The South Dakota State University football team has been picked to finish fourth in the 2011 Missouri Valley Football Conference race, according to a preseason poll conducted by league coaches, media and sports information directors.
Defending champion Northern Iowa was picked as the favorite, receiving 29 of 36 first-place votes and 316 points in the poll, which was released Monday. North Dakota State came in second with six first-place votes and 275 points, followed by Southern Illinois with 207 points, including one first-place vote. SDSU finished with 172 points in a tightly bunched middle third of the nine-team field.
Rounding out the poll were Illinois State, fifth, 169 points; Indiana State, sixth, 168; Western Illinois, seventh, 151; Youngstown State, eighth, 88; and Missouri State, ninth, 74.
Senior linebacker Michael Lien was the lone Jackrabbit named to the MVFC Preseason Team. A native of Castaic, Calif., Lien is the team's top returning tackler after tallying 98 tackles in 2010. He was an honorable mention all-MVFC selection last season.
Also receiving preseason recognition was junior offensive lineman Jonathan Fick, who was an honorable mention selection.
The Jackrabbits report for fall camp this weekend and are scheduled to open the 2011 season Sept. 3 by hosting Southern Utah in the annual Cereal Bowl game. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Both single-game and season tickets for the 2011 season are available at the Jackrabbit Ticket Office and can be ordered online.