PHILEDELPHIA, Pa. - The University of Northern Iowa football team was tabbed as the No. 9 ranked team in the FCS in the Sports Network Preseason Poll it was announced today. The Panthers were also selected to the top-25 nationally in two other preseason polls.
UNI has been ranked in the top-25 in 94 consecutive polls, dating back to Nov. 15, 2004. The Panthers are five weeks shy of setting an all-time Missouri Valley Football Conference record for consecutive weeks in the polls.
UNI won back-to-back MVFC titles in 2011 following a 7-1 run through league play. UNI sealed a part of the MVFC title with a 23-20 double-overtime win at Illinois State to close out the regular season. The Panthers also achieved Farley's sixth 10-plus win season since taking over in 2001.
In the Sports Network FCS Preseason Poll, the Missouri Valley Football Conference is represented by five teams. North Dakota State, the reigning national champions, comes in at No. 2 on the poll with UNI joining them in the top-10.
Youngstown State landed at No. 13 with the Illinois State Redbirds finishing up the top-20. Indiana State rounds out the MVFC members at No. 23.
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.
The UNI Panthers open their season against Wisconsin on Sept. 1 in Madison, Wisc. The game is set to kick-off at 2:30 p.m. CT.
The Sports Network FCS Preseason Top-25 College Football Poll
Team (first-place votes)
1. Sam Houston State (79)
2. North Dakota State (59)
3. Georgia Southern (6)
4. Montana State (3)
5. James Madison (3)
6. Appalachian State (1)
8. Old Dominion
9. Northern Iowa
12. Eastern Washington
13. Youngstown State
14. New Hampshire
16. Lehigh 11-2
17. Stony Brook 9-4
18. Eastern Kentucky 7-5
19. Illinois State 7-4
20. Stephen F. Austin 6-5
21. Maine 9-4
22. Jacksonville State 7-4
23. Indiana State 6-5
24. Central Arkansas 9-4
25. Harvard 9-1
NOTE: The preseason polls do not count in the consecutive streak of FCS polls. UNI's streak of 94 straight polls being ranked in the top 25 will continue with the first regular season poll of the season.