to the makeup of its upcoming season Wednesday as the Colonial Athletic Association announced its format for the Spring 2021 football season, which will include a split into two divisions and a six-game league schedule.
According to a release from the league, CAA teams will be divided into the North and South divisions and will play six league games in a seven-week stretch, with an anticipated start date of March 6. Each team will have one bye week in its league schedule.
The makeup of the divisions and the final schedules will be announced in the next few weeks, the release said.
Teams will play all six of their CAA games within their respective divisions. The team with the best overall conference record will earn the CAA’s automatic berth to the NCAA FCS playoffs. Should the two division champions finish with the same record, a tiebreaking policy will be used to determine the conference’s automatic qualifier.
CAA teams will be permitted to play up to two non-conference games, including a non-conference game against a team that would otherwise be a league opponent. According to the NCAA, non-conference competitions can begin as early as Jan. 23.
“All of our institutions know that today’s announcement is simply the first step in the planning process associated with playing football on each of our campuses in the Spring,” CAA Commissioner Joe D’Antonio said in a release. “Each member institution, as well as the Conference office, has additional protocols that must be finalized and approved in order to ensure a safe return to the field. Our goal in creating this unique scheduling format was to implement a competitive model while also trying to reduce the risks associated with travel as much as we could.”
In July, the CAA announced its decision to suspend conference play in the fall due to continuing concerns brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, while expressing a commitment to conduct the season in the spring.
The NCAA Board of Directors recently approved a revised format for the NCAA FCS playoffs, which will feature 16 teams with 11 automatic qualifiers and five at-large berths. The playoffs are set to begin on Saturday, April 24, with a champion being crowned in Frisco, Texas on May 14, 15 or 16.
UAlbany went 9-5 in 2019 and reached the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2011.