“Elevate the Standard.” That’s the motto of the 2019 Maine Black Bear football team. On one hand I get it. For every amazing season like last year, there are a few years where Maine hovers around or below .500. For example UMaine was 10-4 last year but 18-25 with one winning season the four years prior.
So, consistent winning is an admirable goal. Although I have to admit the first time I heard the slogan, it seemed like a big jab at ex Coach Jack Cosgrove and former players.
Be that as it may, the Black Bears will have to “Elevate the Standard” in big way the rest of this season if they want to come close to sniffing another playoff berth. Actually the bar has been set pretty low so far, so this team really has nowhere to go but up. Maine has wins over Sacred Heart, their tomato can home opener opponent, and Colgate who is not polished or minty fresh at 0-5.
This weekend, UMaine found themselves down 30-0 with nine minutes to go in the SECOND QUARTER at #8 Villanova. It’s a bad sign when the game is over with about 40 minutes left to play.
That puts Maine at 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the all important conference play. The Black Bears might have to go 7-0 or at least 6-1 the rest of the way to return to the NCAA playoffs. And with their difficult schedule that won’t be a breeze.
While going into a bye week after a humiliating loss is not the best feeling, Coach Charlton and his staff probably need the full two weeks to get the train back on the tracks.
Let’s play put the rest of the season.
Richmond comes to town on October 12th and Maine should have little trouble squishing the 1-3 Spiders who are tangled up in their own web of ineptness this year.
That puts Maine at 3-3 and 1-2 in CAA play as they next step up to play Liberty in Virginia. The Flames are pretty decent (3-2) and it’s their homecoming so they expect to torch the Black Bears and probably will.
So we’ll put Maine is 3-4 and 1-2. And that means no more losses.
William and Mary comes to town next. It’s going to take more than two people named Bill and Mary to beat UMaine at homecoming in Orono so I give that win to the good guys. So now we’ll say Maine is 4-4 and 2-2. Back to even .500 with four games to play. No margin of error.
The Black Bears hit New York’s capital city to battle the Great Danes on November 2. Albany is average at 3-2 right now. Maine should have the talent to win this game and another loss knocks them out of the playoffs so I say they pull out this one. 5-4 and 3-2.
Maine is at Elon next, a team that has been very good the last couple of years but appears a bit down this season. However they have some easy games coming up and will compile a few wins I think. I hope this is a game Maine wins, but it’s Elon’s Senior Day and I suspect this is a loss. Maine’s record is now 5-5 and 3-3. Not good.
Rhode Island is next followed by the rivalry game at UNH. Maine should whoop the Rams which leaves a toss up at New Hampshire. The Wildcats are rebuilding but have owned Maine for more than a decade. Hard to tell about this one. But even a victory puts Maine at only 7-5 and 5-3 in the conference. With no wins over big boy teams or even ranked CAA teams, UMaine will not be in the playoffs.
So, it’s time to “Elevate the Standard” and run the table. Or at least not lose another CAA game. Because anything less probably means no postseason for this team.