I’m sure plenty of NDSU fans saw Craig Haley’s post last week on the Sports Network on voting Eastern Washington as the preseason number one team rather than NDSU. If you missed it, check it out here. That spurred me to thinking about preseason polls and what value (if any) is placed on them by fans.
This is a perfect topic for June, considering the playoff bracket (we can’t use the FCS has the perfect system, since the big boys are going to the playoff system this year); but another publication ranked the Eagles at number one as The Sporting News has them slotted at number one. But the preseason ranking of number one has been a curse in the FCS rather than a blessing in recent years:
2011: Eastern Washington voted preseason number one, received 90 first place votes, finished 6-5 and missed playoffs (NDSU was preseason number 11, won championship)
2012: Sam Houston State voted preseason number one, received 79 first place votes, finished 11-4 and lost in FCS Championship Game (NDSU was preseason number 2, won championship)
2013: North Dakota State voted preseason number one, received 127 first place votes, finished 15-0 and won FCS Championship Game
2014: Appears Eastern Washington will be slotted number one
It’s a whole other topic if EWU deserves the number one ranking, preseason polls should be on what you expect the team to do for that upcoming season, not based on what they did in the past season. The Eagles have been the most consistent program next to NDSU in FCS, won the title in 2010, and semifinal trips in 2012 and 2013. We’ll see if the Eagles follow the trend NDSU started last year as wire to wire or go the other route as bulletin board material for the rest of the nation.
Should also mention that the 2015 FCS Championship Game has been moved to Saturday, January 10th per Westwood One, who broadcasts the game nationally on radio. That means the game will have three weeks in between the semifinals and championship, much like 2011 and 2012, but this seems awfully late to me. Please refer to last post on this topic.
Some non-football news here, the NCAA Track Championships begin tomorrow in Eugene, Big E is heading to Oregon, he’ll be filing some video reports here on the blog about the five athletes at the meet, look for that here. Also tonight on WDAY, I’ll have my sit-down with NDSU’s record-setting 4×400 relay team.