Cal Poly received its highest preseason ranking ever at No. 6 in the recent AnyGivenSaturday.com (AGS) Poll.
Cal Poly lost to Texas State 14-7 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs last season. The Mustangs return several noteworthy players from last year’s squad including All-Americans Kyle Shotwell, linebacker, and James Noble, running back.
Shotwell set a school record for tackles in a season with 158 last year, a total good enough for fourth in the nation. Noble was the fourth best rusher in the nation averaging 131.5 yards per-game as a freshman.
Cal Poly will play arguably one of the toughest schedules in Div. I-AA in 2006. Three opponents rank in the AGS poll- No. 4 Montana, No. 12 North Dakota State and No. 20 UC Davis. The games against Montana and NDSU will be played on the road.
Cal Poly also plays a pair of Div. I-A opponents in San Jose State and San Diego State.
The AGS Poll has been the first released national poll each year since it’s inception in 2004.
Reigning national champion Appalachian State landed the top preseason spot garnering 45 first place vote.
Following the Mountaineers in the top ten were: New Hampshire, Northern Iowa, Montana, Furman, Cal Poly, Youngstown State, James Madison, Illinois State and Delaware. The full results are listed right.
Six other teams received first place votes including New Hampshire (31), Northern Iowa (7), Montana (2), Furman (2), James Madison (2), and North Dakota State received a single No. 1 vote.
A total of 25 squads received more than the five points required to receive recognition outside of the top 25.
The pollsters also named Illinois State as the biggest rising team from 2005 and Texas State as the biggest falling team. Texas State made it to the semifinals in last year’s NCAA Div. II playoffs defeating Cal Poly 14-7 at Bobcat Stadium on ESPN2 to get there.
The Atlantic 10 Conference, Div. I-AA’s largest league, led the way with five teams in the top 25. The Gateway Football Conference had four and the Big Sky Conference, the Great West Football Conference, the Southern Conference and the Southland Conference had three each.
In comparison to other polls, the AGS Poll had more of its preseason top 25 on its final regular season poll than either of the other two major polls (ESPN/USAToday.com and SportsNetwork.com) in the last two years. Most significantly, AGS listed Appalachian State on their preseason poll while the other two neglected the eventual national champion.
The AGS Poll also had as many or more of its preseason top 25 make the playoffs than either of the other two polls the past two years.
AGS is the world’s largest online community devoted to all of NCAA Division I playoff football. The AGS Poll was created in 2004 to give distinguished members of the AGS community a place to voice their opinion, vote for the top 25 I-AA programs in the nation, and provide the media and coaches of I-AA a valuable resource to gauge general sentiment.