St. Thomas has been selected No. 8 in the 2012 preseason top 25 poll by D3Football.com. It's the 31st consecutive D3Football.com poll that has included the Tommies in its top 10, all since 2009.
As expected, last season's Stagg Bowl teams, UW-Whitewater (17 first-place votes) and Mount Union (Ohio) (eight votes), ranked 1-2.
Wesley (Del.), Mary Hardin-Baylor (Tex.), Linfield (Ore.), North Central (Ill.), Salisbury (Md.), UST, Delaware Valley (Pa.) and Wabash (Ind.) round out the top 10.
St. Thomas graduated four All-Americans among its 14 seniors but returns a large group of starters on both sides of the ball and an elite punter from a record-setting 2011 team. All-America center Curtis James is one of seven returning Toms voted first- or second-team All-MIAC last fall.
The Tommies reached the NCAA playoff quarterfinal round for the third consecutive season, won a school-record 13 games, and repeated as MIAC champion.
UST's 36 wins over the last three seasons are the fourth most in Division III behind Whitewater (45), Mount Union (42) and Wesley (38).
St. Thomas will start its 2012 season on the road Sept. 1 at UW-Eau Claire. After playing UW-River Falls at home on Sept. 8, the Toms start conference play Sept. 15 at St. John's.
Glenn Caruso, who was voted the 2010 and 2011 Liberty Mutual's Division III National Coach of the Year, is starting his fifth season at UST. His 43-7 record thus far includes a 25-2 mark at O'Shaughnessy Stadium and a 7-3 postseason mark.
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