GRAND ISLAND, Neb. - Union College will enter the 2009 season as the 11th-ranked team, according to the College Fanz Sports Network National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Football Preseason Top 25 Poll released Wednesday.
The Bulldogs finished the 2008 campaign 9-3 overall and 5-1 in the Mid-South Conference East. In addition, Union advanced to the NAIA Football Championship Series for the first time in program history.
After winning the NAIA National Championship last season, the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) has been selected as the preseason favorite for 2009. The Cougars were unbeaten a year ago, including a 23-7 win over Carroll (Mont.) College in the championship game. Sioux Falls returns a talented squad and appears poised to make a run at back-to-back titles in 2009.
Last year's championship runner-up, Carroll, checks in at number two. The Saints are no stranger to the NAIA National Championship game, appearing in the title game six of the last seven seasons. The Saints are looking to make their third consecutive trip to the title game.
Lindenwood (Mo.) University is ranked third in the preseason poll, while the University of St. Francis (Ind.) is picked fourth. The Cougars feature a talented running back returning in Daniel Carter, and are looking to get back to the playoffs and break its championship game losing streak of three games (2004-2006). University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) rounds out the top five.
Morningside (Iowa) College and Langston (Okla.) University begin the season ranked sixth and seventh, respectively, after first round playoff victories last season. Rounding out the College Fanz NAIA Football Preseason top 10 are Shorter (Ga.) College, Baker (Kan.) University and MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.) University.
Union will open the 2009 season at home on Sept. 5 against MSC East rival UVa-Wise.
Here is the entire 2009 College Fanz Sports Network NAIA Football Preseason Top 25 Poll .
Story provided by College Fanz Sports Network.