Redbirds Picked No. 10 in Preseason FCS Coaches Poll
Aug. 6, 2013
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - As the Illinois State football team prepares for its 2013 season opener against Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent Ball State, it does so with the knowledge that it is expected to be one of the best teams in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), after the Redbirds were ranked No. 10 in the FCS Coaches Preseason Poll announced Tuesday.
Illinois State finished the 2012 season with a 9-4 record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. That performance landed the Redbirds in the No. 9 spot in the final FCS Coaches Poll last season. For the second straight season, Missouri Valley Football Conference member North Dakota State will start the season as the No. 1-ranked team in the poll.
The Bison received 23 of 26 first-place votes to earn the top spot in the opening poll of the 2013 campaign. Montana State earned the No. 2 preseason ranking and received one first-place vote, after finishing 11-2 in 2012. Fellow Big Sky member Eastern Washington was third in the poll, followed by Sam Houston State. Wofford holds down the No. 5 spot, while Central Arkansas, South Dakota State, New Hampshire, Villanova and Illinois State round out the top 10.
The Redbirds will have to replace 10 starters from last year's team, but will be looking to secure their fifth-straight winning season under head coach Brock Spack. Led by All-American and 2013 Buck Buchanan Award Watch List member Colton Underwood, the Redbirds will face a pair of tough non-conference opponents after Ball State in 2012 Ohio Valley Conference champion Eastern Illinois and Abilene Christian. ISU will then face eight-straight games in MVFC play, before its bye week on the last week of the regular season.
Six Colonial Athletic Association schools earned a top-25 selection, the most from any conference. The Big Sky and Missouri Valley each placed five teams in the poll. The FCS Coaches Poll is based exclusively on a voting panel of head coaches in the FCS, under the cooperation of the Collegiate Commissioners Association (CCA) and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) and is administered by the Southern Conference.
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