Big Rapids, Mich. - The 2018 college football campaign is only two months away and the Ferris State University Bulldogs, which rank as Michigan's winningest collegiate program over the past six years, are already drawing preseason acclaim.
The Bulldogs have been picked as the nation's preseason #3 squad by Lindy's Sports in the publication's annual college football national preview magazine. FSU was one of only two Great Lakes Interecollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) programs found in the preseason top 25 listing along with Ashland (#15).
The annual publication, which is billed as the nation's leading football authority, highlighted the top 25 teams in the country based on expert opinions and also featured a preseason All-America team.
The top five teams nationally in the magazine's preseason listing included West Florida (#1), Indiana, Pa. (#2), FSU (#3), Fort Hays State (#4) and Northwest Missouri State (#5). The magazine noted "with a proven O-line, one of D2's most consistent programs again figures into the title hunt" about the Bulldogs.
Lindy's Sports also tabbed a pair of Bulldogs as Preseason First-Team All-Americans in senior offensive linemen Devon Johnson (Aurora, Ill./Waubonsie Valley) and Nic Sawyer (Ann Arbor/Saline). They represented two of the three GLIAC performers tabbed to the preseason All-America first team squad along with Ashland defensive lineman James Prater, Jr. FSU was one of only two schools in the country with two representatives on the first-team Preseason All-America squad.
The Bulldogs have been a consensus top 25 team in every preseason listing thus far as they are also ranked fourth in the Massey Online Preseason Power Rankings along with 19th by Street & Smith's, which also tabbed Johnson as a first-team preseason All-American.
This year marks the third time in the past four years the Bulldogs have been tabbed as one of the country's top three teams in at least one preseason national ranking.
The Bulldogs will begin their 110th season of varsity competition this coming fall with their sights set on making a fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs. FSU has made back-to-back NCAA Division II National Quarterfinal appearances and is one of only five teams in all of college football to win at least 11 games each of the past four years. The Bulldogs along with Northwest Missouri State are the only programs in Division II football to make the playoffs each of the past four seasons.
In six seasons under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 60-14 overall mark in the last six years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the GLIAC since his arrival. Last summer, Hero Sports picked FSU as Michigan's Best College Football program regardless of division.
Ferris State will return nearly 50 letterwinners for the 2018 campaign. The Bulldogs will open the season at home under the lights at Top Taggart Field on Thursday, Aug. 30, with a non-conference matchup versus East Stroudsburg (Pa.) starting at 7:30 p.m. (ET).
LINDY'S SPORTS PRESEASON TOP 25
1. West Florida
2. Indiana (Pa.)
3. Ferris State
4. Fort Hays State (Kan.)
5. Northwest Misouri State
6. Minnesota State
7. Texas A&M Commerce
8. Midwestern State (Texas)
9. West Alabama
10. Central Missouri
11. Central Washington
13. Colorado State-Pueblo
14. California (Pa.)
16. Valdosta State (Ga.)
17. Colorado Mines
18. Edinboro (Pa.)
19. Assumption (Mass.)
20. Carson-Newman (Tenn.)
21. Humboldt State (Calif.)
22. Bowie State (Md.)
23. Southwest Baptist (Mo.)
25. Adams State (Colo.)