In addition to the NFCA preseason poll, the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 was released on Tuesday afternoon. Michigan appeared at No. 8, while Illinois and Ohio State tied for No. 24 in the first poll. Northwestern is among the teams also receiving votes outside the top 25.
The 2011 softball season will begins on Thursday, Feb. 10 with Indiana beginning competition. The majority of conference teams will begin play Feb. 11 or 12, Wisconsin begins play on Feb. 17 and Penn State opens the year on Feb. 18.