Preseason polls are usually taken with a grain of salt, but for UAlbany to be ranked 20th in the preseason FCS college football poll is a big deal. It’s the first time it has happened under head coach Greg Gattuso. But it also shows the program, still in its early stages of the CAA conference, is getting national recognition before the season has even kicked off. The Great Danes were 7-4 last season and just missed out on making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament, which is the next big step for the Great Danes program.

Behind a rebuilt offensive line, UAlbany will look to lean on perhaps the conference's best running back in Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, who in his own way is somewhat rebuilt for 2017. Ibitokun-Hanks tore his ACL towards the end of last year but has progressed well in the offseason. With Will Brunson getting the chance to start at quarterback this season, the health of wide receivers Zee Roberson and Jordan Crockett will be paramount.