Mocs Ranked 20th in Athlon Preseason FCS Poll


( CHATTANOOGA—The start of preseason polls is out with Athlon Sports Preseason FCS Top 25 released for the 2021 campaign.

The Mocs are 20th among Athlon’s perennial picks. The 2020-21 campaign saw the squad post a 3-2 mark, 3-1 in the Southern Conference before it came to an abrupt end due to COVID-19.

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All 11 starters are back on offense with additional depth apparent with the number of backups that got extended looks. Jacobs Blocking Award winner Cole Strange anchors an offensive line that has three different running backs behind with collegiate 100-yard games. Ditto on defense which was dominant with All-America defensive lineman Devonnsha Maxwell headlining the crew.

Chattanooga is one of two Southern Conference squads to make the list behind No. 18 VMI with Furman receiving honorable mention. The season opener is eye-catching with Ohio Valley Conference favorite Austin Peay coming in at No. 23.

It’s the first home opener with both teams ranked since the narrow 23-20 loss on Sept. 5, 2015 against Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks were No. 7 that night while Chattanooga entered at No. 8. It will be the fourth time in five years opening with an OVC opponent.

2017: 12th-ranked Mocs lost 27-13 to No. 5 Jacksonville State in Montgomery

2018: Won 34-10 over Tennessee Tech in Finley Stadium

2019: 24-10 win over Eastern Illinois in Wright’s debut

The Mocs are readying for the 2021 fall campaign. Home games await hosting Austin Peay, Western Carolina, ETSU, Furman and The Citadel. It opens on Thursday, Sept. 2, with a visit from the Governors. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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Rick Nyman grew up in Anniston, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. His television career started at WJSU-TV in Anniston where he had the opportunity to cover SEC football with Alabama and Auburn. Anniston is just 20 minutes from the Talladega Speedway, so NASCAR was a big part of his sports coverage. Due to this he was able to interview Davey Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, and several other top-name NASCAR drivers. Rick's next television job was in Savannah, Georgia, where he covered basketball player Kwame Brown (now with the Washington Wizards), who later became the first ever high school player selected as the top pick in the NBA draft. He covered the PGA Tour's annual swing thru Hilton Head and also had the opportunity of covering the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl appearance in 1999 in Miami. Rick especially enjoys all the atmosphere, tradition and drama of college football. He also likes profiling sports personalities and learning what drives them both on and off the field. If he's not covering sports, he's either watching Seinfield or David Letterman, playing golf, reading, or working out. What he enjoys about Chattanooga is the passion people have for sports. The mountainous region of Chattanooga reminds him of his hometown of Anniston, which also has big, beautiful trees and plenty of hills. You can contact Rick at