PHILADELPHIA – The University of New Hampshire football team, led by 14th-year head coach Sean McDonnell, is ranked No. 14 in The Sports Network FCS Top 25 preseason poll that was released Monday. The Wildcats finished the 2011 season at No. 11 following their nation-leading eighth consecutive postseason appearance.
UNH, which boasts 2011 Buck Buchanan Award recipient Matt Evans (Hanover, Mass.) as the top defensive player in the nation and five other Wildcats who were selected to a CAA All-Conference Team, is one of six CAA teams in the preseason poll.
Sam Houston State is atop The Sports Network FCS Top 25 preseason poll, followed by defending national champion North Dakota State. Georgia Southern, Montana State and James Madison round out the top 5, while Appalachian State, Towson, Old Dominion, Northern Iowa and Wofford fill out the 6-10 spots. Montana, Eastern Washington and Youngstown State are the other teams ahead of UNH in the poll.
The Wildcats have been ranked in the poll 112 consecutive weeks dating back to Sept. 13, 2004 and that stands as the longest active streak by a CAA team and the second-longest active streak by any team.
The 'Cats were preseason No. 10 each of the past two years and peaked at No. 6 in 2011, when they defeated five nationally-ranked teams for the second consecutive season.
The Sports Network FCS Top 25 is the sixth Football Championship Subdivision poll that has been announced during the 2012 preseason. New Hampshire's ranking ranges between 10th in the Athlon College Football Poll and 17th in Lindy's College Football Poll. UNH is 11th in the Phil Steele Poll and the 14th best FCS team in the nation according to College Sporting News.
New Hampshire kicks off the 2012 season Thursday, Aug. 30 (7:30 p.m.) at the College of the Holy Cross. UNH's home opener is Saturday, Sept. 15 (12 p.m.) against Central Connecticut State University. Season tickets and individual game tickets are on sale now by calling (603) 862-4000, extension 5, or by clicking here.