Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) football coaches and media relation directors have picked the defending champion UMaine Black Bears to finish third in the league this fall. James Madison University is the overwhelming choice to finish in first place.

The CAA is holding its annual Media Day in Baltimore today and the preseason poll kicks off the events.

Both JMU and UMaine have new head coaches. The Dukes return 19 of the the 22 starters from a year ago. The Black Bears have eight returnees on defense plus several returning starters on offense, including QB Chris Ferguson. Maine finished last year ranked #4 in the national poll after losing to Eastern Washington in the semi-final round of the NCAA playoffs.

The Towson Tigers were pick as the #2 team, led by their senior QB Tom Flacco.

  1. James Madison (20 first-place votes)         238
  2. Towson (3 first-place votes)                         217
  3. Maine (1 first-place vote)                            201
  4. Elon                                                                164
  5. Delaware                                                        162
  6. Stony Brook                                                    151
  7. New Hampshire                                              109
  8. Rhode Island                                                   104
  9. Villanova                                                           84
  10. Richmond                                                          62
  11. William & Mary                                                  58
  12. UAlbany                                                             34

NOTES: The Black Bears have five players named to the CAA Preseason All-Conference Team, including Earnest Edwards who was selected as both a wide receiver and special teams player...UMaine opens its season August 30th vs Sacred Heart. The Bears play their first CAA game September 14th vs Towson at Alfond Stadium.