When the football season kicks off, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga won't be flying under the national radar. Still three months from the start of a season with high expectations, the Mocs have appeared in three respected national polls -- ranked 10th in Lindy's FCS preseason poll, 12th in Athlon's and 14th by The Sporting News.
"You can't put too much stock into it, but to be perfectly honest it shows we have a chance to be a pretty good team and people recognize that," UTC coach Russ Huesman said. "The national media realizes we have some good players coming back, so that's the good part of it.
"You don't hide from it. It's nice to be recognized. Don't dwell on it too much."
Building off the momentum of an 8-4 season that included a share of the Southern Conference championship, the Mocs are in their second week of summer conditioning with strength coaches. Once summer school begins and players are in class, the coaching staff can begin watching the workouts.
Eastern Washington is ranked No. 1 in all three polls, with three-time defending FCS national champion North Dakota State second in both The Sporting News and Athlon's lists while Southeastern Louisiana is second in Lindy's.
UTC is the highest-ranked SoCon team in each of the polls. Furman is ranked 19th by Athlon's and 20th in the Lindy's poll, but no other SoCon program is ranked. Tennessee State from the Ohio Valley Conference is ranked ninth by Lindy's, 13th by The Sporting News and 17th by Athlon's.
"In the player manual that we hand out, we include on the back page where we're picked in our conference and in the national publications and where the teams we're playing are ranked," Huesman said. "I want our guys to know where we stand and where the people we will play are ranked."
These are the highest preseason rankings in program history. Last year the Mocs were ranked 20th by Lindy's, 24th by the FCS coaches and 25th by TSN. They were also ranked 21st to 25th three other times and were 18th by The Sporting News in 1992.
UT tickets on sale
Tickets for UTC's game at Tennessee on Oct. 1 are now on sale with season-ticket holders and Mocs Club members getting first priority.
Fans who have not purchased or renewed their season tickets can do so online at GoMocs.com or by calling 423-266-6627. Tickets are $55 each, which includes processing fees. If any tickets in the allotment are not sold, they will be available to the general public July 1.
This will be the first time a Mocs team will play in Neyland Stadium in 45 years, but it is UTC's third visit to an SEC opponent in the last six years.
Also, the Mocs' Sept. 6 home opener against Jacksonville State has been set for a 6 p.m. kickoff.
Contact Stephen Hargis at email@example.com or 423-757-6293.
Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 24 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including seven in 2013 and a combined 12 in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers ...