Riding the momentum of an 8-3 season, NAU football was picked to finished fifth in the 2013 Big Sky Media and Coaches' Preseason Polls Monday -- a four-spot increase from 2012.
In addition to their first eight-win season since 2003, the Lumberjacks come into 2013 fresh off a campaign in which they recorded an eight-game win streak and a 6-2 record in Big Sky play.
Despite a strong showing in conference play, Jerome Souers and Co. failed to qualify for the postseason in 2012. Several key contributors from last year's squad -- running back Zach Bauman, safety Lucky Dozier, cornerback Anders Battle and defensive lineman Tim Wilkinson -- will be back in the fold, though, for the Lumberjacks this season.
Coming in ahead of NAU in the Big Sky Preseason Polls were Montana State, Eastern Washington, Montana and Cal Poly.
While the Lumberjacks didn't top the polls Monday, they did have a conference-high six players (Bauman, Battle, Dozier, Wilkinson, tight end Ricky Rickert and punter Andy Wilder) named to the Big Sky All-Preseason team.
NAU will kick off its 2013 season Aug. 30 at Arizona.