Street and Smith's College Football Yearbook and Lindy's Sports College Football National Preview, released in the summer of 2018, have Fort Hays State football ranked No. 4 in their preseason polls for NCAA Division II. The Tigers are coming off their most successful season in program history, reaching the Super Region 3 Semifinals of the NCAA Playoffs in 2017 with an 11-1 overall record. The Tigers claimed their first MIAA Championship in the process, going undefeated in the regular season.
Fort Hays State went into the NCAA Playoffs last year ranked No. 4 in the nation, but finished at No. 8 in the final AFCA Division II Poll. The Tigers made the playoffs for the first time since the 1995. It was their third appearance in the Division II playoffs overall. Street and Smith's and Lindy's do not conduct polls for Division II throughout the year. The official preseason poll from the AFCA, along with the supplemental weekly poll from D2Football.com, will release at a later date, but Fort Hays State's amazing run in 2017 definitely grabbed the attention of several national football information sources.
Ferris State, which knocked the Tigers out of the playoffs last year, sits at No. 3 in the Lindy's Poll, but all the way down at No. 19 in the Street and Smith's Poll. The first week of the season will feature a big match up in Hays when Central Missouri comes to town. The Mules are tabbed No. 10 in the Lindy's Poll and No. 18 in the Street and Smith's Poll. The Mules came to Hays last year in Week 2 of the season as the No. 13 ranked team in the nation by the AFCA. An unranked FHSU team at the time posted a convincing 35-6 win, grabbing the attention of the Division II football world. The Tigers jumped into the AFCA Top 25 Poll for the remainder of the year after that win, ascending all the way to No. 4 by regular season's end. The run also included an MIAA Championship clinching win at defending national champion Northwest Missouri State by a score of 13-12 in Week 10. Northwest Missouri is among the top 10 in both magazine polls.
The Tigers return three of their eight 2017 All-America selections this year, which includes senior linebacker Jose Delgado, senior defensive back Doyin Jibowu, and junior punter Dante Brown. All three received All-America status from the Don Hansen Football Committee last year. Eleven of the 21 All-MIAA selections for FHSU from last year also return.