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Big Rapids, Mich. - Reigning NCAA Division II National Semifinalist Ferris State has been tabbed as the nation's preseason #1 team heading into the year by College Football America.
College Football America's 2017 Yearbook, which is available in bookstores across the country along with various mobile and online versions, highlighted the top 30 teams in the country and also featured a preseason Starting Lineup All-America Team.
Thus far, the Bulldogs are a consensus top five team nationally in every preseason poll.
Ferris State was picked first by College Football America just in front of defending national champion Northwest Missouri State, which defeated FSU in the national semifinals a year ago en route to claiming a second-straight title. FSU is one of two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) schools found in the top five along with #4 Grand Valley State.
Along with the preseason national rankings, the publication also featured a first team preseason All-America squad. FSU junior defensive end Zach Sieler (Pinckney) was tabbed to the squad. He's been a consensus preseason All-America choice following a standout sophomore campaign and is one of four FSU players to receive preseason All-America acclaim to date this year.
The Bulldogs will begin their 109th season of varsity competition this fall with their sights set on making a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs.
Ferris State is coming off another historic campaign as the Bulldogs posted a 12-3 overall record in 2016 while advancing to the NCAA Division II National Semifinals for only the second time in school history. In 2016, the Bulldogs also posted a school-record tying 12 victories. Ferris State received the program's third-straight NCAA Football Playoff berth and captured the Super Region Four Championship by beating archrival Grand Valley State during a memorable postseason run. The 15-week campaign, which included three postseason playoff wins, was the school's longest in 108 years of Bulldog Football.
Over the last three seasons at Ferris State, the Bulldogs have compiled a 34-5 overall record and claimed two conference championships, posted two unbeaten regular-seasons, captured a regional title and reached the national semifinals. Ferris State has also accumulated two Harlon Hill National Player of the Year trophies, twice had a student-athlete tabbed as the nation's National Scholar-Athlete of the Year and won four postseason games.
In the five seasons under head coach Tony Annese, the Bulldogs have become a national power on the Division II level. FSU has posted a 49-12 overall mark in the last five years and the Bulldogs have also posted the best winning percentage of all 21 collegiate programs in the state of Michigan along with the GLIAC since his arrival.
Overall, Annese has won 83% of his games as a head coach on the collegiate and prep levels and owns 274 wins to date, which is the most of any current GLIAC member head coach at all levels.
Ferris State will return nearly 60 letterwinners for the 2017 campaign, including 18 starters. The Bulldogs will open preseason camp in early August.