CAMPBELLSVILLE - The Campbellsville University football team will open its 25th anniversary season Sept. 1 ranked No. 25 in the NAIA Football Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll. NAIA officials released the poll Monday.
Prestonsburg High School graduate Alex Griffith is set to enter his sophomore season with the Campbellsville football team. Griffith contributed for the Tigers. throughout his freshman campaign.
“It’s great to get recognized by your peers as a Top 25 program,” Campbellsville Coach Perry Thomas commented. “It wasn’t long ago that we were the last ranked team in the nation. Now we have to work to ‘Rise Above’ that ranking. The MSC is always competitive. This year’s preseason rankings continue to support that with six teams being ranked in the Top 27.”
The Fighting Tigers are one of six Mid-South Conference teams receiving votes in the poll, led by 2011 national semifinalist Georgetown College at No. 4 with 209 voting points.
Second among MSC teams is Bethel University - the West Division favorite - tied for No. 11 in the poll after picking up 140 voting points. The Wildcats, which CU will host Sept. 15 for its West Division opener, captured the West last season after posting an 8-3 overall record and a 5-1 divisional record.
Preseason No. 2 in the MSC East is University of the Cumberlands, which is No. 19 in the NAIA poll with 62 voting points. The Patriots move to the East Division this season after ending 2011 with a 7-3 overall record and a 4-2 mark in the West.
Cumberland University, picked second in the MSC West preseason, is tied for No. 22 with 53 voting points.
Lindsey Wilson College is just outside the Top 25 with 10 voting points. The Blue Raiders join Campbellsville in switching from the East to West in MSC play this season.
Leading the NAIA preseason poll isdefending national champion Saint Xavier University with 236 voting points and all 11 first-place votes. National runner-up Carroll College (227 voting points) is second, followed by Marian University with 217 points.
All five MSC teams receiving votes are on the Fighting Tigers’ schedule, including four straight weeks in October beginning with home games against Georgetown and Lindsey Wilsonon Oct. 6 and Oct. 13 before going on the road the next two weeks to Cumberland University and then University of the Cumberlands.
The Mid-South season kicks off on Aug. 25 with three games as Lindsey Wilson travels to Kentucky Christian University, University of Pikeville travels to MSC newcomer Bluefield College and Bethel hosts UVa.-Wise.
A complete conference slate begins on Sept.1, with Campbellsville University hosting University of Pikevillea at 6 p.m. for its season-opener.