Beavers ranked eighth in NSIC poll
Defending NSIC and NCAA II national football champion University of Minnesota-Duluth was selected by the NSIC coaches as the overall and North Division preseason favorite.
Bemidji State was ranked eighth overall with 95 points and third in the NSIC North Division with 24 points. In the North poll the Beavers trailed UMD (35) and St. Cloud (32).
In the overall poll Duluth received 11 first-place votes and amassed 167 points, 12 more than St. Cloud State (155) which claimed the other three first-place votes. Augustana was picked third overall and was the top choice in the South Division
Winona State (125) was fourth in the poll and picked second in the South while Minnesota State (115) was fifth overall and third in the South. Both the Warriors and the Mavericks received a first-place vote in the South.
Bemidji State is coming off a 2010 season in which it was 7-4 overall and 6-4 in NSIC play, tying for fifth in the league standings. Three losses came to three NCAA post-season participants and the top three teams in the poll, UMD, Augustana and St. Cloud. The other loss was to 2010 Mineral Water Bowl participant Concordia-St. Paul.
The Beavers return 16 starters and 47 letterwinners. They open the season 7 p.m. Aug. 25 at home against Minot State.
The Bulldogs will boast the NSIC North Division Offensive Preseason Player of the Year in quarterback Chase Vogler and North Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year in linebacker Rob Huberty. Winona State running back Rayon Simmons was chosen as the South Division Offensive Preseason Player of the Year while Wayne State defensive end Richard Daniel was picked as the South Division Defensive Preseason Player of the Year.
As in the past three seasons, the NSIC football schedule will be broken into two seven-team divisions (North/South) in 2011. Each team will play 10 conference games that will count towards the NSIC overall champion as well as six divisional games that will count towards the NSIC North/South championships.
In all, three league championships will be awarded (overall champion, North Division champion, South Division champion). Ties will not be broken for overall or division champions.