Panthers Tabbed at No. 7 in The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Preseason Top 25
Courtesy: UNI Athletics Communications  
Release: Tuesday 08/15/2011

The University of Northern Iowa football team has been chosen as the preseason No. 7 FCS team in the nation, according to The Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason Top 25 poll released Monday.

The Panthers were pegged at No. 7 by The Sports Network after coming in at No. 8 in the College Sporting News preseason poll and No. 4 in Phil Steele's College Football Preview. UNI was also chosen as the favorite to defend its 2010 Missouri Valley Football Conference championship.

Reigning FCS champion Eastern Washington earned this year's top spot in the preseason poll. The Eagles were installed as a prohibitive No. 1 by voters, gaining 90 of the 140 first-place votes and 3,377 points in the poll.

Appalachian State, which is coming off its sixth straight season of at least 10 wins and a share of the Southern Conference title, collected 14 first-place votes and was picked second.

William & Mary had six more first-place votes than Appalachian State for 20, while finishing one spot behind at No. 3. Georgia Southern, which had 11 first-place votes, was fourth, and Delaware, which fell to Eastern Washington in the national championship game, was fifth, gaining a pair of first-place votes.

Other Preseason Top 10 teams were No. 6 Montana State, No. 7 Northern Iowa, No. 8 Wofford, No. 9 Jacksonville State and No. 10 New Hampshire (one first-place vote).

North Dakota State led the next 10 at No. 11, followed by No. 12 Montana, No. 13 Lehigh, No. 14 Villanova (two first-place votes), No. 15 James Madison, No. 16 Richmond, No. 17 Stephen F. Austin, No. 18 Central Arkansas, No. 19 Southern Illinois and No. 20 McNeese State.

Chattanooga was selected at No. 21. Next up were No. 22 Liberty, No. 23 South Carolina State, No. 24 Sacramento State and No. 25 Massachusetts, which is playing its final season in the FCS before joining the Mid-American Conference of the FBS next year.

CAA Football had the most teams in the Preseason Top 25 with seven, followed by the Big Sky and Southern conferences with four each, and the Missouri Valley and Southland conferences with three each. The Big South, Mid-Eastern Athletic and Ohio Valley conferences and the Patriot League each had one Top 25 team.

A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select the Top 25.

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. 20, 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.

Team (First-place votes)                                        Record                  Points        Previous Rank

1. Eastern Washington Eagles (90)                    13-2                 3,377               1

2. Appalachian State Mountaineers (14)            10-3                 3,142               4

3. William & Mary Tribe (20)                             8-4                   3,110               10

4. Georgia Southern Eagles (11)                       10-5                 3,095               5

5. Delaware Blue Hens (2)                                12-3                 2,806               2

6. Montana State Bobcats                                9-3                   2,623               11

7. Northern Iowa Panthers                                  7-5                      2,452                    19

8. Wofford Terriers                                          10-3                 2,357               6

9. Jacksonville State Gamecocks                      9-3                   2,028               12

10. New Hampshire Wildcats (1)                      8-5                   2,025               7

11. North Dakota State Bison                           9-5                   1,720               9

12. Montana Grizzlies                                      7-4                   1,668               20

13. Lehigh Mountain Hawks                             10-3                 1,351               14

14. Villanova Wildcats (2)                                9-5                   1,262               3

15. James Madison Dukes                                6-5                   1,247               NR

16. Richmond Spiders                                      6-5                   987                  NR

17. Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks                   9-3                   969                  8

18. Central Arkansas Bears                              7-4                   961                  NR

19. Southern Illinois Salukis                              5-6                   934                  NR

20. McNeese State Cowboys                             6-5                   701                  NR

21. Chattanooga Mocs                                     6-5                   672                  NR

22. Liberty Flames                                            8-3                   630                  21

23. South Carolina State Bulldogs                     9-3                   628                  16

24. Sacramento State Hornets                          6-5                   587                  NR

25. Massachusetts Minutemen                          6-5                   519                  NR

Others receiving votes: Penn 456, Bethune-Cookman 425, Southeast Missouri State 341, Murray State 315, Western Illinois 247, Southern Utah 240, Jacksonville 215, Cal Poly 168, Stony Brook 163, Grambling State 146, Eastern Kentucky 139, Jackson State 76, Florida A&M 76, Colgate 75, Sam Houston State 75, Harvard 54, Indiana State 51, UC Davis 48, South Dakota State 40, Youngstown State 28, Central Connecticut State 26, Coastal Carolina 25, Dayton 21, Northwestern State 20, Northern Arizona 18, Elon 16, Yale 15, Weber State 13, Illinois State 12, Tennessee Tech 12, Rhode Island 11, Maine 10, Albany 10, Texas Southern 10, Northern Colorado 10, Furman 10, Brown 8, South Dakota 7, Old Dominion 5, Columbia 5, Missouri State 2, Robert Morris 2, Hampton 1, Duquesne 1, UT Martin 1. 


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