Redbirds Ranked No. 13 In Sports Network Preseason Poll
Aug 13, 2013
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - The Illinois State football team advanced to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs for just the fourth time in school history in 2012 and heads into the season ranked No. 13 in The Sports Network FCS Top 25 preseason poll announced Tuesday.
Illinois State returns 12 starters from last year's team, including first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selections Colton Underwood and Jordan Neukirch. Both were named preseason All-America selections by The Sports Network, and Underwood was named to the Buck Buchanan Award Watch List, after finishing sixth overall in the 2012 vote.
The Redbirds will open the season Thursday, Aug. 29, against Mid-American Conference foe Ball State in Muncie, Ind.
Fellow MVFC member and back-to-back national champion North Dakota State was tabbed as the preseason No. 1, after the Bison received 127 of the 134 first-place votes and 3,340 points. The rest of the top five included Montana State, Sam Houston State, Eastern Washington and Villanova. The rest of the Top 10 consisted of No. 6 South Dakota State, No. 7 Central Arkansas , No. 8 Wofford, No. 9 Georgia Southern and No. 10 New Hampshire.
In addition to the Bison and Redbirds, MVFC league members South Dakota State (No. 6) and Northern Iowa (No. 17) were also selected for the Top 25, and Illinois State's second opponent, Eastern Illinois, was ranked No. 21.
The Sports Network FCS Top 25 is voted on by a national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. 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. 17, 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. 4 in Frisco, Texas.
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