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Date Posted: 13:08:28 08/04/03 Mon
Author: Starter
Subject: WIU Picked #1 in Football Gazette National Preseason Poll

LEATHERNECKS PICKED #1 IN FOOTBALL GAZETTE NATIONAL PRESEASON POLL
Gateway favorites also chosen national I-AA favorites
August 4, 2003
by Jason Kaufman

MACOMB, Ill.— Western Illinois University was picked No. 1 in the Football Gazette’s National I-AA Preseason Top 40 Poll, just three days after being selected favorites to win the Gateway Football Conference title as well.

McNeese State, Georgia Southern, Montana and Northeastern round out the top five in Don Hansen’s National Weekly Football Gazette poll, while fellow Gateway team Western Kentucky was placed eighth, Illinois State came in at No. 26 and Youngstown State was picked 32nd.

The Leathernecks return nearly two-thirds of their starters from a 2002 squad that finished 11-2. The Football Gazette marks the highest preseason ranking in school history, and betters the preseason predictions of third and fourth handed out by several other national publications.

Western went into the 2002 season unranked, but climbed to No. 2 for the 12th time in school history. The Leathernecks have never been ranked No. 1 during the regular season.

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