LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Valdosta State begins the defense of its 2012 national championship as the unanimous pick at No. 1 in the NFCA Preseason Poll released on Wednesday.

PRESEASON NFCA COACHES' POLL
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The Blazers received all 16 possible first-place votes to hold down the top position while last season’s runner-up UC San Diego (45-23) followed closely behind in second.

Kutztown (52-7), Angelo State (48-11) and Southern Connecticut State (43-13) rounded out the top five.

Columbus State (40-20) jumped all the way from the “receiving votes” category in last year’s final listing to No. 10 in the 2013 preseason ranking, while Minnesota State Mankato (49-10) enjoyed a seven-position improvement from No. 13 up to sixth.

Joining the Lady Cougars as new additions to this year’s rating was Abilene Christian (30-18) at No. 22 and Dixie State (38-13) in a tie for No. 24.

Three squads departed from last year’s final poll as Florida Southern (No. 18), Winona State (No. 19) and Lenoir-Rhyne (No. 20) dropped into the “receiving votes” category