MINNEAPOLIS -- The Salisbury University football team will begin the 2012 season ranked No. 7 in the d3football.com Preseason Top 25 Poll, the website announced on Monday.
Salisbury (2011: 11-2, 7-0 Empire 8) earned 455 points in the poll, topping the University of St. Thomas (435), Delaware Valley College (384) and Wabash College (381) to round out the top 10. Three-time defending national champion the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (17) and the University of Mount Union (eight) shared first-place votes, finishing first and second, respectively.
Salisbury will face two teams that advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2012 in third-ranked Wesley College (567) and No. 11 St. John Fisher College (360). The Sea Gulls open their home slate with the Wolverines, who reached the semifinals on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m., and play the NCAA quarterfinalist Cardinals in Pittsford, N.Y., on Oct. 6 at noon.
Salisbury advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals itself a season ago, the deepest run since a 1986 appearance in the national championship game. In its first season as an affiliate member for football in the Empire 8, the Sea Gulls won the conference, its first league title since winning consecutive Atlantic Central Football Conference crowns in 2004-05.
SU opens the 2012 season at Christopher Newport University on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m.
Click here to view the full d3football.com preseason poll.