Eastern Football Ranked 12th in TSN Preseason Poll - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eastern Football Ranked 12th in TSN Preseason Poll

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by Big Sky Conference

OGDEN, Utah (August 12, 2012) -  Three Big Sky Conference teams are ranked in the Sports Network Preseason Top 25 poll, which was released Monday.

Two-time defending Big Sky Conference co-champion Montana State is ranked fourth. The Bobcats received three first-place votes and 3,217 points.

Montana, which advanced to the 2011 semifinals, is 11th. The Grizzlies earned 2,018 points.

Eastern Washington, the 2010 national champion, is 12th after receiving 1,897 points.

sam Houston State opens the season as the top-ranked squad. The Bearkats finished 14-1, falling to North Dakota State in the national championship game. Sam Houston State of the Southland Conference received 79 first-place votes and 3,708 total points.

Defending national champion North Dakota State is ranked second with 59 first-place votes and 2,625 total points. Georgia Southern of the Southern Conference is ranked third. The Eagles earned six first-place votes and 3,249 total points.

Montana State, coached by Rob Ash, has advanced to the playoffs each of the past two seasons. The Bobcats were selected by the coaches and media to the win the 2012 Big Sky Conference Championship.

Montana State is led by junior quarterback DeNarius McGhee, a two-time Walter Payton Award finalists. The Bobcat defense is led by senior linebacker Jody Owens and senior defensive tackle Zach Minter. Montana State finished the 2011 season 10-3 and ranked seventh in the final Sports Network Poll.

Perennial FCS power Montana finished 11-3 in 2011, falling to Sam Houston State in the semifinals. The Grizzlies, under the direction of first-year coach Mick Delaney, earned 2,018 total points.

Eastern Washington, which won six of its final seven games in 2011, received 1,897 points. Beau Baldwin's Eagles lost 2011 Walter Payton Award winner Bo Levi Mitchell at quarterback, but will replace him with SMU transfer Kyle Padron.

The Eagles are loaded at wide receiver with the return of Nicholas Edwards, Brandon Kaufman and Greg Herd. The trio has combined for 404 catches for 5,451 yards with 56 touchdowns.

The Big Sky Conference consists of 13 football-playing members with the additions of Southern Utah, North Dakota, Cal Poly and UC Davis.

Six other Sky teams received votes in the poll, but didn't crack the top 25. Northern Arizona earned 259 points, second among teams not in the poll. Portland State (73), North Dakota (68), Southern Utah (54), Idaho State (3) and Sacramento State (3) also received votes.

The 2012 season begins on Thursday, Aug. 30, with eight teams in action. The other five will open on Saturday, Sept. 1.

The first conference games will be played on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Twelve Big Sky Conference games will be televised on ROOT SPORTS, starting with Montana's game against Northern Arizona on Sept. 22.

A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select the Top 25 each season. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24 points, all the way down to one point for a 25th-place vote.

During the regular season, the Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon, except for the final weekend of the regular season, when it will be released Sunday morning, Nov. 18, prior to the selection of the FCS playoff field.

The Sports Network will release a final Top 25 following the FCS championship game, which will be held Jan. 5 in Frisco.

Sports Network

Preseason Top 25

 

Team (First-place votes) 2011 Record         Points

1. Sam Houston State (79) 14-1                          3,708

2. North Dakota State (59)                14-1                          2,625

3. Georgia Southern (6)     11-3                          3,249

4. Montana State (3)         10-3                        3,217

5. James Madison (3)          8-5                          2,812

6. Appalachian State (1)     8-4                          2,800

7. Towson                              9-3                          2,674

8. Old Dominion                   10-3                        2,484

9. Northern Iowa                  10-3                        2,168

10. Wofford                           8-4                          2,080

11. Montana                          11-3                         2,018

12. Eastern Washington    6-5                          1,897

13. Youngstown State (1)    6-5                          1,860

14. New Hamsphire              8-4                          1,857

15. Delaware                         7-4                          1,810

16. Lehigh                              11-2                          1,514

17. Stony Brook                    9-4                          1,339

18. Eastern Kentucky           7-5                          1,055

19. Illinois State                     7-4                          1,052

20. Stephen F. Austin         6-5                          863

21. Maine                               9-4                          721

22. Jacksonville State         7-4                          625

23. Indiana State                  6-5                          522

24. Central Arkansas           9-4                          508

25. Harvard                            9-1                           477

Others receiving votes: Murray State 292, Northern Arizona 259, Norfolk State 222, Chattanooga 191, Liberty 150, South Carolina State 137, Bethune-Cookman 134, McNeese State 127, Grambling State 87, Tennessee Tech 77, Portland State 73, North Dakota 68, Alabama State 66, Jackson State 63, Southern Illinois 63, William & Mary 59, Southern Utah 54, Georgia State 49, Furman 43, Albany 39, Richmond 31, Villanova 30, Penn 16, Duquesne 14, South Dakota State 10, San Diego 9, Elon 9, Drake 8, Holy Cross 7, Prairie View A&M 6, South Dakota 6, Alabama A&M 4, Southeast Missouri 4, Georgetown 3, Idaho State 3, Sacramento State 3, Cornell 2, Bryant 1, Eastern Illinois 1, Jacksonville 1, Missouri State 1, Samford 1, UT Martin 1, The Citadel 1, Western Illinois 1.

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