The Sports Network/Fathead.com announced its 2011 Preseason Top 25 this week, and the Richmond Spiders are back in the poll -- picked No. 16 entering the second year under head coach Latrell Scott.
After finishing 6-5 in 2010, but remaining in NCAA Playoff contention until the season's final week, Richmond dropped out of the Top 25 and snapped a streak of 51-consecutive polls being ranked. The last time the Spiders did not appear in the Top 25 was the fourth week of the 2007 season.
Since then, Richmond had appeared in every Top 25 poll issued by the Sports Network - including a 38-poll stretch between the 10th week of 2007 and the fifth week of 2010 that Richmond did not leave the Top 10. Coming off the National Championship in 2008, the Spiders spent nine-consecutive weeks in 2009 ranked No. 1.
The Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 is selected by media that cover the FCS and is the mainstream in-season FCS poll, along with the AFCA Top 25, which is voted on by selected FCS head coaches.
A number of other preseason football polls were published that have the Spiders ranked anywhere from seventh to 36th -- Athlon (seventh), The Sporting News (17th), Lindy's (22nd) and Phil Steele (36th).
An FCS-leading seven of CAA Football's 11 squads appeared in The Sports Network/Fathead.com Preseason Top 25. The league's total is three more than any other conference represented in the preseason poll, and one more than it began the 2010 season with in the same poll.
William and Mary, which visits Robins Stadium on November 19, opens the season at No. 3, followed by Delaware (fifth), New Hampshire (10th), Villanova (14th), James Madison (15th), Richmond and Massachusetts (25th). The Spiders are set to face all but Villanova this season.