University of the Cumberlands (UC) football program has had its fair share of success during the John Bland era. Four Mid-South Conference (MSC) Divisional Championships and four NAIA Championship Series appearances in five years is nothing to scoff at. Coach Bland and his staff continue to ready themselves for the season, and this year the NAIA has dubbed the Patriots once again as a top team in the nation.
The 2011 NAIA Preseason Top 25 poll has been released and the Patriots have been picked #16 in this year’s poll. This is the 4th straight season that the Patriots have been voted into the Preseason Top 25 poll.
The Patriots finished last season with a 7-4 record overall and a 5-1 MSC record. MSC East rival Georgetown College is ranked #9 while MSC West rival Cumberland University is ranked #18. Mid-South Conference opposition Union College, Campbellsville University, and Shorter University are all receiving votes in the Top 25 as well.
When asked about UC’s ranking in the preseason poll, Coach Bland commented, “As always it’s good to be ranked and it helps us in this level. It is nice to not have to work from the bottom up, and it is difficult to climb to the top, but as we saw with Auburn last season it can be done. We have to focus on winning our games and aiming for that MSC Championship again, and that in turn will help us out in our postseason goals. The higher you are ranked, the better shot you have at the home field advantage in the playoffs and that can play a key role in the success to a team.”
The Patriots will open up their 2011 season at home against Walsh University on September 3rd. Kickoff is set for 12:00 pm. For more information on the football Patriots along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.