(WACO, Tx.) The reigning Division II National Champion will begin the 2012 football season on top.
Pittsburg State received 21 first place votes in the AFCA Preseason D-II Coaches Poll that was released Monday putting them atop the rankings.
Pitt beat Wayne State 35-21 in December to win the title. It was the Gorillas fourth appearance in Florence, Alabama since 1992.
Fellow MIAA team, Northwest Missouri State landed the 3rd spot in the nation with one first place vote. The Bearcats season ended in a 41-16 loss to Pitt in the playoffs.
Missouri Western is 18th on the AFCA Preseason Rankings. The Griffons finished the 2011 season with a 9-3 record, and hosted the first playoff game in program history. Western's run was cut down by Northwest in a 35-29 postseason loss.
The only other MIAA team in the rankings is Washburn at 20th. The Ichabods posted a 10-3 record last season.
For the full list of rankings, visit http://www.afca.com/article/article.php?id=2233