Aug. 15, 2012
Sports Network FCS Preseason Top 25
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - The first official preseason poll is out for the Football Championship Subdivision, and defending Patriot League champion Lehigh came in at No. 16 in the ranking released by The Sports Network earlier in the week.
The Mountain Hawks, who finished at No. 5 in the final Sports Network rankings in 2011, racked up 1,514 points to place just outside the top 15. Holy Cross (7) and Georgetown (3) were among others receiving votes in the preseason rankings compiled through votes of 142 FCS sports information directors, media members and other dignitaries.
The Sports Network poll is one of two official rankings along with the FCS Coaches Poll, which will come out later in the month.
In addition to the preseason polls, Lehigh has seen its name among the top teams in the FCS in numerous publications and websites heading into the 2012 campaign. The Mountain Hawks topped out at No. 11 in rankings by College Sporting News and Beyond Sports Network, and were also at No. 12 in Lindy's College Football, No. 18 in Phil Steele's and No. 25 in Athlon College Football. Holy Cross also came in at No. 40 in Phil Steele's.
Lehigh was picked first in the Patriot League Preseason Poll and senior wide receiver Ryan Spadola was named the League's Preseason Offensive Player of the Year last month. Spadola is also a candidate for the Walter Payton Award as the Most Outstanding Player in the FCS.
Lehigh enters the season with 14 consecutive wins against Patriot League opponents, just five off the all-time record set by Holy Cross from 1988-92. The Mountain Hawks have gone undefeated in League action in each of the last two seasons, and won a game in the NCAA Division I Football Championship both times. Lehigh advanced to the quarterfinals last season on its way to a top-five national ranking and the ECAC FCS Lambert Cup as the top team in the east.
For the full Sports Network top 25 poll, go here
The Patriot League football season kicks off on Aug. 30 when Holy Cross welcomes New Hampshire and Fordham plays host to Lock Haven. Two days later, Lehigh opens the season at home against Monmouth while Colgate visits Albany and Georgetown pays a visit to Davidson. Lafayette heads to William & Mary and Bucknell visits Marist in season openers on Sept. 8, with the Leopards and Bison squaring off in the Patriot League opener in Lewisburg on Sept. 22 at Noon on CBS Sports Network. The Patriot League champion earns the League's automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Football Championship.