Aug. 23, 2012. Appalachian State University is ranked No. 5 nationally in the preseason NCAA Division I FCS coaches poll, the Southern Conference announced on Wednesday.
Appalachian State follows defending national champion North Dakota State, 2011 national runner-up Sam Houston State, Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern and Montana State in the preseason coaches poll. The Mountaineers jumped six spots from their No. 11 ranking in the final FCS coaches poll of 2011, matching No. 8 James Madison and No. 14 Delaware for the biggest leaps from last season’s final poll to this season’s preseason rankings.
Appalachian returns 16 starters (five offense, eight defense, three specialists) from last year’s squad that finished 8-4. The Mountaineers open the 2012 campaign on Sept. 1 at East Carolina before returning home for one of the most anticipated non-conference matchups in FCS history, a Sept. 8 duel versus 10th-ranked Montana.