(STATS) – The CAA Football title race is expected to travel right through, and perhaps stop at the border, of the Commonwealth of Virginia again.
On Tuesday, Richmond was installed as the preseason favorite in the CAA preseason poll, with William & Mary voted second and James Madison third among the 12 teams. Those three intrastate rivals shared the conference title and qualified for the FCS playoffs last season.
Richmond, which went on to reach the national semifinals in a 10-4 season, also had the most players on the CAA preseason team with seven, led by the two preseason players of the year, junior quarterback Kyle Lauletta (offense) and senior safety David Jones (defense).
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James Madison and William & Mary gained five selections each on the 28-member preseason team.Also notable was Villanova being selected fourth as 32nd-year coach Andy Talley heads into his final season with the Wildcats, the most recent CAA national champions in 2009.
New Hampshire, which has been to the playoffs in 12 straight seasons, was picked fifth, gaining the second-most first-place votes behind Richmond.
CAA FOOTBALL PRESEASON POLL=
Head Coaches and Sports Information Directors Poll=
1. Richmond (19 first-place votes), 283
2. William & Mary (1), 250
3. James Madison, 209
4. Villanova, 197
5. New Hampshire (3), 186
6. Towson, 180
7. Delaware, 171
8. Stony Brook, 111
9. Maine (1), 107
10. Elon, 72
11. Albany, 69
12. Rhode Island, 37
CAA FOOTBALL PRESEASON TEAM=
Offensive Player of the Year – Kyle Lauletta, QB, Richmond
Defensive Player of the Year – David Jones, S, Richmond