August 16, 2010

Eagles 13th in The Sports Network Preseason Poll

With opener at Nevada on Sept. 2, Eastern football team starts the 2010 season the same as where it ended in 2009

The Eagles are starting where they ended last season.

The Eastern Washington University football team is ranked 13th in The Sports Network/Fathead.com NCAA Football Championship Subdivision 2010 Top 25 Preseason Poll released Monday (Aug. 16).

A year ago, Eastern was 8-4 and lost to Stephen F. Austin 44-33 in the first round of the FCS Playoffs after finishing as the Big Sky Conference runner-up with a 5-2 record. The Eagles, who entered the 2009 playoffs ranked 13th and ended the season ranked in that position as well, have qualified for the postseason in four of the last six seasons.

Defending FCS champion Villanova is ranked first in the poll, with defending Big Sky champion and FCS runner-up Montana ranking second. Other Big Sky teams in the preseason top 25 include Weber State (19th) and Montana State (24th), with Stephen F. Austin ranked eighth.

Northern Arizona received enough votes to rank 28th, and other league schools also receiving votes included Portland State (18) and Idaho State (15). Southern Utah, Eastern’s non-conference opponent on Nov. 13, received 14.

Eastern plays Montana on Sept. 18 in the league opener for both schools, which will also be the inaugural game on Eastern’s new red Sprinturf surface at what will become Roos Field (formerly Woodward Field) in Cheney, Wash. The Eagles play at Montana State the following week on Sept. 25 and at Weber State the week after that on Oct. 2.

Eastern opens its season Sept. 2 at Western Athletic Conference foe Nevada, followed by the “Showdown on the Sound” against NCAA Division II Central Washington on Sept. 11 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Wash.

Several preseason publications also have the Eagles ranked as high as 12th (Athlon), as well as rankings of 17th (Lindy’s) and 21st (The Sporting News). The FCS Coaches Poll will be released later this week.

 

2010 Preseason Rankings

The Sports Network (preseason): 1. Villanova; 2. Montana; 13. Eastern Washington; 19. Weber State; 24: Montana State; 28. Northern Arizona;

Athlon (preseason): 1. Villanova;4.Montana; 12. Eastern Washington; 18. Montana State. 

Lindy's Football Preview (preseason): 1. Villanova; 4. Montana; 15. Montana State; 17. Eastern Washington.

The Sporting News (preseason): 1. Villanova; 2. Montana; 12. Montana State; 21. Eastern Washington.

Phil Steele's Football (preseason): 1. William & Mary; 4. Montana; 9. Northern Arizona; 16. Weber State; 20. Montana State.

 

 

More on The Sports Network Preseason Poll

The Villanova Wildcats, who won the Football Championship Subdivision title for the first time last December, were installed as a prohibitive No. 1 in the Preseason Top 25. They gained 104 of the 126 first-place votes and 3,112 points.

Montana, which has lost in the last two FCS championship games, was the No. 2 team in the poll with 2,899 points, receiving nine first-place votes. The Grizzlies were followed in the top five by Appalachian State, William & Mary and Southern Illinois.

Villanova will be tested by the competition in the Colonial Athletic Association, which landed the most teams in the Preseason Top 25 with six, all in the top 16. In addition to Villanova and William & Mary, Richmond was sixth, New Hampshire 10th, James Madison 15th and Delaware 6th.

CAA Football has had a national finalist in each of the past four seasons and six of the last seven, including national champions Delaware (2003), James Madison (2004) and Richmond (2008) to go along with coach Andy Talley's Wildcats last season.

Villanova returns a wealth of talent, led by 2009 TSN First Team All-Americas Ben Ijalana at left tackle and Matt Szczur at wide receiver and kickoff return, as well as fellow seniors Chris Whitney at quarterback and Terence Thomas at linebacker.

"In my particular feeling, the (2009) season was phenomenal," Villanova head coach Andy Talley said. "We had talent, we also had a certain amount of luck. We stayed pretty injury-free, and had the ability to maybe take that thing the whole way. And everything broke just right for us. Going into 2010, we have the same mixture of players. We have a good team that could be capable of defending. However, the question remains if we have the chemistry to do what we did last year and if this team will come together."

After Richmond at No. 6, the Top 10 followed with No. 7 Elon, No. 8 Stephen F. Austin, No. 9 South Dakota State and No. 10 New Hampshire.

The second 10 starts at No. 11 with defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion South Carolina State, followed by McNeese State, Eastern Washington, Northern Iowa, James Madison, Delaware, Jacksonville State, Eastern Illinois, Weber State and Prairie View A&M.

Big South favorite Liberty was No. 21, followed by Colgate, Penn, Montana State and Holy Cross.

During the regular season, the Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon, except for on the final weekend when it will be released on Sunday morning, Nov. 21, due to its use as an official tool by the NCAA Division I Football Committee in selecting the 20-team playoff field.

The Sports Network and Fathead.com will release a final Top 25 following the FCS championship game, which will be held Jan. 7 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas.

 

The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top-25 College Football Poll

Team (First-place votes)

Record

Points

Previous Rank

1. Villanova Wildcats (104)

14-1

3,112

1

2. Montana Grizzlies (9)

14-1

2,899

2

3. Appalachian State Mountaineers (8)

11-3

2,857

3

4. William & Mary Tribe (3)

11-3

2,631

4

5. Southern Illinois Salukis (1)

11-2

2,569

6

6. Richmond Spiders (1)

11-2

2,317

5

7. Elon Phoenix

9-3

2,243

9

8. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks

10-3

2,041

10

9. South Dakota State Jackrabbits

8-4

1,863

11

10. New Hampshire Wildcats

10-3

1,837

7

11. South Carolina State Bulldogs

10-2

1,607

8

12. McNeese State Cowboys

9-3

1,475

12

13. Eastern Washington Eagles

8-4

1,422

3

14. Northern Iowa Panthers

7-4

1,269

18

15. James Madison Dukes

6-5

1,237

NR

16. Delaware Blue Hens

6-5

879

NR

17. Jacksonville State Gamecocks

8-3

833

16

18. Eastern Illinois Panthers

8-4

762

19

19. Weber State Wildcats

7-5

716

17

20. Prairie View A&M Panthers

9-1

709

15

21. Liberty Flames

8-3

633

22

22. Colgate Raiders

9-2

608

21

23. Penn Quakers

8-2

593

20

24. Montana State Bobcats

7-4

584

NR

25. Holy Cross Crusaders

9-3

560

14

 

Others receiving votes: Illinois State 488, Wofford 311, Northern Arizona 286, Cal Poly 239, Furman 229, Texas State 206, Florida A&M 153, Lafayette 98, Maine 88, Harvard 85, Eastern Kentucky 81, UC Davis 61, Samford 61, Massachusetts 45, Southeastern Louisiana 45, Alabama A&M 45, Missouri State 40, Central Arkansas 39, Norfolk State 28, Lehigh 27, Old Dominion 25, Grambling State 24, Davidson 23, Georgia Southern 22, Princeton 21, Dayton 20, Portland State 18, Chattanooga 17, Youngstown State 15, Idaho State 15, Southern Utah 14, Northwestern State 12, Indiana State 12, Stony Brook 12, Hampton 12, Gardner-Webb 11, Tennessee Tech 9, Robert Morris 9, North Dakota 8, Southern 8, Central Connecticut State 7, Morgan State 7, Jackson State 7, North Carolina A&T 6, VMI 5, North Dakota State 5, Austin Peay 4, Butler 4, Alcorn State 3, Jacksonville 2, Texas Southern 2, Brown 2, Howard 2, Cornell 1, Coastal Carolina 1.

 

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