The Whitworth Pirates football team, coming off a 7-2 season in 2004, is ranked 22nd among Division III teams in the USA Today Sports Weekly College Football Preview publication, which hit newsstands Monday.
Defending national champion Linfield (13-0), one of Whitworth’s Northwest Conference foes, is ranked No. 1 in the preseason poll, followed by Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas), Mount Union (Ohio) and Hardin-Simmons (Texas). Ohio Northern rounds out the top five.
Whitworth and Linfield were the only two NWC teams ranked in the poll.
The Pirates return seven starters on each side of the ball, as well as All-American kicker Cameron Collings. They began practice Monday in preparation for their season opener on Sept. 10 against Redlands.
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