Aug. 23, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - Lehigh will start the 2011 season in the top 15 of the two major Football Championship Subdivision rankings, as the Mountain Hawks claimed the No. 15 position in the FCS Coaches Poll released on Tuesday.
The Mountain Hawks were ranked at No. 13 in The Sports Network/Fathead.com preseason poll last week. Lehigh finished at the No. 14 position in both polls last season after claiming the Patriot League title and winning at Northern Iowa in a first-round game of the NCAA Division I Football Championship.
In addition to the official top 25 polls, Lehigh has fared well in rankings throughout the preseason. Picked to win the Patriot League in a vote of coaches and sports information directors, the Mountain Hawks had also previously earned a mention in five different top 25 lists from media outlets. Lehigh's top ranking came from Lindy's, where the Mountain Hawks were ranked No. 12. Lehigh took the No. 14 spot in Athlon, No. 16 from both Phil Steele's and College Sporting News and No. 22 in Sporting News.
Lehigh picked up 259 points in the poll, which 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). The Mountain Hawks were six points behind No. 14 Stephen F. Austin. Defending national champion Eastern Washington was ranked first with 687 points and 23 of a possible 28 first-place votes, and was followed in order in the top five by Appalachian State, Georgia Southern, William & Mary and Delaware.
Colgate was listed among the teams receiving votes in the poll.
Patriot League teams will play six games against teams in the FCS top 25. Both Lehigh and Holy Cross take on No. 10 New Hampshire, while Lafayette plays at No. 11 North Dakota State, Lehigh hosts No. 18 Liberty and both Fordham and Lafayette travel to No. 24 Penn. In addition, Holy Cross opens the season on Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network against Massachusetts, which finished just one spot outside the FCS Coaches rankings and came in at No. 25 in The Sports Network poll. Lafayette will begin its 2011 campaign with the game at North Dakota State two days later.
For the full FCS Coaches poll, click here