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Five CAA Football teams were ranked in the HERO Sports FCS Preseason Top 25 poll that was released on Wednesday, which was tied for the most teams of any conference.
Defending CAA champion James Madison was ranked #5, followed by #8 Villanova, #15 Delaware, #17 New Hampshire and #24 UAlbany.
James Madison welcomes back five starters on both offense and defense from last year’s 14-2 squad that advanced to the FCS National Championship game for the third time in the past four years. The Dukes, who finished the 2019 campaign ranked #2 in the nation, have reached the FCS playoffs for six consecutive years.
Villanova returns 10 starters on offense and eight starters on defense from last season’s 9-4 squad that earned a berth in the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2016. Among the returnees for the Wildcats is quarterback Daniel Smith, who accounted for 48 total touchdowns a year ago.
Delaware brings back an experienced team that includes 10 returning starters on defense and seven regulars on offense. The Blue Hens are looking to make a return to the FCS playoffs after making the field in 2018.
New Hampshire features seven starters back on offense and seven on defense from last year’s 6-5 team. The Wildcats, who made 14 consecutive FCS playoff appearances from 2004-17, welcome legendary head coach Sean McDonnell back to the sidelines after missing last season with health issues.
UAlbany looks to continue to the momentum after posting a 9-5 overall mark, a best-ever second-place CAA finish, and reaching the second round of the FCS playoffs for the first time in 2019. Five starters return on offense and defense for the Great Danes, including All-America running back Karl Mofor.
Elon was one of nine teams that was among others receiving votes.
CAA Football’s five ranked teams was tied with the Missouri Valley Football Conference and Big Sky Conference as the three leagues accounted for 15 of the 25 squads in the preseason poll.
HERO Sports FCS Preseason Top 25 Poll
1. North Dakota State
2. South Dakota State
3. Northern Iowa
4. Sacramento State
5. James Madison
6. Weber State
9. Montana State
10. Central Arkansas
11. Kennesaw State
12. Illinois State
13. Austin Peay
17. New Hampshire
18. Eastern Washington
19. North Carolina A&T
20. Florida A&M
21. The Citadel
22. Southern Illinois
23. Sam Houston State