The Citadel Bulldogs debuted at No. 12 and were the second-highest among the four ranked Southern Conference teams in the Preseason FCS Coaches’ Poll, released on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs received 333 points in the poll, just behind No. 11 Wofford and ahead of No. 13 Chattanooga. Samford (19) was the fourth SoCon team ranked in the poll.
The Citadel is coming off consecutive SoCon Championships and back-to-back FCS Playoff berths. The Bulldogs went 8-0 in SoCon play last season under now second-year Head Coach Brent Thompson. The ’17 squad returns the SoCon Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in safety Kalik Williams and senior quarterback Dominique Allen.
The Bulldogs were ranked No. 16 in the preseason STATS FCS Football Poll, voted on by the media, which was released on Monday.
Defending national champion James Madison University (14-1) was selected first in the poll, while North Dakota State (12-2) was slated to finish second, receiving a pair of first-place votes, while Sam Houston State (12-1) was voted third, totaling three first-place votes.
Eastern Washington and Jacksonville State round out the top five, followed by the final team receiving a first-place vote, South Dakota State, at No. 6. Illinois State and Northern Iowa both cracked the preseason top 25 after finishing 2016 unranked.
The 2017 preseason poll features teams from nine conferences, with the Missouri Valley leading the way with five schools. The Big Sky, CAA and the Southern Conference each boast four schools in the preseason poll.
The FCS Coaches Poll 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) and is administered by the Southern Conference.