Yale favored in Ivy League

The Ivy League is playing an integral role in college football's 150th anniversary season this year, and a great title race would add to its spotlight. The league's preseason media poll predicted just that Thursday with Yale installed as the favorite as five of the eight teams received first-place votes. The Bulldogs, who won the Ivy title two years ago, collected 119 points in the poll. Dartmouth (111) was second and defending champion Princeton (107) third. Princeton played Rutgers in the first collegiate game Nov. 6, 1869. Three days after the actual anniversary, the Tigers and Dartmouth will square off at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 9. Yale (5-5, 3-4) is trying to bounce back from an injury-plagued season. Coach Tony Reno's team has a league-high 21 returning starters. Princeton (10-0, 7-0) is coming off its first unbeaten season since 1964, handing Dartmouth (9-1, 6-1) its only loss 14-9. The top three teams combined for 15 of the 17 first-place votes, but fourth-pick Harvard and sixth-pick Columbia also received one each.
August 8, 2019

Colgate favored in Patriot League

Defending champion Colgate had the most Patriot League preseason selections and was picked for a title repeat in the league's preseason poll on Tuesday. Colgate boasted 10 players on the 29-member squad, led by quarterback Grant Breneman and defensive end Nick Wheeler, the league's preseason offensive and defensive players of the year, respectively. The Raiders, who went 10-2 overall and 6-0 in league games, was picked first in the preseason poll over Holy Cross and Georgetown. Georgetown has the second-most preseason selections with seven.
July 30, 2019

San Diego Pioneer favorite

Defending champion San Diego led the way with six selections as all 10 teams were represented on the Pioneer Football League preseason team Monday. San Diego players Michael Armstead (return specialist), Michael Bandy (wide receiver), Nick Friedel (defensive end), Kama Kamaka (linebacker), Tanner Kuljian (punter) and Emilio Martinez (running back) were named to the 29-member squad. Butler and Drake had the second-most selections with four each. The squad included nine All-PFL first-team selections from last season.
July 29, 2019

North Dakota State MVC favorite

North Dakota State's recent dominance in the Missouri Valley Football Conference has been even greater than on a national level. That's saying a lot because the Bison have won two straight and a record seven of the last eight FCS championships. In the MVFC, though, they've been champs in eight straight seasons, including four times as the outright winner. Last year's team went 15-0 overall. But NDSU doesn't believe eight is enough in the MVFC. Voters in the conference's preseason poll predicted the Bison will continue their success, installing them as the favorite on Monday, with South Dakota State second and Illinois State third among 10 teams. NDSU has a new head coach in former defensive coordinator Matt Entz and their streak of consecutive MVFC titles (eight) is a higher number than their returning starters (seven) after the graduation of a dominating senior class. Regardless of all the change, the rest of the elite conference feels the Bison are the team to beat until their dynasty is halted. "I think they're still the champions," Illinois State coach Brock Spack said on an MVFC coaches teleconference. "They have very good players in the program, they have a good staff and they've won multiple national championships, they're going to have good players waiting to play. I'm sure they've done a great job of developing those guys. It's their turn now. "Until you beat the champion, I don't think things have changed." North Dakota State enters the season on a Division I-best 21-game winning streak. The Bison will feature junior outside linebacker 2018 MVFC defensive player of the year Jabril Cox as well as defensive end Derrek Tuszka, offensive tackles Zack Johnson and Dillon Radunz and running back Ty Brooks. Entz embraces the challenge to reload immediately because the Bison "have a number of kids that are hungry. There's a reason they were recruited to Fargo and that was to play football." But NDSU's rival, South Dakota State, has reached the national semifinals in the last two seasons and again poses the biggest challenge within the MVFC. The Jackrabbits return 14 starters to a lineup that features some of the nation's best players at their position in wide receiver Cade Johnson, running back Pierre Strong Jr., linebacker Christian Rozeboom and place-kicker Chase Vinatieri. "Last year we talked about who we lost and our guys responded, so I expect our guys to respond the same way," coach John Stiegelmeier said. "The biggest question for us is the quarterback situation, having lost a four-year starter in Taryn Christion. But again, Taryn expects us to be better at quarterback. That's a good start.
July 29, 2019

N.C. A&T favored in MEAC

The low number with North Carolina A&T on Friday was "1" - the Aggies' spot in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason poll. The other low number with the two-time defending champion as it heads toward the 2019 season is something that should excite the rest of the conference. The Aggies return only eight starters - four on each side of the ball. That's five fewer than any other team as the rest of the FCS conference returns experienced starting lineups. Still, beating N.C. A&T has almost become just a hope in the MEAC. Bethune-Cookman was picked second and Florida A&M third in a conference that drops to nine teams with Savannah State's return to the Division II level. Florida A&M is under NCAA sanctions, ineligible for the conference title and the postseason. N.C. A&T went 10-2 last season, beating an FBS opponent for the third straight year and winning the Celebration Bowl and the black college national title for the third time in four seasons. While the player losses were significant, coach Sam Washington's Aggies feature a quarterback who's appeared in 24 career games, fifth-year senior Kylil Carter, a potential All-America wide receiver in Elijah Bell and an All-America cornerback in Mac McCain. "We want to be in the top echelon of FCS teams and in order to do that you have to win your league year in and year out," said Washington, the 2018 MEAC coach of the year. "Winning this league becomes harder and harder every year. There are a lot of good young coaches in this conference with tremendous talent on their teams. We're looking forward to the challenge."
July 26, 2019

UConn will pay $17M to leave the AAC for Big East

The University of Connecticut has agreed to pay a $17 million exit fee to the American Athletic Conference, so the school can rejoin the Big East next year. AAC bylaws stipulate any school seeking to leave the conference must give 27 months' notice and pay a $12 million fee, but the sides negotiated the higher fee for UConn to leave sooner. UConn Athletic Director David Benedict in a statement Friday thanked AAC Mike Aresco and his staff for their professionalism during the transition process. Aresco praised Benedict for helping the sides reach a "swift and amicable resolution." The Huskies will join the Big East in all sports except football, men's and women's ice hockey and rowing. UConn also announced Friday its football program will become an independent in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2020.
July 26, 2019

Pac-12 to move football title game to Las Vegas in 2020

The Pac-12 will move its football championship game to Las Vegas in 2020 and 2021. Commissioner Larry Scott announced the decision Wednesday at the start of Pac-12 media day in Hollywood. The league title game has been played at Levi's Stadium in suburban Santa Clara, California, since 2014. The event has struggled for solid attendance in the past half-decade, including a noticeably empty stadium for Washington's win over Utah last year. After the upcoming season, the game will move to party-friendly Las Vegas and the Raiders' new stadium, which is still under construction just west of the Strip. The Pac-12 men's basketball tournament has been played in Las Vegas since 2013, and conference leaders have credited the move with boosting attendance.
July 24, 2019

Utah favorite by media to win Pac-12

Utah has been selected as the favorite to win the Pac-12 in the annual preseason poll of media members. The Utes and Oregon were tabbed to win their respective league divisions in the poll released Wednesday before the conference's media day in Hollywood. Utah received 12 of 35 votes to win the Pac-12 for the first time since joining the conference in 2011. Oregon received 11 votes and defending champion Washington had 10. Oregon edged Washington by one point to take the North Division, followed by Stanford and Washington State. The Utes are the overwhelming choice in the South. USC picked up the other two first-place votes. Arizona State and UCLA tied for third.
July 24, 2019

Duquesne NEC favorite

Four new head coaches. Two new programs. A handful of transfer quarterbacks. There's a lot of newness in the Northeast Conference, so what is expected about the upcoming season may change quickly. Then again, the ever-growing conference doesn't often stay on-script. Duquesne was installed as the preseason favorite and had a conference-leading eight preseason selections at NEC social media day Wednesday, but the competition is fierce. Sacred Heart, which earned a share of the conference title with the Dukes last season, was picked second and 2017 outright champ Central Connecticut State third. Everybody was looking around Met Life Stadium to try to get familiar with each other. The NEC is up to nine members, although newcomer Merrimack isn't playing a full conference schedule yet so the standings will be eight deep this season. Long Island is eligible - with, well, a new Sharks nickname - and comes aboard off a 10-1 season in Division II. "We're excited to join the conference," LIU coach Bryan Collins said. "We feel that we're ready to compete against this conference right from the get-go. I think the biggest thing for us is familiarity. And now we just have to see the schemes, the players, the level of player that they have." Added Merrimack coach Dan Curran, "The good thing for us is we're moving into a league that we have some familiarity with. We've had some crossover in the recruiting process over the last four, five years. We've had some familiarity in the sense that we've played a bunch of these guys. For the most part, we were pretty competitive. "So I think the kids know they're capable of it. I think the challenge now is, can we do it week in and week out?" Duquesne does exactly that. The Dukes have captured at least a share of three of the last four titles and tied for second in the other season (2017). Preseason camps have yet to start and defenses are already sweating over the thought of facing Dukes senior running A.J. Hines, the 2018 NEC offensive player of the year and the active leading rusher in the FCS. Plus, the Dukes are energized by a win over Towson in the 2018 FCS playoffs - the second in NEC history. "I think it was great for our guys to get rewarded for all their work last year and the efforts they've put in," coach Jerry Schmitt said. "They're using that experience to help them prepare in the offseason for a tough conference, a tough season." Duquesne quarterback Daniel Parr stepped in last year as an Florida Atlantic transfer and won all-conference honors. This season, the other two programs with new coaches have new transfer quarterbacks, Aaron Winchester (Georgia State) under new CCSU coach Ryan McCarthy and Kory Curtis (Ohio State) under new Bryant coach Chris Merritt,. Wagner even landed a bowl-winning MVP, Christian Alexander-Stevens, who powered FIU to a Bahamas Bowl triumph last December. Clearly, the competition in the NEC is making every program increase its level of play. "I think our conference games are much more important because there's more of them," Merritt said. "It gives us new places to go, setting up new rivalries. Changing the landscape all around is pretty fun."
July 24, 2019

Fresno State, Boise State Mountain West favorites

The Mountain West media expects the Bulldogs and the Broncos to meet again in this yearšs championship game. The Mountain West media unveiled how it believes the 2019 football season will unfold and, if you saw last season, it looks awfully familiar. The Fresno State Bulldogs and Boise State Broncos are expected to once again reach the Mountain West championship as the winners of the West division and Mountain division, respectively. It may come as a surprise, however, that Fresno State is seen as a slightly heavier favorite than Boise State, having received 17 of 21 first-place votes. San Diego State and Hawaii split the last four as the Aztecs received three and the Warriors one. The Broncos have been projected to win their division for six years in a row and are still seen as an overwhelming favorite, securing 15 of 21 first-place nods. Utah State was the only other team to earn that vote out of the Mountain, landing the other six.
July 23, 2019

Ohio picked to win MAC

Jim McElwain was enjoying his life and career, working in relative obscurity as Jim Harbaugh's receivers coach. The former Florida coach didn't plan for his gig at Michigan to last less than a year. Central Michigan, though, offered McElwain another chance to lead a college football team and he took it. "This wasn't something I was looking to do," McElwain insisted Tuesday at the Mid-American Conference's football media day. "I really like the vision and direction of the school." Central Michigan won only one game last season under fired coach John Bonamego, who led the program to bowl games the previous three years. McElwain was fired late in the 2017 season at Florida with a 22-12 record over two-plus seasons. McElwain is one of four coaches making his MAC debut this season along with Thomas Hammock at Northern Illinois, Bowling Green's Scot Loeffler and Tom Arth at Akron. Frank Solich, entering his 15th year at Ohio, is at the other end of the experience spectrum in the conference. The former Nebraska coach is expected to have the team to beat. The Solich-led Bobcats are the favorites to win the MAC championship, receiving 24 first-place votes at media day. Toledo was picked to win the West Division, getting 15 first-place votes. Solich has won 106 games at Ohio since 2005 and is five wins away breaking the MAC's coach record for victories set by Herb Deromedi from 1978-1993 at Central Michigan. The MAC's quartet of first-year coaches has a long way to go to catch Solich. Hammock, who previously coached running backs for the Baltimore Ravens, seems to have the best chance to win right away. The former Huskies running back and assistant coach is leading the defending MAC champions and a program with only one losing season in 10 years. Hammock replaces Rod Carey, who left for Temple after leading the school to a 52-30 record and six bowl games in seven seasons. "These men won a championship last season and they expect another championship," he said. Loeffler is also getting his first opportunity to be a head coach. Unlike Hammock, he is taking over a program that has fallen on hard times. The Falcons averaged just three wins the previous three seasons and Loeffler is their fifth coach in five seasons. "We're just trying to get back to the standards Bowling Green has had and will have again," Loeffler said. Arth is moving up the coaching ladder after leading Chattanooga and John Carroll. He is succeeding Terry Bowden, who was fired with a 35-52 record over seven seasons. "It means a lot to me to have an opportunity to bring my family to a special place that is just 30 minutes away from where I grew up," said Arth, who is from Westlake, Ohio. "I understand how much success of the football team means to Akron and Northeast Ohio and I'm very motivated to help establish a successful program."
July 23, 2019

James Madison Colonial favorite

They're sitting right there in plain sight in CAA Football. It's simply a matter of which one or two teams will become the surprise of the conference this season. It basically never fails to happen in the FCS power conference that last season became the first to qualify six teams - half of its 12-school membership - for the national playoffs. At CAA media day on Tuesday, James Madison was installed as the preseason favorite just ahead of Towson, defending champion Maine and Elon. Maine may have taken exception with the poll - again. Last season, the Black Bears won the CAA title after being picked eighth in the preseason. Towson was picked 10th before going on to finish third. Rhode Island was last in the poll and enjoyed its first winning season in 17 years. In 2017, Stony Brook was picked eighth and finished second, while Elon was picked 11th and finished third. Make no mistake, the preseason voting isn't necessarily subpar. The depth of quality teams simply wins out. "You can rank the teams 1 through 12, but it really doesn't matter. What matters is what happens on the field," CAA commissioner Joe D'Antonio said. "On any given Saturday, anybody can beat every other team." There are plenty of potential surprises in the lower half of this year's preseason poll. New Hampshire, picked seventh, is hoping to return to the playoffs after key injuries last season ended its run of 14 consecutive appearances. Traditionally strong programs Villanova and Richmond picked ninth and 10th, respectively, also stand out. The two teams with the most CAA preseason team selections have new coaches. Maine, now led by former offensive coordinator Nick Charlton, had seven, including Earnest Edwards at both wide receiver and kick returner. James Madison, now led by former Elon coach Curt Cignetti, earned six selections. Towson's five selections included preseason offensive player of the year Tom Flacco at quarterback. Richmond defensive end Maurice Jackson earned the top defensive honor.
July 23, 2019

Kennesaw State Big South favorite

Two-time defending Big South champion Kennesaw State University has been tabbed the favorite in the conferencešs annual preseason football poll for the 2019 campaign as voted by the leaguešs head coaches and media panel and announced today at the Big South Conference Football Media Day Kickoff Luncheon at the Renaissance Suites Hotel in Charlotte. The Owls collected 14 of the 20 first-place votes and finished with 134 points to claim the top spot for the third-straight year.  Kennesaw State, which reached the FCS Quarterfinals last season and was ranked No. 4/5 in the final polls, returns 46 letterwinners, 13 starters and seven All-Conference players.  KSU went 11-2 last season (5-0 in the Big South) and ranked second in the nation in total defense with a Big South single-season record of 263.7 yards allowed. Monmouth, which finished second in the 2018 Big South standings for the second consecutive year, was second in the 2019 preseason balloting with 122 points and received five first-place votes.  The Hawks welcome back 15 starters in 2019 -­ including seven on defense.  Charleston Southern claimed third-place in the poll with 79 points and received the remaining first-place nod.  Campbell was predicted fourth in the preseason ranking with 73 points, while Gardner-Webb landed in the fifth spot with 67 points. Hampton, which begins its first season of Big South football this fall, collected 64 points for sixth-place in the poll.  Presbyterian College rounded out the preseason voting with the seventh and final spot, as the Blue Hose received 21 points.  New football associate member North Alabama is not eligible for the preseason ranking as part of its transition to Division I.  The Lions are not eligible for the Big South regular-season championship and its games will not count in the conference standings this coming season. Gardner-Webb and North Alabama open the 2019 season on Thursday night, Aug. 29, while the remaining members begin on Saturday, Aug. 31.  The first conference game is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5, and the regular-season concludes Saturday, Nov. 23, with the Big South champion receiving the leaguešs automatic bid to the FCS Playoffs.
July 23, 2019

Clemson picked to win 5th straight ACC title

Reigning national champion Clemson is the heavy favorite to win a fifth straight Atlantic Coast Conference championship. The league said Monday that the Tigers earned 170 of 173 votes from media members at last week's preseason media days. Syracuse, Clemson's likely top challenger in the Atlantic Division after a 10-win season, earned two votes while Virginia earned one as the Coastal Division favorite. The Cavaliers are the only division team that has not yet captured the Coastal crown, with a different team winning the title for six straight seasons. In the Atlantic, Florida State was picked third followed by North Carolina State, Boston College, Wake Forest and Louisville. In the Coastal, Miami was picked second, followed by Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Duke, North Carolina and Georgia Tech.
July 22, 2019

Wofford is preseason pick to win Southern Conference

Two-time defending Southern Conference champion Wofford has been picked by the league's head coaches and the media to win the title again this season. The Southern Conference announced the results Monday at its annual preseason football gathering. Wofford, which finished 9-4 last season, finished ahead of Furman and East Tennessee State in both polls. Chattanooga was picked fourth by the coaches while Mercer took the fourth spot in the media voting. The rest of the coaches' selections were Mercer in fifth, then Samford, Citadel, Western Carolina and VMI. The media picked Chattanooga fifth, then Samford, Citadel, Western Carolina and VMI.
July 22, 2019

Media picks Alabama to beat Georgia again in SEC title game

Defending Southeastern Conference champion Alabama is the favorite to once again beat Georgia in the title game in a preseason media poll. The Crimson Tide was selected by 203 of 260 voters this week at SEC media days in results released Friday. Georgia, which lost to Alabama in the championship game last season, received 49 first-place votes. Eight teams were picked as the SEC champion on at least one ballot. The predicted order of finish in the West was Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Auburn, Mississippi State, Mississippi and Arkansas. Georgia was picked first in the East, followed by Florida, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. Alabama also led the way with a record 12 first-team preseason All-SEC picks, led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and linebacker Dylan Moses.
July 19, 2019

Jacksonville State unanimous choice in OVC media poll

Jacksonville State has delivered every time as the preseason favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference preseason media poll, so not surprisingly Friday the five-time defending champ was made a unanimous choice for this season. The poll was started in 2014, and the Gamecocks have been the favorite each year, this time gaining all 15 first-place votes and 135 points to outdistance Southeast Missouri, which was second with 115 points. Both teams reached the second round of the FCS playoffs last year. Eastern Kentucky (99) was third followed by Austin Peay (84), Tennessee State (75), UT Martin (58), Murray State (55), Eastern Illinois (38) and Tennessee Tech (16).
July 19, 2019

UCF picked to win American

Central Florida has been picked to win the American Athletic Conference and face Memphis in the championship game for a third straight season. UCF was the top choice among media members to win the East Division and the league when the American released its preseason poll Tuesday at conference media day. The Knights received 19 of 30 first-place votes to win the East and 12 of 30 to win the conference. Memphis is favored to win the West Division over Houston. The Tigers received 15 first-place votes and 165 points. Houston, in its first season under coach Dana Holgorsen, had 14 and 162. USF was picked third in the East, followed by Temple, ECU and UConn. Tulane was picked behind third in the West followed by SMU, Navy and Tulsa. The American also announced its bowl lineup for the 2020-25 seasons. The conference is guaranteed seven bowl slots each year, including one in a new game to be played at Fenway Park in Boston against the Atlantic Coast Conference. The American will annually send a team to the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland, and alternate sending a team to the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Hawaii Bowl. The conference also has agreements with a pool of eight bowl games that will host as many as four AAC teams annually. Those games are: Birmingham Bowl; Gasparilla Bowl in Tampa, Florida; First Responder Bowl in Dallas; Boca Raton (Florida) Bowl; Frisco (Texas) Bowl; Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida; Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) Bowl; and New Mexico Bowl.
July 16, 2019

Oklahoma favored to win 5th straight Big 12 title

Oklahoma is the favorite to win another Big 12 football title, according to the conference's preseason media poll released Wednesday. The Sooners have won the league the last four years and 12 Big 12 championships overall. Oklahoma also made the College Football Playoff three of the past four seasons. Texas was picked second by media covering the league. The top two teams will meet in the conference championship game on Dec. 7. The Longhorns lost to the Sooners in the title matchup in 2018. Iowa State, TCU and Oklahoma State round out the top five picks. The Big 12 will have four new head coaches in 2019 with Les Miles at Kansas, Chris Klieman at Kansas State, Matt Wells at Texas Tech and Neal Brown at West Virginia.
July 10, 2019

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