CHENEY -- The Eagles are starting where they ended last season in the national rankings.
The Eastern Washington University football team is ranked 13th in The Sports Network/Fathead.com NCAA Football Championship Subdivision 2010 Top 25 Preseason Poll released on Monday.
A year ago, Eastern was 8-4 and lost to Stephen F. Austin 44-33 in the first round of the FCS Playoffs after finishing as the Big Sky Conference runner-up with a 5-2 record. The Eagles, who entered the 2009 playoffs ranked 13th and ended the season ranked in that position as well, have qualified for the postseason in four of the last six seasons.
Defending FCS champion Villanova is ranked first in the poll, with defending Big Sky champion and FCS runner-up Montana ranking second. Other Big Sky teams in the preseason top 25 include Weber State (19th) and Montana State (24th), with Stephen F. Austin ranked eighth.
Northern Arizona received enough votes to rank 28th, and other league schools also receiving votes included Portland State (18) and Idaho State (15). Southern Utah, Eastern’s non-conference opponent on November 13th, received 14.
Several preseason publications also have the Eagles ranked as high as 12th (Athlon), as well as rankings of 17th (Lindy’s) and 21st (The Sporting News). The FCS Coaches Poll will be released later this week.