Football - Wed, Aug. 18, 2004
Olathe, Kan. -- With its season opener against NCAA Division I-AA Illinois State University just over two weeks away, the Saint Xavier University football team got some early good news when the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) released its 2004 Preseason Football Ratings Tuesday. The Cougars earned a No. 18 ranking in the preseason poll, up three spots from their final ranking of No. 21 following the 2003 season. SXU also received the preseason rankings for the Mid-States Football Association's (MSFA) Midwest League and sit in third place behind 2003 NAIA playoff qualifiers St. Ambrose University (Iowa) and McKendree College (Ill.) respectively. St. Ambrose earned the No. 8 slot in the NAIA preseason poll, while McKendree claimed No. 12.

"This is pretty much what I expected," said Feminis. "There isn't that much separating the top four or five teams in our league and any of them could be on top by season's end. It is nice to be ranked among the nation's best teams, but anything could happen once the games are played."

Last season, SXU finished with a 7-4 overall record and shared the Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League championship for the second straight season. The Cougars fell just short of qualifying for the NAIA playoffs in 2003.

Saint Xavier opens on Thursday, September 2, with a 7 p.m. road game in Normal, Ill., against the Redbirds at Hancock Stadium.

2004 MSFA Midwest League Preseason Rankings

(2003 records in parenthesis)

1. St. Ambrose (8-4 overall, 5-2 MSFA)

2. McKendree (8-3 overall, 5-2 MSFA)

3. Saint Xavier (7-4 overall, 5-2 MSFA)

4. Olivet Nazarene (6-4 overall, 5-2 MSFA)

5. Trinity International (8-3 overall, 5-2 MSFA)

6. William Penn (2-8 overall, 2-5 MSFA)

7. St. Francis (Ill.) (1-9 overall, 0-7 MSFA)

8. Iowa Wesleyan (1-9 overall, 1-6 MSFA)