Every week will be dedicated to a conference as we break down the top teams, top players and what you need to know about the league heading into the season. We’ll have standings predictions, preseason All-Conference teams, top players to keep an eye on, podcasts and more.
THE REASONING: The No. 1 through No. 6 schools listed below are the ones I had on my HERO Sports Preseason ballot for our Top 25, in that order. However … you can take No. 3 through No. 11 below, throw their school names on scribbled paper and in a hat, and pull them out, one by one. That’s probably just as good a shot at this fall’s order as any. Or why not go alphabetical?
The truth is, this league is good, and it has mega-parity. Two thirds of this league won between five and seven games last year overall. And two thirds of this league finished between 5-3 and 3-5 in CAA play. So if you profess to know what in the hell is going to happen in the CAA this fall, you’re a liar, or you’ve invented a time-warp machine and flashed forward to Thanksgiving time, got the standings and you’re cheating. I do think one defining difference with this morass of talented teams is that elite quarterback play will break the ties. I think a few big-time names will emerge from this pack below and will take their teams above the fray and into the postseason.
I do feel strongly that the best two teams on paper are James Madison and Villanova, but I’m not firm in the order I have that in below, either. And after the first two? Just watch the sparks fly. I’ll be the first one looking for the coaches’ preseason CAA poll that comes out later this summer. I’m sure they’ll feel the same way in trying to rank this, and may just revert to last year’s rankings after they throw their hands up in the air out of frustration.
NOTE: These rankings are a prediction of what the standings will look like at the end of the season. It is the opinion of the author of this story and may differ from the order of our staff’s Top 25 FCS rankings. Conference schedules are taken into consideration.
I began covering the FCS for HERO Sports in the Summer of 2015 and it was love at first sight. It was the perfect blend of two previous career stops -- the approachability and grounded nature of being around high school athletics combined with the high-end talent and impressive fan bases of big-time college football. After stops in the newspaper world and The Sporting News and PARADE Magazine, I'm happy to be here as HERO Sports' FCS Coordinator.