The Cal Poly football team is ranked 14th by The Sports Network in the preseason FCS media poll released Tuesday.
The Mustangs were ranked 11th in the preseason FCS coaches’ poll that was released last week.
Cal Poly made its first FCS playoff appearance since 2008 last year when the Mustangs tied Eastern Washington and Montana State for the Big Sky Conference title in the Mustangs’ first season in the Big Sky.
Cal Poly concluded the season 9-3 with an 18-16 second-round road playoff loss to Sam Houston State, which advanced to the championship game where the Bearkats lost to North Dakota State, which claimed its second straight national championship.
North Dakota State tops The Sports Network preseason poll, followed, in order, by Montana State, Sam Houston State, Eastern Washington and Villanova.
South Dakota State is ranked sixth with the rest of the top 10, in order, being Central Arkansas, Wofford, Georgia Southern and New Hampshire.
Towson is 11th, Appalachian State 12th and Illinois State is ranked 13th.
Cal Poly is one of five Big Sky teams ranked in the top 20. Other Big Sky teams in the poll are No. 18 Northern Arizona and No. 20 Montana. The Mustangs won at Northern Arizona last year in the regular-season finale for both teams to earn a share of the Big Sky Conference title.
Cal Poly was picked fourth in the preseason Big Sky media and coaches’ polls, and were picked fifth by The Sporting News.
Cal Poly opens the season Aug. 31 with a 4:05 p.m. home game against San Diego after beating the Toreros 41-14 in the 2012 opener, also at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. San Diego was 8-3 overall last year and finished in a three-way tie for first in the Pioneer League. The Toreros were picked to win the league by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll.