Monday, August 29, 2011

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Thomas More the pick in PAC

Three-time defending conference champion Thomas More College has been picked to again capture the 2011 football championship in the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC), according to the preseason poll released at the 2011 PAC Football Media Day at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe today. Voters in the polls included conference head coaches, sports information directors (SIDs), and members of the media present at the conference media day.

The three-time defending PAC champion Saints of fifth-year head coach Jim Hilvert return 19 starters and 42 lettermen from last year's team which finished 11-1 overall, including a perfect 7-0 mark against conference competition. Thomas More earned 24 of 26 total first-place votes and 232 points in the conference poll to top second place Washington & Jefferson (200), followed by Waynesburg (165), Bethany and Grove City (tied with 117), Geneva (110), Saint Vincent (108), Westminster (78) and Thiel (43).

Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) 2011 Preseason Football Poll

Points Record
1. Thomas More (24) 232 11-1 (7-0)
2. Washington & Jefferson (1) 200 9-2 (6-1)
3. Waynesburg (1) 165 6-4 (4-3)
4t. Bethany 117 5-5 (4-3)
4t. Grove City 117 5-5 (3-4)
6. Geneva 110 5-5 (n/a)
7. Saint Vincent 108 3-7 (3-4)
8. Westminster 78 2-8 (1-6)
9. Thiel 43 0-10 (0-7)

(xx) - first place votes

"It is an honor to be picked first again this year. This pick recognizes past and present players," said Hilvert. "But, last year is last year. We have a lot of hard work to do this year. We must play with a certain edge this year to accomplish the goals we set this off-season. In the PAC, you must be ready week in and week out. We must also stay healthy."

In the 2010 postseason, Thomas More topped Washington & Lee 42-14 in the NCAA first round before falling at Mary Hardin-Baylor in the second round. W&J captured the ECAC D-III Southwest Bowl with a 54-41 victory over Franklin & Marshall.

Following is the voting breakdown among coaches, SIDs and media:

1. Thomas More (8) 80
2. Wash. & Jeff. 68
3. Waynesburg (1) 58
4. Grove City 46
5. Bethany 41
6. Saint Vincent 40
7. Geneva 32
8. Westminster 24
9. Thiel 17

1. Thomas More (9) 89
2. Wash. & Jeff. (1) 76
3. Waynesburg 63
4t. Bethany 48
4t. Grove City 48
6t. Geneva 39
6t. Saint Vincent 39
8. Westminster 29
9. Thiel 19

1. Thomas More (7) 63
2. Wash. & Jeff. 56
3. Waynesburg 44
4. Geneva 39
5. Saint Vincent 29
6. Bethany 28
7. Westminster 25
8. Grove City 23
9. Thiel 7

Cal picked in PSAC

For the sixth straight season, the California Vulcans have been tabbed the favorite to win the PSAC West while Bloomsburg has been selected unanimously to win the PSAC East. This marks the second time in the last three seasons that the Huskies have been picked to win the East. The Vulcans and Huskies top the divisions in the 2011 PSAC football coaches' preseason poll that is being announced today as a part of PSAC football media day.

Bloomsburg will be looking to advance to the PSAC Championship game for the second straight season while California will look to return to the "State Game" this year after missing it last season for the first time since it was reinstated for the 2008 season. The Vulcans claimed the PSAC title in 2008 before falling to Shippensburg in the 2009 game. Last season, Mercyhurst won its first PSAC title by topping the Huskies in the championship game. Additionally, the Vulcans will be looking to make their fifth straight appearance in the NCAA playoffs. California had its run of three straight regional title snapped last season as Bloomsburg knocked out the Vulcans in the first round of the playoffs. The Huskies will be looking to return to the playoffs for the third time in the last four seasons and the fourth time in the last seven years.

In a complete reversal of last year's Eastern Division preseason poll when four different teams received first place votes, not including the team that finished first in the poll in West Chester, Bloomsburg received all eight first place votes to be the consensus pick to win the division. Kutztown, which finished just one game behind the Huskies in last year's standings and advanced to the NCAA playoffs for the first time in school history, came in second as the Golden Bears were listed in second on six of the eight ballots. West Chester and C.W. Post follow in third and fourth place, respectively, as those two teams were separated by just one point. East Stroudsburg came in fifth, just two points ahead of sixth place Shippensburg, while Millersville and Cheyney rounded out the poll.

The Western Division featured a very close race for the top spot as both California and second place Mercyhurst received four first place votes apiece and the Vulcans edged out the Lakers by just two points for the top spot. This represented a departure for the preseason polls of the past three seasons when the PSAC started tracking first place votes in its preseason polls as California received a majority of first place votes in each of the last three polls. IUP and Slippery Rock tied for third place while Gannon came in fifth, two points ahead of sixth place Edinboro. Clarion and Lock Haven rounded out the poll.

The results of the coaches' poll are listed below. First place votes are in parenthesis.

Eastern Division
1. Bloomsburg (8)
2. Kutztown
3. West Chester
4. C.W. Post
5. East Stroudsburg
6. Shippensburg
7. Millersville
8. Cheyney

Western Division
1. California (4)
2. Mercyhurst (4)
T3. Slippery Rock
5. Gannon
6. Edinboro
7. Clarion
8. Lock Haven