ST. LOUIS - The Indiana State football team has been picked to finish sixth in the annual Missouri Valley Football Conference Preseason Poll conducted earlier this summer by a vote of league head coaches, sports information directors and a media panel. Additionally, a total of eight Sycamores earned league preseason plaudits, including six on the first team.
In 2010, Indiana State broke through with a 6-5 season, its first winning campaign since 1996. Included in that mark is a 4-4 ledger in MVFC play, good enough to tie for third place. The league's preseason poll this year finds the Sycamores predicted to finish sixth. It is the highest preseason ranking for the Sycamores since they were picked to finish sixth in a seven-team Gateway Football Conference race in 2000.
Defending league champion, Northern Iowa is the league's Preseason Championship pick, garnering 29 (of 36) first place votes and totaling 316 points. North Dakota State was second with 275 points and six first place votes. Southern Illinois is picked to finish third, taking the final first place vote and tallying 207 points. South Dakota State was fourth with 172 points while Illinois State was fifth with 169. The Sycamores are sixth, just getting edged out by the Redbirds with 168 points while Western Illinois was seventh with 151 points, Youngstown State was eighth with 88 and Missouri State was ninth with 74.
Indiana State had two team members place on the 2011 Missouri Valley Football Preseason Offensive Team in senior full back Brock Lough and senior tight end Alex Jones. Four Sycamores placed on the 2011 Missouri Valley Football Preseason Defensive Team, including Buck Buchanan Award nominee junior defensive lineman Ben Obaseki, junior linebacker Jacolby Washington, sophomore defensive back Calvin Burnett and senior defensive back Alex Sewall.
Two more Sycamores, senior quarterback Ronnie Fouch and junior linebacker Aaron Archie were honorable mention selections.
Indiana State will open 2011 fall camp on Friday, August 5 at 5:30 p.m. (ET) inside Memorial Stadium. The Sycamores' season opener is set for September 3 at Penn State in a contest televised on the Big Ten Network. Kickoff is set for Noon (ET).