The preseason HAAC and NAIA coaches’ polls were both released and the Lindenwood football team was picked as the number one team to beat in the conference and was third in the national ranking.

The Lions were third in the NAIA poll behind defending national champion Sioux Falls and national runner-up Carroll. It is the highest preseason national ranking for the program and matches last year’s ranking at the end of the season.

In the conference poll, Lindenwood received 97 points, easily the favorite over Missouri Valley who received 82 points. MidAmerica Nazarene was third in the HAAC poll and Baker was fourth. All four of those teams were included in the NAIA Top 25.

Lindenwood returns 15 starters from last year’s 11-2 squad which was one play away from the national championship game. The program welcomes back six first-team all-HAAC performers in wide receiver Rudy Fleming, offensive center Jeff Hynes, cornerback Brandon Gould, linebacker Logen Wright, kickoff returner Mike Bunton and punter Nick Somes.