Chicago, IL – August 10, 2015– STATS LLC, the world’s leading sports technology, data and content company, unveiled its preseason FCS Top 25 poll Monday – featuring four-time defending champion North Dakota State as the overwhelming No. 1 – and launched a destination site for FCS players and fans throughout the country.
STATS, which purchased The Sports Network (TSN) in February, announced it would expand TSN’s commitment to FCS coverage when revealing its preseason All-America team last month. For almost three decades, TSN served the FCS community with such staples as a pre- and postseason All-America team, weekly Top 25 poll, national players of the week, award watch lists and season-ending honors.
To no one’s surprise, North Dakota State University (NDSU) will be a significant part of that coverage. The Bison, who received 144 out of 147 first-place votes, begin their quest for an unprecedented fifth straight FCS title when they take on No. 13 Montana in the FCS Kickoff – the first game of the college football season – on Aug. 29. The game will be televised by ESPN.
“What we’ve done has been phenomenal, but we have to stay hungry,” said NDSU coach Chris Klieman. “It’s different in my five years here now that we have most of our guys back on offense and very few on defense. We are going to need some young guys to step up, and we’re going to be challenged right away at Montana.”
Illinois State, Sam Houston State, Villanova, Coastal Carolina, Eastern Washington, Jacksonville State, Chattanooga, New Hampshire and Northern Iowa rounded out the top 10.
STATS’ coverage of the subdivision will be spearheaded by longtime TSN FCS Executive Director Craig Haley and supported by journalists based out of STATS’ Chicagoland headquarters. The company is leveraging its core editorial, data and product expertise to create a destination site – www.fcs.football – featuring breaking news, real-time scores and video analysis that no FCS fan will want to go without.
“By continuing the FCS Top 25 poll and bolstering it with a destination website, STATS is showing its commitment to improving FCS player and fan experiences. It’s such fertile ground for coverage,” Haley said.
The site will continue to evolve throughout the season both in its look and content. A conference-by-conference preview package and regular video installments on timely topics are set to kick off this week, in addition to features and breaking news as the season nears.
“The idea is to make fcs.football a one-stop shop for everyone’s FCS coverage needs,” said Brian Orefice, STATS’ Director of News and Editorial Operations, “whether that fan is looking for the latest score from a Maine Black Bears game or breaking news on the San Diego Toreros.”
The FCS competes at the NCAA’s Division I level, and is home to 125 schools in 13 conferences across the country. Approximately 150 FCS players are on NFL rosters annually, including current stars Tony Romo (Eastern Illinois), Joe Flacco (Delaware), Vincent Jackson (Northern Colorado), Jared Allen (Idaho State) and Julius Thomas (Portland State).