No matter where you looked with the CAA Football preseason poll on Tuesday, you could usually say, “Can’t believe they were only picked …”

Just not at the top of the 12-member FCS power conference, where James Madison was the preseason pick once again, and embraced the bull’s-eye.

“I think that’s who we are, year in, year out – it’s what we do, we win, we win championships,” third-year coach Curt Cignetti said. “I think guys come here expecting that. There’s a high standard and expectation level and a great culture here. Guys really like to compete. I think everybody in this organization is accustomed to these expectations and committed to taking it a step further.”

The Dukes enter the season with a 14-game CAA winning streak and, including playoff games, have won 38 of their last 40 games against conference opponents. They didn’t face Delaware this past spring when both programs were eliminated in the national semifinals, with the Dukes suffering a second-half meltdown against eventual champ Sam Houston.

Running back Percy Agyei-Obese and defensive lineman Mike Greene were selected as the CAA’s preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively, headlining James Madison’s conference-high nine selections on the preseason team.

Optimistic about the upcoming season, Cignetti said, “To me, this feels a lot more like 2019 than 2020.”


Preseason Poll (with spring record unless noted)

1. James Madison (7-1, 3-0), 231 points (15 first-place votes)

2. Delaware (7-1, 4-0), 222 (7)

3. Villanova (2-2, 2-2), 194

4. Richmond (3-1, 3-1), 169 (2)                                                                          

5. New Hampshire (0-1, 0-1), 135

6. Rhode Island (2-1, 2-1), 121

7. Towson (2019: 7-5, 4-4), 115

8. UAlbany (1-3, 1-3), 114

9. Maine (2-2, 2-2), 99

10. Stony Brook (1-3, 1-3), 73

11. William & Mary (1-2, 1-2), 61

12. Elon (1-5, 0-4), 50

Preseason Offensive Player of the Year – James Madison RB Percy Agyei-Obese

Preseason Defensive Player of the Year – James Madison DE Mike Greene