UNI Football Ranked 9th in Preseason Poll

By K.J. Pilcher, Reporter

Northern Iowa's Jeff Bright, right, carries the ball as J.J. Swain, left, defends during the spring game at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa Friday, April 27, 2012. (TIFFANY RUSHING/Courier Staff Photographer)

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By Grant Burkhardt

The University of Northern Iowa is one of two Missouri Valley Football Conference teams in the top 10, and one of five in the top 25, in the College Sporting News NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision preseason poll.

The Panthers have won two straight MVFC titles, advancing to the national quarterfinal game against Montana in Missoula, Mont., last season and ending with a 10-3 record for UNI Coach Mark Farley a sixth season since 2001 with at least 10 wins.

Defending national champion North Dakota State is ranked first.

Below is the UNI Sports news release with complete rankings:

UNI Ranked No. 9 in College Sporting News Poll

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The University of Northern Iowa football team has been tabbed as the No. 9 ranked team in the 2012 NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision preseason poll which was conducted by the staff of College Sporting News.

National Champions North Dakota State is ranked No. 1 with the runner’s up, Sam Houston State, coming in at No. 2. Georgia Southern, one of the 2011 playoff semifinalists, stands in the No. 3 spot with Big Sky Conference co-champion Montana State in at No. 4.

The Colonial Athletic Association playoff quarterfinalist James Madison comes in at the No. 5 spot with three-time national titlist Appalachian State tabbing the No. 6 position. Towson and Old Dominion come in at No. 7 and 8 with UNI and Montana rounding out the top-10.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference has five different teams representing the conference in the preseason poll including two in the top-10. The three remaining teams, Youngstown State, Illinois State and Indiana State, round out the MVFC teams in the top-25 represented in the College Sporting News preseason poll.

UNI is coming off another stellar season by capturing back-to back MVFC titles in 2011 following a 7-1 run through the league. The Panthers also achieved head coach Mark Farley’s sixth 10-plus win season since taking over in 2001.

The Panthers posted a mark of 4-2 against Ranked foes in 2011, including a 28-21 win over No. 12 ranked Wofford in the second round of the FCS playoffs.

UNI will open their season against Big Ten member Wisconsin on Sept. 1 in Madison, Wisc. The game is set to kick-off at 2:30 p.m. CT.

College Sporting News 2012 FCS Preseason Top 25

1. North Dakota State

2. Sam Houston State

3. Georgia Southern

4. Montana State

5. James Madison

6. Appalachian State

7. Towson

8. Old Dominion

9. Northern Iowa

10. Montana

11. Lehigh

12. Eastern Washington

13. Delaware

14. New Hampshire

15. Wofford

16. Stony Brook

17. Youngstown State

18. Illinois State

19. Maine

20. Eastern Kentucky

21. Central Arkansas

22. Indiana State

23. Liberty

24. Murray State

25. Stephen F. Austin
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