The CAA has become the juggernaut conference of the Football Championship Subdivision, landing a team in the national title game in four of the past five years.
Transfers from the Football Bowl Subdivision have been a major contributor to that dominance. The University of Delaware is starting its fourth FBS transfer quarterback in six seasons, and the Blue Hens, Hofstra University and the University of Massachusetts all have more than 10 Bowl Championship Series school transfers on their rosters.
As for the College of William and Mary? Only one transfer, junior safety Robert Livingston. Developing four-year players does have its advantages, however, as it creates a more tightly knit group.
“They know each other, they know the system, they know the tradition and they know the school,” Head Coach Jimmye Laycock said. “They have more invested in it.”
The pressure is on this year’s senior class to capitalize on that investment: Its members are the first to have not played during the Tribe’s 2004 run to the national semifinals, and they have three straight losing seasons on their records. They’ve got the tools to change that this season with a star under center (senior quarterback Jake Phillips), playmakers spreading the field and an experienced defense with plenty to prove.
If it can get the job done, the Tribe just might throw a wrench in the FBS transfer model and find itself amidst a playoff run four years in the making.