South Dakota State Reacts to Lofty Pre-Season Football Rankings [AUDIO]
Two different polls.
Two different rankings.
Same conclusion: South Dakota State is a Top Ten football team.
Those lofty rankings are a combination of last season's 9-4 record, which included SDSU's first playoff win at the Division I level, and 15 returning starters from that squad which lost to eventual National Champion North Dakota State in round two of the post season.
One of those players back in 2013 is sophomore linebacker TJ Lalley, who is embracing the pre-season recognition:
Senior offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann has started every game the last three seasons at SDSU. He realizes that whether the Jacks are sixth or seventh, they've still got room for improvement:
One thing both polls do agree on: North Dakota State is still the team to beat in FCS. The Bison grabbed 127 of the 134 first place votes in the Sports Network poll, 23 of 25 first place votes in the Coaches poll.
The two-time defending national champs have been a formidable roadblock for SDSU in the Missouri Valley Conference, where NDSU has won the last four matchups with the Jacks.
Despite the Bison ruling FCS football the last two seasons, senior defensive lineman Doug Peete says the Jacks are not measuring themselves against NDSU:
SDSU Head Coach John Stiegelmeier acknowledges that the Top Ten honors are a nice compliment to last season's success, but as for this year's team, he's more interested in finishing the regular season in the Top Eight:
South Dakota State opens at home with Butler August 31st.