FCS Coaches Like Eagles as No. 1 Team Too

First game is less than two weeks away, and results of the final preseason poll are in

The final preseason rankings have been announced, and the Eastern Washington University football program is ready to start working on next year’s preseason rankings.

The Eagles received 23 of the 28 first-place votes to earn 687 points overall and have been ranked first in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Preseason Coaches Poll released Monday (Aug. 22). Last week, the Eagles were ranked No. 1 in The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason Top 25, gaining 90 of the 140 first-place votes.

“Next year at this time I would like to see us up near the top again,” explained Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin, whose team finished No. 1 in both polls last season after winning the 2010 NCAA Division I title. “It means you’ve done good things the year before. We love the fact we are No. 1 and appreciate the recognition.”

Eastern returns 15 starters from last year’s team that won the NCAA Division I title and finished with a school-record 13 wins and just two losses. Twelve Eagle players have garnered preseason honors, including seven who have received All-America honors at the NCAA FCS level. The Eagles open the season Sept. 3 – the first of three-straight road games to begin the season.

Appalachian State, which finished the 2010 season at No. 4, earned one first-place vote and a total of 617 points, placing the Mountaineers in the No. 2 spot.  Georgia Southern received three first-place votes after making a run to the national semifinals and begins the 2011 season at No. 3. William & Mary is fourth and Delaware, which Eastern defeated 20-19 in the national championship game, rounds out the top five.

Big Sky Conference rival Montana State is No. 6, and Montana is 12th. Eastern plays those two teams on Sept. 24 and Sept. 17, respectively, to open league play for the Eagles. Other Big Sky schools receiving votes in the poll included Sacramento State (66), Northern Arizona (3) and Weber State (3). Non-conference foe Cal Poly received 71 votes.

The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), and is administered by the Southern Conference.

“I don’t mention it at all to our team, but it’s a great thing for our program and it’s what we’ve set as our vision,” added Baldwin of the preseason rankings. “We’ve been successful for a lot of years, but we’re always trying to take our success to another level. If you are truly going after that level of success, you are going to have preseason rankings to live up to and, quote, unquote, have pressure to live up to it. That comes with the territory.”

 

FCS Preseason Coaches Poll - August 22, 2011

Team (No. 1 Votes)

2010 Record

Points

Previous Ranking

1. Eastern Washington (23)

13-2

687

1

2. Appalachian State (1)

10-2

617

4

3. Georgia Southern (3)

10-5

615

6

4. William & Mary (1)

8-4

614

8

5. Delaware

12-3

559

2

6. Montana State

9-3

540

11

7. Northern Iowa

7-5

448

18

8. Wofford

10-3

431

5

9. Jacksonville State

9-3

425

12

10. New Hampshire

8-5

415

7

11. North Dakota State

9-5

392

9

12. Montana

7-4

318

21

13. Villanova

9-5

276

3

14. Stephen F. Austin

9-3

265

10

15. Lehigh

10-3

259

14

16. James Madison

6-5

226

NR

17. Southern Illinois

5-6

181

NR

18. Liberty

8-3

179

19

19. Richmond

6-5

177

NR

20. McNeese State

6-5

170

NR

21. South Carolina State

9-3

131

17

22. Central Arkansas

7-4

130

NR

23. Chattanooga

6-5

113

NR

24. Bethune-Cookman

10-2

84

15

T24. Penn

91

84

16

 

Others receiving votes (points in parentheses): Western Illinois (72); Cal Poly (71); Southeast Missouri State (68); Southern Utah (67); Sacramento State (66); Murray State (50); Jacksonville (46); Eastern Kentucky (41); UC Davis (22); Colgate (21); Central Connecticut State (19); Stony Brook (18); Indiana State (15); Harvard (14); Dayton (13); Jackson State (13); Illinois State (11); South Dakota State (10); Florida A&M (9); Coastal Carolina (9); Sam Houston State (9); Elon (8); Grambling State (8); Northern Arizona (3); Weber State (3);Northwestern (2).

 
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