Grand Island, Neb. - The Black Hills State Yellow Jackets have been ranked 17th nationally in the Victory Sports Network preseason NAIA Top 25 poll. This season the Yellow Jackets will face three opponents also ranked in the VSN poll.

“The preseason ranking demonstrates how far we have come,” said Black Hills State head football coach John Scott. “Our ultimate goal is to be higher when the season ends and reach the playoffs.”

Black Hills State will open the season with No. 1 ranked Carroll College on Sept. 2 in Spearfish, S.D. This is the third consecutive season that Carroll College has been ranked on top of the VSN poll. Carroll has lost 17 seniors from last season’s championship campaign.

“Opening with the number one team in the nation is a double edged sword,” said Scott. “On one side is the awesome opportunity to play the four-time defending champions at home, but at the same time they are ranked there for a reason and they will be ready to defend that ranking. We must have a genuine confidence nurtured through preparation in order to give ourselves the best chance of competing with them - they simply will expose any weaknesses early and not look back.”

The Dakota Athletic Conference is represented in the VSN Top 25 by two other schools besides Black Hills State. Dickinson State is ranked No. 11 and Valley City State is at No. 24. The Yellow Jackets will face Dickinson State on Sept. 23 and Valley City State on Oct. 28. Both games will be home games for the Yellow Jackets and will be in Lyle Hare Stadium.

The VSN poll is compiled from information submitted from coaches in the NAIA as well as reports from the Victory Sports Network writers team. VSN's Owner Jason Dannelly then compiles the poll based on that information.

“Our conference will be balanced again like it was last year. Dickinson and Valley State have grown accustomed to being ranked and Minot State is set to get back into the rankings where they have been in previous years,” said Scott. “Tech, Dakota State, Mayville State, and Jamestown are a lot like us in closing the gap on the top dogs - we all need some luck and a good start to the season.”

The Victory Sports Network Preseason NAIA Top 25:
1. Carroll College
2. St. Francis (Ind)
3. Georgetown College
4. Sioux Falls
5. McKendree College
6. Walsh University
7. Morningside College
8. St. Xavier University
9. Azusa Pacific University
10. Lindenwood University
11. Dickinson State University
12. Geneva College
13. Graceland University
14. Montana. Northern University
15. Evangel University
16. Texas College
17. Black Hills State University
18. Bethel College Tn
19. Kansas Wesleyan University
20. University of the Cumberlands
21. St. Ambrose University
22. Montana Tech University
23. Urbana University
24. Valley City State University
25. MidAmerica Nazarene University
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