Article written by Pat Clifton and published on Friday, 6 September 2013.
The Empire Conference was arguably the most competitive of any in DI-AA last year. Two teams were tied with 7-2-1 records atop the standings at the end of the regular season, three teams were deadlocked for third and two teams finished at .500. In fact, only three of the conference’s 11 teams finished with losing records.
Empire play begins in earnest again this weekend, and is expected to be just as competitive as last year. That’s already been partially evidenced, as Brockport, who finished second in the league last year, beat Kings Point, who second-to-last in 2012, by just nine points last weekend.
“Based on what I saw from last year, and just speaking with a couple of the coaches, I see things kind of being tremendously competitive,” said Stony Brook coach Jerry Mirro. “That’s what I’m seeing. With Brockport, obviously, Bonaventure, big time, Buffalo, and we’ve got Syracuse next week, so I’m worried about them up there.”
The Seawolves open up Friday against Fordham, who went 0-10 last season, but the Rams were about as competitive as an 0-10 team can be. They lost five games by six points or less, including to conference champion St. Bonaventure.
“They’re returning about 85-percent, as I understand it, so I’m not overlooking them at all, not at all, that’s for sure,” said Mirro of Fordham. “The kids are looking forward to it. Obviously, because it’s the first game, getting some contact with new faces.”
Elsewhere in the Empire this weekend, Syracuse squares off with Rutgers, Buffalo takes on Kings Point and Binghamton travels to Iona.