Sam Houston Ranked in Both Major FCS Preseason Polls

By: Sam Houston State University
By: Sam Houston State University

The two major FCS preseason polls have been announced and Sam Houston State again stands in the national top 25.

The Bearkats stand as one of only three current FCS programs that have earned NCAA playoff berths each of the last three seasons. Sam Houston rolled up a 9-5 record last year and advanced to the second round in FCS post-season play.

The Kats have been ranked No. 14 in the NCAA Coaches’ preseason poll and stand No. 17 in The Sports Network Top 25.

Sam Houston now has been nationally ranked for 39 consecutive FCS polls since cracking into the top 25 on Sept. 19, 2011 on the way to back-to-back Southland titles and NCAA National Championship Game appearances.

Eastern Washington, Sam Houston’s opponent in the FCS Kickoff August 23 on ESPN, is the No. 1 pick in The Sports Network rankings and No. 2 in the NCAA Coaches’ poll.

The Eagles were the last team to defeat three-time defending national champion North Dakota State in the FCS playoffs. That win came in 2010 on EWU’s march to the national title.

North Dakota State starts the 2014 season No. 1 in NCAA Coaches’ poll and is rated No. 2 by The Sports Network.

Sam Houston is one of three Southland Conference teams in the polls. Defending league champion Southeastern Louisiana (11-3 in 2013) is rated No. 3 in both polls. McNeese State was voted as No. 8 by The Sports Network and No. 9 by the NCAA Coaches.

The Bearkats and Eastern Washington open 2014 FCS action in two weeks when the two meet in Cheney, Washington in a 2:30 p.m. (Central Time) matchup.

The EWU Eagles (12-3 last season) have both won the Big Sky Conference title and reached the national quarterfinals in three of the last four seasons. The Eagles captured their only FCS title to cap the 2010 season after beating North Dakota State in overtime in the quarterfinals.

North Dakota State from the Missouri Valley Football Conference power has a 43-2 record over the last three seasons, entering the 2014 campaign with 24 straight wins to tie the FCS record. The Bison are seeking to become the first program to win four consecutive FCS titles.

But the Bison (15-0) are a much different team this season, having to replace 24 seniors under a new head coach.

Eastern Washington has more experience on its roster, including five preseason All-Americans and 12 returning players who earned All-Big Sky honors last season. Leading the way is junior quarterback Vernon Adams, who finished second in the voting for the 2013 Walter Payton Award as the outstanding FCS player.

Southeastern Louisiana gained two first place votes in The Sports Network poll. The Eagles reached the national quarterfinals behind quarterback Bryan Bennett.

The complete preseason rankings by both polls:
Sports Network - W-L - Pts
1 - Eastern Washington - 12-3 - 3589
2 - North Dakota St. - 15-0 - 3540
3 - SOUTHEASTERN LA - 11-3 - 3300
4 - New Hampshire - 10-5 - 3090
5 - Montana -10-3 - 2817
6 - Jacksonville St. - 11-4 - 2634
7 - Coastal Carolina - 12-3 - 2461
8 - McNEESE STATE - 10-3 - 2277
9 - Northern Iowa - 7-5 - 2197
10 - South Dakota St. - 9-5 - 2154
11 - Fordham - 12-2 - 2139
12 - Villanova - 6-5 - 2072
13 - Towson - 13-3 - 1999
14 - Chattanooga - 8-4 - 1647
15 - Tennessee St - 10-4 - 1448
16 - Eastern Illinois - 12-2 - 1375
17 - SAM HOUSTON - 9-5 - 1345
18 - Montana St. - 7-5 - 1170
19 - William & Mary - 7-5 - 1151
20 - Richmond - 6-6 - 963
21 - Furman - 8-6 - 802
22 - Bethune-Cookman - 10-3 - 475
23 - Northern Arizona - 9-3 - 429
24 - Youngstown St. - 8-4 - 405
25 - Maine - 10-3 - 330



NCAA Coaches Poll - W-L - Pts
1 - North Dakota St. - 15-0 - 636
2 - Eastern Washington - 12-3 - 615
3 - SOUTHEASTERN LA - 11-3 - 542
4 - New Hampshire - 10-5 - 510
5 - Montana - 10-3 - 505
6 - Coastal Carolina - 12-3 - 447
7 - Towson - 13-3 - 438
8 - Jacksonville St. - 11-4 - 425
9 - McNEESE STATE - 10-3 - 424
10 - South Dakota St. - 9-5 - 332
11 - Eastern Illinois - 12-2 - 314
12 - Fordham - 12-2 - 305
13 - Villanova - 6-5 - 287
14 - SAM HOUSTON - 9-5 - 227
15 - Northern Iowa - 7-5 - 263
16 - Chattanooga - 8-4 - 238
17 - Tennessee St - 10-4 - 237
18 - Furman - 8-6 - 188
19 - Montana St. - 7-5 - 170
20 - Maine - 10-3 - 169
21 - Youngstown St. - 8-4 - 162
22 - William & Mary - 7-5 - 159
23 - Bethune-Cookman - 10-3 - 136
24 - Richmond - 6-6 - 118
25 - Northern Arizona - 9-3 - 116


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