Finishing only behind National Champion North Dakota State and runner-up Towson, Eastern has a top four finish for the third time in four years and fourth time overall
After another thrilling run to the semifinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, the Eastern Washington University football team ended the season ranked third in a pair of final NCAA Football Championship Subdivision polls announced Monday (Jan. 6).
The Eagles finished third in The Sports Network Top 25 Poll of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries. In the Coaches Poll, Eastern was also third. The only teams ahead of EWU were FCS champion North Dakota State and runner-up Towson.
Eastern, which ranked third in the final regular season TSN Poll and was seeded third in the playoffs, finished the 2013 campaign 12-3. It was the fifth season in school history with 11 or more wins (joining the 2012, 2010, 1997 and 1967 squads), and came on the heels of EWU’s seventh Big Sky Conference Championship in school history and first with a perfect 8-0 mark.
It was the third time in the last four years Eastern has finished ranked in the top four, including a No. 4 ranking to end the 2012 season. Eastern ended the 2010 season as the No. 1 team in FCS after winning the NCAA Division I title. In 1997, Eastern finished fourth in The Sports Network poll as well as the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. In 1997, 2012 and 2013, Eastern advanced to the semifinals of the FCS Playoffs.
Overall, this is the 11th time Eastern has finished the season nationally ranked, including seven times since 2004. The other seasons were in 1985, 1992, 1993, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012
Eastern finished 5-2 versus teams ranked in final top 25 poll by The Sports Network. Eastern had regular season Big Sky victories over No. 8 Montana, No. 20 Montana State and No. 21 Southern Utah, and fell in a non-conference game at No. 14 Sam Houston State.
In the FCS Playoffs, Eastern defeated No. 13 South Dakota State and No. 10 Jacksonville State, but fell to Towson in the semifinals to help the Tigers catapult from fifth at the end of the regular season to second in the final poll. Eastern did not play Northern Arizona, which finished 15th in the final TSN poll.
Eastern made its 10th appearance in the playoffs in 2013, becoming the 16th team in FCS to have 10 or more appearances. The other appearances for the Eagles came in 1985, 1992, 1997, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012.
In all, the Eagles broke 48 school, 22 Big Sky and 12 FCS records during the 2013 season.
EWU’s Season-Ending National FCS/I-AA Rankings
1985 – 11th (NCAA Division I-AA Poll)
1992 – 14th (NCAA Division I-AA Poll)
1993 – 20th (The Sports Network)
1997 – 4th (The Sports Network) & 4th (ESPN/USA Today)
2004 – 8th (The Sports Network) & 7th (ESPN/USA Today)
2005 – 13th (The Sports Network) & 13th (ESPN/USA Today)
2007 – 8th (The Sports Network) & 8th (Coaches)
2009 – 13th (The Sports Network) & 13th (Coaches)
2010 – 1st (The Sports Network) & 1st (Coaches)
2012 – 4th (The Sports Network) & 4th (Coaches)
2013 - 3rd (The Sports Network) & 3rd (Coaches)