Raiders ranked 22nd in preseason poll

The Southern Oregon University football team was assigned a starting point Monday on the national ladder: No. 22 in the NAIA Top 25 Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Raiders' jump from No. 24 in the spring poll wasn't much, but it was more significant than that of any other team. Only two others moved up at all, and nobody else budged more than one spot. Defending NAIA champion Grand View (Iowa) topped the poll, gathering all 15 first-place votes. With three returning All-Americans, Frontier Conference favorite Carroll (Mont.) will start at No. 2 after reaching the national semifinals in 2013. At No. 9, Rocky Mountain (Mont.) is the only other Frontier team in the rankings. Eastern Oregon was the first team out. All three of the aforementioned Frontier squads will come to Ashland this season, starting with Carroll on Sept. 6.  The Raiders started last season 14th, boosted by an appearance in the NAIA quarterfinals in 2012. They dropped out of the poll after losing their first three games and then began an uphill fight to get back in, eventually peaking at No. 20 following a midseason five-game win streak. The first regular season Top 25 will be released on Sept. 15, three games into SOU's season. SOU held its first practice on Saturday. Its first game is Aug. 30 at nonleague foe Menlo, which, coming off a 5-5 season, did not receive votes in the poll. The Oaks will have their season-opener the week before against Eastern Oregon.

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