The Montana State University-Northern football team is less than two months away from its season-opening game against UM-Western in Havre. But it’s not too early for NAIA aficionados to start prognosticating about the upcoming 2011 season.
Victory Sports Network has recently released its annual preseason NAIA Poll, with all 85 NAIA football teams ranked. In the poll, the Lights are ranked 43rd in the nation, and according the poll, are picked to finish fifth this season in the Frontier Conference. Northern is coming off a fifth-place finish last season, as the Lights finished ahead of the UM-Western Bulldogs. Western is ranked 58th in the 2011 poll.
As expected, Carroll College is ranked No. 1 in the Victory Sports Poll, just ahead of St. Xavier of Illinois and St. Francis of Indiana. Eastern Oregon and Montana Tech are the next highest rated Frontier teams. The Mountaineers come in at No. 28 and the Orediggers at No. 29. Rocky Mountain College is picked 37th in the poll.
In other Lights’ football news, Northern senior Will Andrews is featured with Eastern Oregon’s Chris Ware on the western regional cover of the 2011 NAIA Preview magazine. The magazine is available only through VictorySportsNetwork. com.
The Lights open their 2011 season on Sept. 2 at Blue Pony Stadium against the UM-Western Bulldogs.