Two was the number for Villanova football when the CAA conference's preseason awards were announced today. The Wildcats were predicted by coaches and sports information directors around the league to finish second in the conference, and two 'Cats were honored on the preseason all-conference team.
New Hampshire was the school selected by most as the likely league champion -- though the preseason poll has rarely picked the actual champion in recent years -- the other Wildcats received 15 out of 24 first-place votes in the poll. Villanova's second-place finish came with just two first-place votes, while Richmond and William & Mary (third and fourth in the poll, respectively) each had three. James Madison was the recipient of one first-place vote, despite finishing 8th in the poll.
Newcomer's Elon, were picked to finish dead-last in 12th place.
In addition, quarterback John Robertson was named the league's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, after following up a top rookie season in 2012 with another impressive run as a sophomore last year. Expectations for the Villanova signal caller are high in his Junior season. In addition to player-of-the-year honors, Robertson was also included as the quarterback on the preseason all-conference team, joined there by offensive linemen Ross Hall and Vince Kowalski.
Robertson was second in the CAA (and ninth in the nation) last season with an average of 305.6 yards of total offense. He was named to the 2014 Walter Payton Award watch list, for the award honoring the best player in FCS football each year -- an honor previously won by Villanova wide receiver Brian Finneran and running back Brian Westbrook. He was also named to the preseason All-America squad by The Sports Network.
William & Mary defensive lineman Mike Reilly was the 2014 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, joined by three teammates on the all-conference team's defense in what should be one of the toughest units in the conference. Villanova did not have a defensive player honored.
2014 CAA FOOTBALL PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH (first-place votes)
1. New Hampshire(15)
4. William and Mary(3)
8. James Madison (1)
9. Stony Brook
11. Rhode Island