Despite a 3-6 record in 2010 and the loss of head coach Jeff Sims to Indiana University, Fort Scott Community College's football team is ranked No. 23 in the JCGridiron.com "Dirty 30" rankings, which were released Tuesday.
New head coach Curtis Horton, promoted from offensive co-ordinator, will take the field on August 25 with the No. 23-ranked team in the country. The Greyhounds' opponent that night, Blinn, will bring the No. 2 ranking to Frary Field.
JCGridiron.com's poll includes all members of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and the football-playing schools in California, which are not NJCAA members. The NJCAA conducts its own poll, which has not yet been compiled.
JCGridiron cited "A lot of returning talent from a very young team in 2010," in placing the 'Hounds 23rd and also said that they "could surprise in the Jayhawk (Conference)."
FSCC played in the Citizens Bank Bowl against Blinn in 2009 for the NJCAA national championship. The Greyhounds were undefeated and ranked No. 1 going into the contest. But No. 2 Blinn scored on an 85-yard kickoff return with 15 seconds remaining to win the game and claim the national title.
Last season, the schools met in Brenham, Texas, as one of the games in the season-opening challenge between Kansas jucos and the schools of the Southwest Junior College Football Conference (SWJCFC). Blinn won that game 55-42. Fort Scott was No. 3 in the NJCAA poll going into that contest while Blinn was No. 1. However, neither team lived up to the lofty pre-season expectations as Fort Scott failed to make the Region VI Playoffs while Blinn finished 8-3 and ranked 10th in the final NJCAA poll.
Each school's conference rival -- Navarro (Texas) and Butler -- went on to play for the 2010 NJCAA title in the Citizens Bank Bowl with Navarro prevailing.
The City College of San Francisco, last year's runner-up in the final Dirty 30 poll, is ranked No. 1 this preseason. CCSF finished 11-1 last season. Blinn follows with two-time defending Dirty 30 champion Mount San Antonio (Calif.) coming in at No. 3 after going 13-0 last year.
Northwest Mississippi (9-1 in 2010) is No. 4 followed by Gulf Coast, Miss. (10-2) at No. 5.
Butler (11-1) heads up the next five teams in the poll with Butte, Calif. (9-2) at No. 7, Hutchinson (10-2) at No. 8, Arizona Western (10-2) at No. 9 and Saddleback, Calf. (8-3) at No. 10.
Eleventh in the poll is Navarro, which the Dirty 30 pollsters said is "rumored to be reloading). Riverside, Calf. (10-1) is 12th followed by Ventura, Calif. (5-5) at 13, East Mississippi (5-5) 14th and Iowa Western (9-2), which has fielded a team for only the past two seasons, at No. 15.
The College of San Mateo, Calif. (8-3) comes in at No. 16 followed by Grand Rapids, Mich. (10-2), Bakersfield, Calif. (8-3), Fullerton, Calif. (7-4) and Ellsworth, Iowa (7-3).
The final 10 begins with Pierce, Calf. (8-3) at No. 21 followed by Pearl River, Miss. (6-3) at 22, then Fort Scott, College of the Canyons, Calif. (6-5) at 24, Eastern Arizona (9-3) 25th, El Camino, Calif. (2-8) 26th, Los Angeles Harbor (8-2) 27th, Georgia Military (6-3) 28th, Santa Rosa, Calif. (3-7) 29th and Diablo Valley, Calif. (8-3) rounding out the poll at No. 30.
Fort Scott's schedule, as seen below, kicks off with consecutive games against pre-season ranked opponents. The Blinn contest, should the listed 7 p.m. kickoff time remain unchanged, will be the Greyhounds' first night home game since the last week of the 2006 regular season. The next weekend, September 3, FSCC will go to El Dorado to face No. 6 Butler.
CAPS -- Home games.
Bold -- Jayhawk Conference games.
|Aug. 25||BLINN||L. 42-55||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 3||at Butler||L. 7-49||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 10||at Independence||W. 14-12||7 p.m.|
|Sept. 17||GARDEN CITY||L. 13-16||1 p.m.|
|Sept. 24||at Coffeyville||L. 14-59||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 1||HUTCHINSON||L. 10-35||1 p.m.|
|Oct. 8||at Air Force Prep||L. 19-45||1 p.m.|
|Oct. 15||at Dodge City||W. 71-19||1 p.m.|
|Oct. 22||Bye week|
|Oct. 29||HIGHLAND||W. 47-6||1 p.m.|
|Nov. 6||Region VI Semifinal||--||1:30|
|Nov. 13||Region VI Championship||--||1:30|