Griz Tabbed 20th in the Sports Network’s Preseason Top 25 Poll

The University of Montana Grizzlies are ranked 20th in the nation in The Sports Network’s pre-season top 25 poll which was announced today (Tuesday, Aug. 13) by that organization.

The Grizzlies received 813 points.  Montana went 5-6 last season – its first losing season in the past 27 years (since 1985).  When the Griz fell out of The Sports Network’s top 25 poll in Oct. 1 of 2012, it halted a streak of 195 straight weeks that UM was ranked in the TSN poll.

The Grizzlies were one of just two teams that had a losing record last season who were ranked in the poll.  Northern Iowa, which was also 5-6 last season, is ranked 17th.

Montana will play five teams in the pre-season top 25 poll: No. 12 Appalachian State (Aug. 31); at No. 18 Northern Arizona (Sept. 28); No. 14 Cal Poly (Oct. 19); No. 4 Eastern Washington (Oct. 26); and at No. 2 Montana State (Nov. 23). See the 2013 University of Montana Schedule and Game Times.

With two straight national championships North Dakota State is the clear-cut No. 1 team in the poll, receiving 127 of the 134 first-place votes and 3,340 points.  The Bison return 18 starters from a squad that won its second straight FCS title this past January.  NDSU has finished with a 14-1 record in each of the past two seasons.

The Big Sky Conference’s Montana State (11-2 last season) earned the No. 2 preseason ranking.   Sam Houston State (11-4), the two-time defending Southland Conference champion, had the No. 3 ranking, while the Big Sky’s Eastern Washington (11-3) are No. 4.

Perennial powers Georgia Southern and Appalachian State aren’t eligible for the FCS playoffs as they spend their final season in the Southern Conference before going to the FBS level next year. One voter installed Georgia Southern, which has been to the national semifinals in three straight seasons, as the preseason No. 1, but other voters left both teams off their ballots.

Thus, the rest of the Top 10 consisted of No. 6 South Dakota State (9-4), which features 2012 FCS rushing leader Zach Zenner; No. 7 Central Arkansas (9-3), the defending Southland Conference co-champion; No. 8 Wofford (9-4), a reigning Southern Conference tri-champion; No. 9 Georgia Southern (10-4), which shared the SoCon title with Wofford and Appalachian State; and No. 10 New Hampshire (8-4), whose nine straight playoff appearances is the longest active streak in the FCS.

Up next were No. 11 Towson (7-4); No. 12 Appalachian State (8-4); No. 13 Illinois State (9-4); No. 14 Cal Poly (9-3), a Big Sky tri-champion last year; No. 15 Richmond (8-3), which earned a share of the CAA title; No. 16 Stony Brook (10-3), which has earned at least a share of the last four Big South Conference titles but has switched conferences to the CAA this year; No. 17 Northern Iowa (5-6); No. 18 Northern Arizona (8-3); No. 19 James Madison (7-4); and No. 20 Montana (5-6).

CAA Football had the most teams in the preseason Top 25 with six, followed by the Big Sky with five and the Missouri Valley and Southern Conferences with four each. The Southland Conference had two teams, and the OVC, Big South, MEAC and Patriot League each had one.

In the Top 25 voting, 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. 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.


Others receiving votes: Eastern Kentucky 468, Youngstown State 463, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 174, Colgate 174, Tennessee State 151, Wagner 140, Delaware 130, The Citadel 100, Indiana State 90, Penn 57, McNeese State 46, Sacramento State 44, Samford 39, Southern Illinois 39, Harvard 35, South Carolina State 32, Southeastern Louisiana 30, Tennessee-Martin 29, Stephen F. Austin 17, San Diego 15, Albany 13, Liberty 12, Bucknell 11, Grambling State 8, North Carolina Central 8, Tennessee Tech 6, Jackson State 6, Furman 4, Alabama A&M 4, Alabama State 4, Alcorn State 4, William & Mary 4, Jacksonville State 3, Missouri State 3, Weber State 2, Murray State 2, Butler 2, Elon 2, Florida A&M 2, Northwestern State 1, Duquesne 1, Drake 1.