Most FCS fans and analysts knew Colgate would be a major player in the race for the 2018 Patriot League championship. Few probably expected a late-season showdown with Georgetown to carry such major implications for the conference championship.
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Three years removed from a playoff run deep into the heart of the FCS Football bracket, the Colgate Raiders (6-0, 3-0) once again look to be a serious contender to win the Patriot League and play football in December. Led by ever-efficient sophomore quarterback Grant Breneman, Colgate's methodical offense works in tandem with its lights-out defense, creating a synergized football team that is difficult even for power conference teams to overcome. The Raiders rank first nationally in scoring defense (3.8 ppg) and eighth in Time of Possession (33 mpg) and own wins over New Hampshire and William & Mary.
Colgate can tighten its grip on the Patriot League championship (and accompanying playoff berth) with a win this weekend over the only other Patriot League team that hasn't yet lost a conference game. To the great surprise of most fans, that team is the Georgetown Hoyas (4-4, 3-0), who haven't had a winning season since 2011.
Georgetown is getting it done with defense, ranking in the top 20 for both scoring defense and total defense. The offense, which ranked among the five worst in FCS Football in 2017, is better this year too, thanks to first-year OC Rob Spence.
Georgetown is unlikely to beat Colgate this weekend — Vegas has the Raiders as 3-touchdown favorites — but just the fact that the Hoyas are in a position to seize control of the Patriot League this far into the season is a huge step in the right direction for a program that's had some real down years over the last decade. This weekend's game could very well decide who the Patriot League's champion is, but it'll also be an important referendum on how far Georgetown has advanced as a conference contender since this time last year.
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For more on this week's Patriot League showdown, check out the HERO Sports FCS Podcast. We begin talking about marquee Week 9 games at 39:53.
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REVISIT OUR PRESEASON PREVIEWS: Colgate | Georgetown