BALTIMORE — Despite a record of 9-4 last season, the University of Maine football team was picked to finish sixth out of 11 teams in a vote of coaches and media relations personnel in the Colonial Athletic Association as the annual media day event kicked off here today at M&T Bank Stadium in downtown Baltimore.

Defending champion Towson got 12 first-place votes and is predicted to repeat as CAA champs following a surprising 2011 season. The Tigers were followed by Old Dominion (7 first-place votes), James Madison (1), New Hampshire (2), Delaware and Maine.

The bottom five teams were William and Mary, Villanova, Richmond, Rhode Island and Georgia State. ODU will not be eligible for the CAA title since it is leaving for Conference USA after the 2012-13 academic year.

Maine had four players named today to the CAA Preseason All-Conference team on offense: senior wide receiver Maurice McDonald, junior tight end Justin Perillo and senior offensive linemen Chris Howley and Josh Spearin, a graduate of Bonny Eagle High School.

Maine’s Michael Cole, a junior, was named to the Preseason All-Conference team as a defensive lineman. McDonald had 58 catches and five touchdowns in nine games last year while Perillo played in all 13 games and had 51 catches with four touchdowns.

Towson sophomore running back Terrance West was picked as the preseason offensive player of the year and New Hampshire senior linebacker Matt Evans was tabbed as the preseason defensive player of the year.

A team from the CAA has played for the national title in four of the last six seasons.
Maine was 9-4 overall and 6-2 in the CAA last year, with its season coming to an end with a 35-23 loss at Georgia Southern in post-season play after downing Appalachian State in its first playoff game. Jack Cosgrove will be in his 20th season as Maine head coach this coming season.

Maine begins the season Sept. 8 at Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The first CAA game for the Black Bears is Sept. 29 at home with Villanova.

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