Southland Conference earns 2 spots in STATS FCS Preseason Top 25

Defending Southland Conference champion Sam Houston State is ranked No. 3 spot for the upcoming season, STATS FCS announced Monday.
Sam Houston State is one of two Southland schools earning a top 25 spot, alongside Central Arkansas at No. 15.
The Bearkats are coming off an undefeated season in the Southland, finishing 2016 with a 9-0 conference record. They defeated Chattanooga at home in the second round of the Football C h a m p i o n s h i p Subdivision Playoffs before falling on the road in Harrisonburg, Virginia, to eventual national champions James Madison, the preseason No. 1 pick. Sam Houston State earned seven first-place votes.
Central Arkansas enters the season at No. 15, coming off an 8-1 Southland record in 2016. The Bears’ one loss was at Sam Houston State in their regular-season finale, 59-23. Central Arkansas returns the majority of its league-best defense, which held opponents to 21.69 points per game and 72.8 rushing yards per game.
McNeese (261), Nicholls (21) and Southeastern Louisiana (20) also received votes in the preseason poll. Patterson High alum DeonDre Skinner is a member of the McNeese football team, while Central Catholic alumni Garret LeBlanc and Stefano Guarisco are members of the Nicholls football team.
A national panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries select the STATS FCS Top 25. A first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote, 24 points, all the way
down to one point for a 25th-place vote. The Top 25 will be released every Monday afternoon during the regular season, except for Sunday morning, Nov. 19, prior to the selection of the 24-team FCS playoff field. A final Top 25 will follow the FCS championship game, which will be held Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.

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