For the fourth time in five seasons, Eastern Washington is the top team in the Football Championship Subdivision media poll.
On Friday, the Eagles -12-3 last year - were picked No. 1 by The Sports Network in the FCS preseason poll of sportswriters, broadcasters and sports information directors.
Eastern finished the 2010 season No. 1 and as NCAA Division I champion. Eastern also was ranked No. 1 during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Three-time defending champion North Dakota State was ranked No. 2, while four Eagle opponents in 2014 are ranked in the top 25. Sam Houston State, Eastern's season-opening opponent on Aug. 23, is ranked 17th.
A trio of Big Sky Conference foes are also ranked – Montana is No. 5, Montana State is 18th and Northern Arizona is 23rd. EWU's three playoff opponents from a year ago are all ranked in the top 13 – Jacksonville State (No. 6), South Dakota State (No. 10), Towson (No. 13). Northern Iowa, a team Eastern will face in 2015 and 2016, is ranked ninth.
The Eagles also are picked by three national publications as the preseason No. 1 team in FCS – Lindy's, Sporting News and Athlon. In the coaches poll released Aug. 4, the Eagles were second behind NDSU.
The Eagles were picked to repeat as Big Sky Conference Champions after last year's perfect 8-0 campaign.