Back around Labor Day there was quite a bit of positive buzz around U Maine football. Many felt there was much to build off from the prior 6-5 campaign. Fans might be treated to not only a winning season but perhaps another playoff appearance!
Many in the media including some of my fellow members of The Drive on 92.9FM bought full shares of what was being sold.
But just like the first game, the last game ended with Maine grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory. The Black Bears posted their fourth losing season in the last six, and sixth sub .500 effort in a decade.
"Oh but they could have won at UNH." "They should have won the finale vs Stony Brook." "Blah blah blah.."
Should have. Could have. Would have. But they didn’t.
Sadly they really don’t have much to hang their helmets on after this hard fought season.
Sure, they beat the crap out of Rhode Island, the worst program in the country They also took out powerhouse Bryant, juggernaut William and Mary and mighty Albany. Combined records of these four victims: 15-29.
The high point of the season might actually be the James Madison loss. JMU was #1 and Maine played them wicked tough in defeat.
After that game, the Bears fell into a black hole and lost to Villanova 31-0. That's the same Nova team that actually lost to Rhode Island, which is something almost no team has been able to say in multiple presidential terms.
So, the season is done. For the seventh time in the last ten years there are no playoffs for U Maine. Even with the expanded field.
Four teams from the CAA did make it to the post season including New Hampshire. For the 14th straight season. The Wildcats are 7-4 and will host a game.
Wait!? Did I just write 14th straight season? For the little school in tiny Durham? I am going to ask this question, for real, as I don't know the answer. What the bloody heck do they have that we here in Maine don't?? And how do we get it? Even some of it?
I was always told by the Black Bears longtime legendary radio play by play guru that football has the best chance of bringing the next national championship back to Orono.
Maybe. But most years the Black Bears don't even make the playoffs. When they have made the dance in the last 10 years they are just 1-3, including a drubbing by rival UNH in 2013. I'm really starting to dislike our neighbors to the south.
Will next year be different? Hope will spring eternal again next fall. Could. Should. Will?
Seems like UNH will be ready to go. Will U Maine?