BALTIMORE, Md.—The University of New Hampshire football team was picked to finish second in the North Division of the Colonial Athletic Association, according to the coaches and media poll released Wed. July 25, at the inaugural CAA Media Day held at the ESPN Zone in downtown Baltimore.

The Wildcats were ranked second behind University of Massachusetts, the team that won the conference title in 2006 and went on to play in the FCS championship contest vs. national champion Appalachian State.

UMass received a conference-best 15 first-place votes as the favorite to win the CAA outright, followed in the North by UNH (8 first-place votes), Maine, Northeastern, Hofstra and Rhode Island.

In the South Division, James Madison is the favorite with 11 first-place votes, followed closely by Delaware (10), Towson (1), Richmond, Villanova and William & Mary.

The biggest UNH news of the day was the naming of UNH senior quarterback Ricky Santos (Bellingham, Mass.) as the CAA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. Santos, last year’s Walter Payton Award winner and conference Player of the Year, has passed for over 10,000 yards at UNH and needs just one more TD to break the all-time conference record of 99 career TD passes and reach the 100 mark. He has also completed 67 percent of his passes and will be vying for several NCAA passing records this season.

Also honored by the CAA coaches and media was senior free safety Jeff Pammer (Northampton, Pa.), who finished as UNH’s second-leading tackler in 2006. He is presently poised to break into UNH’s all-time top 10 list for career tackles with 229 for the Wildcats heading into his senior campaign.

Santos and Pammer are members of the 2007 preseason CAA first-team squad. There was no second or third team selected.

The Wildcats have enjoyed great success recently thanks to the performance of both players, as the squad has posted a 30-9 record over the past three seasons and UNH is the only conference team to ever advance to the NCAA quarterfinals three consecutive years.

The ‘Cats have been ranked high this season in national FCS preseason polls. UNH has been placed as high as third in the nation by “Street and Smith’s” and as low as seventh in the major FCS polls.

The 2007 UNH football schedule is tough, with three of the first games being played on the road vs. teams in the south, including an opener with south favorite JMU on Sept. 8, a game at Marshall on Sept. 15th and then its back down to Virginia on Sept. 29th for a contest at Richmond. The home opener for the ‘Cats features a battle for the “Granite Bowl” vs. cross-state rival Dartmouth on Sept. 22 at Cowell Stadium. Game time is at noon. Tickets for all UNH home games are available online.
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