TSN Preseason Top 25: Villanova football is picked fifth

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

The Sports Network poll of media members is the most trusted source of FCS football rankings.

The Sports Network (TSN) released their preseason top-25 poll of FCS football programs on Tuesday and Villanova was picked in the top-5.

The Wildcats finished last season ranked 15th, but shot up the rankings in the offseason, likely due to the large contingent of returning players on both sides of the ball. High expectations abound for the team this Fall, especially with a year of experience under starting quarterback John Robertson's belt.

The 'Cats check in as the top-ranked team in out of the CAA in the poll. According to the list, New Hampshire was picked 10th, with Towson at 11th, Richmond at 15th, Stony Brook at 16th, and JMU at 19th. The University of Albany, whose 75-year-old coach Bob Ford announced that he would retire after the 2013 season*, received votes (13), as did Delaware (130), William & Mary (4), and future CAA member Elon (2).

Both Georgia Southern and Appalachian State were ranked in the poll (9th and 12th respectively), despite being in the process of transitioning to FBS football. Old Dominion, one of the best teams in FCS last season, is also transitioning to FBS, but did not receive votes.

Villanova was also ranked in the FCS Coaches Poll, coming in at number-9. In that poll, the Wildcats were the second-highest ranked CAA school, coming in behind New Hampshire at number-8.

TSN Top 25 Preseason Poll

Rank Team (First Place Votes) 2012 Record Points Previous Rank
1 North Dakota State Bison (127) 14-1 3340 1
2 Montana State Bobcats (1) 11-2 3079 5
3 Sam Houston State Bearkats (5) 11-4 2941 2
4 Eastern Washington Eagles 11-3 2873 4
5 Villanova Wildcats 8-4 2334 15
6 South Dakota State Jackrabbits 9-4 2268 14
7 Central Arkansas Bears 9-3 2244 10
8 Wofford Terriers 9-4 2089 7
9 Georgia Southern Eagles (1) 10-4 2002 3
10 New Hampshire Wildcats 8-4 1920 13
11 Towson Tigers 7-4 1871 17
12 Appalachian State Mountaineers 8-4 1696 9
13 Illinois State Redbirds 9-4 1657 8
14 Cal Poly Mustangs 9-3 1646 12
15 Richmond Spiders 8-3 1384 18
16 Stony Brook Seawolves 10-3 1178 11
17 Northern Iowa Panthers 5-6 1106 NR
18 Northern Arizona Lumberjacks 8-3 988 20
19 James Madison Dukes 7-4 964 19
20 Montana Grizzlies 5-6 813 NR
21 Eastern Illinois Panthers 7-5 686 NR
22 Lehigh Mountain Hawks 10-1 587 16
23 Bethune-Cookman Wildcats 9-3 514 22
24 Chattanooga Mocs 6-5 505 NR
25 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 8-5 489 24

*Bob Ford was the longest-tenured coach in college football after being hired in 1970 out of St. Lawrence University, where Andy Talley also coached prior to Villanova.

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