KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Defending National Champion Pittsburg State will begin their defense of the crown as the number one team in both the MIAA Coaches and Media Preseason Polls, which were released Monday (Aug. 6).
The Gorillas won the MIAA last season as they finished 8-1 in league play and 13-1 overall on the year.
PSU received 192 overall points and 12 first place votes in the coaches poll and got 538 points and 24 first place votes in this season’s media poll. They were followed closely in each poll by 2011 league runner-up Northwest Missouri who also advanced to the NCAA playoffs last season. Missouri Western, also an NCAA Division II Playoff team, claims the third spot in both polls and received a first place vote in each as they look to move up from last season’s 7-2 finish.
Washburn is the No. 4 school in both polls after going 7-2 last season behind Harlon Hill finalist Dane Simoneau. The Ichabods will have to replace Simoneau though on a team that was one of four MIAA teams to earn a bid to the NCAA post-season. Central Missouri, who represented the MIAA in last season’s Kanza Bowl, holds the fifth spot in both the coaches and media poll.
Newcomer Nebraska-Kearney sits sixth in both polls while Emporia State comes in with the seventh spot. New MIAA member Lindenwood makes their debut in the poll at No. 8, finishing just a few points behind the Hornets in both polls.
The No. 9 slot is where the polls show their first discrepancy as conference rookie Northeastern State, which advanced to last season’s Mineral Water Bowl, earned the spot in the coaches minds while Fort Hays State got the nod from the media.
The No. 10 spot features Missouri Southern in the coaches poll while the Riverhawks of Northeastern State take the 10th spot in the media version.
In the Media poll Missouri Southern is No. 11, Truman 12th, Southwest Baptist No. 13, Central Oklahoma is No. 14 while Lincoln comes in 15th. In the coaches poll Fort Hays State comes in at No. 11, Central Oklahoma 12th, Southwest Baptist 13th, Truman N o. 14 and Lincoln rounding out the poll at No. 15 this year.
The 2012 season will kick off on Thursday, August 30 as 13 MIAA teams get underway with the final two MIAA squads kicking off their season on Sept. 1 as the MIAA will feature 15 schools in football this season.