Tuesday, August 6, 2013

No suprises in Ohio Athletic Conference preseason polls

CANTON -- A new coach and only five returning starters hasn't clouded perceptions of Mount Union's football program.

The Ohio Athletic Conference revealed preseason coaches and media polls during Tuesday's media day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In a banquet room with huge renderings of Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, Willie Roaf and Howie Long looming in the background, one of the sport's storied teams received the bulk of the attention.

Big things are expected at Mount Union -- again.  The Purple Raiders, who are bracing for their first season under Vince Kehres, the son of legendary coach Larry Kehres, were tabbed preseason favorites in both polls. Mount Union went 15-0 and claimed its 11th NCAA Division III title in 2012.

Vince Kehres sounded like a veteran head coach when discussing the polls with The News-Herald.

"First and foremost, we don't put too much stock into those polls," he said."They are largely based on what has happened in the past. We understand that what's going to be said will be said on the field this year."

Mount Union received 80 points and eight of 10 first-place points in the coaches poll. The Purple Raiders received 353 points and 31 of 36 first-place votes in the media poll. Heidelberg, which advanced to the NCAA playoffs last season, was picked to finish behind Mount Union in both polls.

John Carroll, which is preparing for its first season under Tom Arth, was selected in fifth in both polls. The Blue Streaks went 6-4 last season.

John Carroll junior wide receiver Aramis Greenwood said the Blue Streaks will use the preseason polls as motivation. John Carroll opens the season Sept. 7 against St. Norbert in Chicago.

"Everyone rating us fifth in the conference has me stoked,"  Greenwood said. "I'm just excited to get the season started against St. Norbert with a win."

Ohio Athletic Conference Preseason Polls

Coaches Poll

1. Mount Union (80 points, two first-place votes), 2. Heidelberg (73, two), 3. Baldwin Wallace (60), 4. Otterbein (58), 5. John Carroll (49), 6. Ohio Northern (49), 7. Muskingum (31), 8. Capital (26), 9. Wilmington (16), 10. Marietta (13)

Media Poll

1. Mount Union (353, 31), 2. Heidelberg (324, five), 3. Baldwin Wallace (270), 4. Otterbein (238), 5. John Carroll (222), 6. Ohio Northern (192), 7. Muskingum (129), 8. Capital (123), 9. Marietta (61), 10. Wilmington (60)

-- Guy Cipriano | @newsheraldguy


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