(Stats Perform) - There's a different feeling across CAA Football heading into its 75th anniversary season this fall, and it's not only because of what's new to the league, but from what's gone.
The CAA has become the largest FCS league, with newcomers Hampton and Monmouth lifting to it 13 members this season and North Carolina A&T on its way next year to make it 14. The race has long been a war of attrition, but the departure of James Madison to the FBS level will really make the team picked, say, sixth, seventh or eighth even more resemble the favorite in the conference's preseason poll, an honor that was bestowed on Villanova on Thursday.
Villanova (10-3, 7-1) shared the CAA title with James Madison last season, defeating the Dukes in the head-to-head matchup. Not a lot of teams could claim that in recent years as the national power captured 42 of their final 45 regular-season conference games, adding three more wins over CAA brethren in the playoffs since 2015. JMU at least shared the conference title in six of its final seven CAA seasons (Maine won in 2018).