The Colby College football team is 2-6, but that doesn’t matter. Bowdoin is 1-7, but that doesn’t matter either. This week on Mayflower Hill, it’s championship week.

For the first time since 2013, the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin championship is at stake in the Colby-Bowdoin game. Five years ago, Bowdoin’s win over Colby meant the series ended in a three-way tie. This season, with each team owning a win over Bates, Saturday’s winner claims the title.

“It’s a championship game. There’s a trophy. I think that’s really special in regards to a league within a league,” said Colby head coach Jack Cosgrove, who will complete his first season with the Mules Saturday after more than two decades coaching the University of Maine. “This is my first go-round with it. I recognized it from afar for all those years and I know how important it is to the schools.”

Colby beat Bates, 21-6, two weeks ago. Bowdoin beat the Bobcats last week, 31-14. Bowdoin hasn’t won the CBB outright since 2010. For Colby, the wait has been even longer. The Mules last won the CBB championship in 2005, which was the final season in a run of dominance that saw Colby win the title five times in six seasons.

For the Colby seniors, the baker’s dozen years since the last CBB win is too long. Senior captain Don Vivian, a safety, said the team quickly put last week’s 48-0 loss at Tufts in the past and focused on the Polar Bears.

“It’s tough to understand coming off a tough loss like that at Tufts to really refocus and put yourself in a championship week mindset. I think as the week has gone on, we’ve really put ourselves in the mindset that this is a championship game, and not a lot of teams have the opportunity to do this,” Vivian said. “This is my first opportunity in four years (to win the CBB) and I can’t wait to play. It’s Bowdoin’s first chance to do it in a while as well. It’s an exciting time for Colby football.”

Thirteen seasons is the longest Colby has gone without a CBB title since the series began in 1965 with the dissolution of the state series, which included Maine in the rivalry. In each of the last four seasons, Bates had clinched the CBB before Colby and Bowdoin played each other, making the game worth nothing more than glorified bragging rights. This time, with the trophy on the line, there is more excitement surrounding the game. Vivian said the seniors received an email from alum Connor Clancy Wednesday night, wishing them luck. Cosgrove has fielded calls and emails from alumni all week.

“They don’t care about the Tufts game. The main message is go beat Bowdoin,” Vivian said. “That’s what it has to be.”

• • •

After back-to-back wins over Hamilton and Bates, Cosgrove was surprised with last week’s 48-0 loss at Tufts. The Mules had a good week of practice, he said, and were showing improvement.

“I really felt there was great progress, and then we got handled last week,” Cosgrove said. “Boy, they just really overpowered us. They just mauled us, took it to us. We’re talking about the elite teams in the league. We’re not there yet.”

As Cosgrove pointed out, the Mules didn’t aid the Jumbos with turnovers. Each team coughed up the ball once. It came down to Colby simply being unable to move the ball against the Tufts defense that is ranked third in the conference and 23rd in the nation. Tufts gained 488 yards to Colby’s 124, holding the Mules to nine first downs.

A bright spot for Colby is the continued solid play of freshman quarterback Matt Hersch, who leads the NESCAC in completion percentage at 61.1 percent (129 for 211).

• • •

Husson clinched a third straight Eastern Collegiate Football Conference title with last week’s 63-2 win over Gallaudet. As the Eagles wait to find out who they will face in the first round of the NCAA Division III playoffs, they’ll take to the road for a tough non-conference game at Plymouth State University.

The game at Plymouth replaced a conference game against Mt. Ida that was lost when Mt. Ida closed over the summer. The Panthers are 6-3, and while they cannot earn an NCAA playoff spot, they still have a chance to earn a bid to one of the ECAC’s postseason bowl games. Plymouth has won four games in a row.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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