With 72 days left until the start of the 2013 college football season, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs are already getting plenty of recognition from the preseason prognosticators. UTC is included in the Lindy’s Sports Annuals, Athlon Sports and The Sporting News top-25 listings.
Chattanooga checks in at No. 20 in the Lindy’s and Sporting News polls and No. 18 in the Athlon predictions. Two-time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State is the top team in all three polls, while Georgia Southern is the highest Southern Conference team listed. The Eagles are No. 2 in Lindy’s and The Sporting News and No. 3 in Athlon.
The Mocs are coming off a 6-5 record in 2012, their third winning season in the last four years. Chattanooga had not had three winning campaigns in a four-year stretch since 1984-87.
UTC returns 10 starters and 17 lettermen to a defense that was No. 10 in the nation in 2012. Chattanooga allowed just 307.9 yards of total offense and was No. 18 in the FCS in scoring defense (20.4 ppg). The Mocs put up these numbers against a very difficult schedule that included five teams ranked in the top-25.
Junior defensive end Davis Tull (Knoxville, Tenn.), the 2012 SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, leads a unit that also includes two-time All-American senior linebacker Wes Dothard (Carrollton, Ga.). 2012 All-SoCon senior defensive lineman Derrick Lott (Kennesaw, Ga.) and senior defensive backs D.J. Key (Centerville, Tenn.) and Kadeem Wise (Lawrenceville, Ga.) also return.
Overall, Chattanooga has 39 lettermen back from the 2012 campaign. There are 10 starters and 20 lettermen returning on offense, to go with a pair of returning specialists.
Sophomore quarterback Jacob Huesman (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and junior QB/WR Terrell Robinson (South Pittsburgh, Tenn.) lead the Mocs on offense. All-American junior TE Faysal Shafaat also returns, along with an experienced offensive line.
Other SoCon teams listed in the preseason polls include (Lindy’s/Athlon/The Sporting News) Wofford (5/19/NR), Appalachian State (12/6/5) and The Citadel (NR/25/NR).
The Mocs open the 2013 season on Thursday, Aug. 29, against UT Martin. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. (E.D.T.) at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga, Tenn. Season tickets are on sale now on GoMocs.com, or by calling the UTC Ticket Office at (423) 266-MOCS (6627).
PRESEASON TOP-25 POLLS
|Lindy's||Athlon||The Sporting News|
|1. North Dakota State||1. North Dakota State||1. North Dakota State|
|2. Georgia Southern||2. Montana State||2. Georgia Southern|
|3. Montana State||3. Georgia Southern||3. Montana State|
|4. South Dakota State||4. Sam Houston State||4. Eastern Washington|
|5. Wofford||5. Villanova||5. Appalachian State|
|6. Eastern Washington||6. Appalachian State||6. Sam Houston State|
|7. Central Arkansas||7. Eastern Washington||7. Villanova|
|8. Towson||8. Towson||8. South Dakota State|
|9. Villanova||9. Montana||9. Illinois State|
|10. Sam Houston State||10. South Dakota State||10. Old Dominion|
|11. New Hampshire||11. New Hampshire||11. Central Arkansas|
|12. Appalachian State||12. Central Arkansas||12. Northern Iowa|
|13. Northern Iowa||13. Richmond||13. Towson|
|14. Stony Brook||14. Northern Iowa||14. Montana|
|15. Coastal Carolina||15. Cal Poly||15. Richmond|
|16. Northern Arizona||16. Northern Arizona||16. Arkansas-Pine Bluff|
|17. Bethune-Cookman||17. James Madison||17. Northern Arizona|
|18. Eastern Illinois||18. Chattanooga||18. Stony Brook|
|19. Youngstown State||19. Wofford||19. Eastern Illinois|
|20. Chattanooga||20. Eastern Illinois||20. Chattanooga|
|21. Richmond||21. Tennessee State||21. Cal Poly|
|22. Illinois State||22. Delaware||22. New Hampshire|
|23. Montana||23. Youngstown State||23. Colgate|
|24. Wagner||24. Illinois State||24. Sacramento State|
|25. Tennessee State||25. The Citadel||25. Bethune-Cookman|