Blue Raider golfers open season ranked among nation's best

Team in Top 30 of two polls

September 5, 2008 · MT Athletic Communications

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee men's golf team will open the 2008-09 season with the highest preseason ranking in program history.

The Blue Raiders are ranked No. 29 in the Golfweek Preseason Top 30 poll and 30th in the Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Preseason Poll as they prepare to open the fall season at the Aldila Intercollegiate at Council Fire Golf Course in Chattanooga Monday.

Despite the highest preseason ranking ever for a Middle Tennessee golf team, second-year head coach Whit Turnbow said his players were actually somewhat let down the ranking was not higher. After all, the Blue Raiders return four players who were in the lineup when the team made the cut and finished 15th at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf National Championship last May.

"Frankly, my players were a little disappointed the ranking wasn't higher so we will use it as bulletin board material because we talk about not being satisfied all the time," Turnbow said. "They are not satisfied about being No. 29 or No. 30 so that's a great mindset to the beginning of the year."

Middle Tennessee returns stellar seniors Rick Cochran and Chas Narramore, along with steady juniors Kent Bulle and Craig Smith, and rising sophomore star Jason Millard from last year's record-setting team. Sophomore Andrew Green and three heralded freshmen provide quality depth to an experienced lineup.

Turnbow said his players realize it is not easy to get to the National Championships but, at the same time, getting there is not their ultimate goal. It's also the reason his team sees their preseason status as a sign of respect for recent accomplishments but they also realize there is unfinished business.

"Don't get me wrong, the preseason rankings are a nice honor for our program and for these players because they have worked hard," Turnbow said. "By the same token we are trying to figure out how we are going to win the whole thing and that's our goal - to win the National Championship."

Golfweek Preseason Top 30
1 Georgia
2 Oklahoma State
5 Stanford
6 Florida
7 Clemson
8 Florida State
9 Arizona State
10 Georgia Tech
11 Texas A&M
12 Chattanooga
13 South Carolina
14 East Tennessee
15 Wake Forest
16 Michigan State
17 Texas Tech
18 Indiana
19 Charlotte
20 Alabama
21 Duke
22 Tennessee
24 UAB
25 Kent State
26 North Carolina
27 Texas
28 Mississippi State
29 Middle Tennessee
30 Mississippi

Golf World/Nike Golf
Coaches' Preseason Poll

2 Oklahoma State
3 Georgia
5 Stanford
6 Clemson
7 Florida
8 Alabama
9 Texas A&M
10 Georgia Tech
11 Florida State
12 Arizona State
13 Charlotte
14 Duke
15 Tennessee
16 Auburn
17 Kent State
18 East Tennessee
19 South Carolina
20 Wake Forest
21 Indiana
23 San Diego State
24 Texas
25 North Carolina
26 Chattanooga
27 Louisville
28 Illinois
29 Washington
30 Middle Tennessee

Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.