RELATED: William & Mary Football Preview
Here are game-by-game predictions for the Tribe, who are ranked No. 7 in HERO Sports’ FCS Preseason Top 25.
Campbell is an intriguing team in its first season in the CAA. Last year, the Camels went 5-6 overall and 2-3 in the Big South. But they landed a top FCS recruiting class for the second year in a row and have brought in 17 FBS transfers this offseason.
This opener will tell us a lot about Campbell and how all this talent gels. But I don’t expect a W&M loss here.
W&M should roll Wofford, who has gone 1-10 in 2021 and 3-8 last year.
at Charleston Southern
CSU has some returning talent, and it was quite competitive in most games last year despite going 2-8. Still, W&M is too loaded to drop this road game.
The schedule beefs up now with the crazy week-to-week play in the CAA. But how much does it beef up? Thanks to the 15-team CAA and its unbalanced scheduling, W&M got a helluva draw. The Tribe avoids playoff contenders Delaware, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, plus a Villanova team eyeing a bounce-back season.
Maine went 2-9 overall and 2-6 in the CAA last year. A 4-0 start looks very likely for W&M.
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at Elon (Received Votes)
William & Mary’s lone regular-season loss last season was vs. Elon (35-31). Elon finished 8-4 and reached the playoffs.
Many FCS prognosticators expect Elon to take a step back this year. The Tribe will be favored here, but can’t get caught looking ahead to the next week’s massive showdown. With 15 offensive and defensive starters returning from last year’s squad, the veteran team avoids a letdown performance.
To me, this is the most likely FCS over Power Five win. An in-state opponent, winning here would be huge for W&M, both in recruiting and also in playoff seed positioning. The Tribe may be lacking in its number of ranked FCS wins compared to other seedable teams.
Virginia has been down recently, going 3-7 last year. This is going to be a tight game. And it’s going to be the best gauge for us on W&M and how good the team is. Give me W&M for its second FBS win in two years.
A bye week comes at a great time before the Towson game. It gives the Tribe time to recover after battling a P5 opponent. This is also Homecoming for W&M.
Towson will be an interesting team to watch, now led by head coach Pete Shinnick, who guided the University of West Florida to a D2 national championship in 2019. Picked ninth in the CAA preseason poll, though, it’s going to be a building year for Towson.
The CAA is always good for a surprise result or a crazy comeback every week. And this is the week W&M gets knocked off.
Do I think Monmouth is better than W&M? No. Do I think Monmouth will make the playoffs? No. But a season has highs and lows, and this seems like a game the Tribe trip up. And it’s not like Monmouth isn’t a fine squad. The Hawks should be decent in 2023, led by elite All-American RB Jaden Shirden. They went 3-5 in their first year in the CAA last fall, and four of those losses were by 10 points or less.
UAlbany could give some teams a scare behind the arm of standout QB Reese Poffenbarger. But two upset losses in a row just don’t seem likely for the Tribe.
Hampton is taking its lumps. Last year, it went 1-7 in its first season in the CAA. And this preseason, the Pirates were voted to finish last in the conference’s preseason poll.
vs No. 23 Richmond
The Spiders finished 9-4 overall last year and nearly beat No. 2 seed Sac State in the second round of the playoffs. They return 13 offensive and defensive starters. Their defensive front seven should be strong to help somewhat slow down W&M’s great rushing attack. But the offense has to replace its starting quarterback, top running back, and top two pass-catchers.
This game could potentially earn Richmond a playoff bid. Or it could secure a high playoff seed for the Tribe. I have too many questions about Richmond’s offense right now to predict a W&M loss. The Tribe have experience all over their two-deep, and a 10-1 regular-season record with its talent and this schedule is more than attainable.
Regular-Season Record Prediction: 10-1