The season thus far has been a struggle for the Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin football teams. Each is 0-6, but for each, the important weeks of the season begin now, with the start of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin rivalry games.

“Regardless on how the season is going, you have a season within a season, and an opportunity to play for a championship in a great rivalry game. It’s been a great week and a fun week with these guys,” Colby head coach Jonathan Michaeles said after Thursday’s practice.

The series begins Saturday with Bates at Colby. It continues next week when Bowdoin plays at Bates, and concludes on Nov. 11 when Colby plays at Bowdoin. Bates has won the CBB title in each of the last three seasons, and four of the last five. In 2013, the series was a three-way tie. Colby last won the CBB in 2005, while Bowdoin’s last title came in 2010.

As usual when CBB time rolls around, Michaeles has heard from many alumni this week. He expects to see many at Saturday’s game.

“These guys (the Colby football team) have an appreciation of being a part of something that’s bigger than just us. That’s the beauty of a tradition. We get to play for ourselves, but we get to play for a lot of other people who can’t strap it up anymore,” Michaeles said.

If recent tradition holds up, Saturday’s game will be close. Each of the last three Colby-Bates games have been decided by a touchdown or less. Last season, Bates took a 21-19 win. In 2015, the Bobcats beat Colby 10-9.

“We absolutely know what we’re going to get from Bates. They’re going to come here ready to give us everything they have. It’s going to be a physical, knockdown, dragout type of game,” Michaeles said.

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Offense has been a struggle for Colby all season, but if the Mules can look to a positive as they approach Saturday’s rivalry game, it’s this: Colby is coming off its best offensive effort of the season in last week’s 27-24 loss at Hamilton.

The Mules put up 336 yards of offense, with quarterback Jack O’Brien completing 68 percent of his passes (28 of 41) for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Eight players caught a pass for Colby, with Mark Snyder catching seven for 99 yards and two touchdowns. The Mules had 18 first downs and converted 44 percent (7 of 16) on third down.

Michaeles said the main reason for the offensive success was the development of the offensive line. Hit by injuries this season, the starting unit of tackles Shane Normandeau and Travon Bradford, guards Alex Breach and Brandon Troisi, and center Luke Borda started to gel last week, Michaeles said.

“They played as a unit last week, and that’s where it starts. It allowed us to get the ball down the field and guys to make some explosive plays in the pass game. We’ve got to continue to build on that,” Michaeles said.

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Husson has rolled through the Eastern Collegeiate Football Conference the last two seasons. The Eagles are 4-0 in conference play this season, outscoring league opponents by an average score of 44-13. Husson brings a 12 game conference win streak into Saturday’s game at Anna Maria.

Saturday’s game is Husson’s final road trip of the regular season. The Eagles (6-1, 4-0 ECFC) can wrap up a second straight conference championship and an NCAA Division III playoff bid with a win at home next week against Alfred State. Husson received three votes in the latest American Football Coaches Association Division III national poll. The Eagles are ranked sixth in the New England coaches poll.

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Husson isn’t the only team with central Maine players that could reach the Division III playoffs. At 5-1 in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference play and 7-1 overall, Plymouth State is on the verge of winning a bid to the tournament. Maine Central Institute grad Eli Bussell is a linebacker on the Panthers, and has 20 tackles.

Plymouth plays at home Saturday against Westfield State (2-6).

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

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Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM