Mon., Jan. 12, 2015
Eastern finishes fourth in final FCS poll
The Eastern Washington football season ended a bit sooner than usual, but the Eagles and their strength of schedule were rewarded Monday with a No. 4 ranking in the final Football Championship Subdivision poll.
Thanks to a schedule that included six top 25 teams - plus a narrow 59-52 loss at Washington - the Eagles (11-3) finished behind only FCS champion North Dakota State, runner-up Illinois State and semifinalist New Hampshire. It didn't hurt that Eastern won the Big Sky Conference title for the third straight year.
The Eagles (11-3) have been a regular lately in the final the final poll, which is sponsored by The Sports Network.
The 34 victories in the last three seasons represents by a landslide – by seven wins -- the best three-year stretch of success in the school's football history. The 2008-2010 and 2009-11 teams won 27 games.
It's also the fourth-best in Big Sky Conference history, ranking only behind the 39 games Montana won between 2000-02 and 2007-09, and the 38 the Grizzlies won between 1994-96.
Next year, Eastern will play four teams ranked in the top 25, including non-conference games against Northern Iowa (#10) and Montana State (#20). The Eagles will play Big Sky Conference foes Montana (#13) and Idaho State (#25), as well as a non-league game at Oregon, which plays for the national title tonight in the NCAA Football Bowl Division Subdivision.