Football coaches in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association are forecasting a hard-fought conference race for the 2012 season. Alma, under the guidance of new Head Coach Greg Pscodna, were selected to finish fifth by the coaches after finishing 1-5 in the league and 2-8 overall in 2011.
Adrian was named the preseason favorite to win the 2012 MIAA title Thursday in the annual preseason coaches poll, narrowly edging out defending champion Albion.
"We are not too concerned with polls at this time of the summer," said Pscodna. "We will have a very young team with only four returning starters on each side of the ball and that will be a challenge for us. But, at the same time, that means that job opportunities are wide open with no promised slots. We are really excited to get underway and get these kids on campus."
The Bulldogs and Britons each received three first-place votes, with Adrian edging Albion by one point in the overall poll. Trine, whose run of three consecutive MIAA titles ended last fall, was picked to finish third, while Hope, which received the other first-place vote, was chosen fourth.
Poll Results (first-place votes in parenthesis): 1. Adrian (3) 10 pts. 2. Albion (3) 11. 3. Trine 16. 4. Hope (1) 17. 5. Alma 30. 6. Kalamazoo 31. 7. Olivet 32.
This season will be highlighted by a new Challenge Series pitting MIAA schools against member colleges of the Northern Athletics Conference. The first games in the four-year series will be played Saturday, Sept. 15 at NAC member sites, with MIAA schools to host next year's games in the series.
The MIAA will kick off its 115th season of intercollegiate football action Thursday,Aug. 30, as Trine hosts Manchester, Ind. League play begins Saturday, Sept. 29.
The Scots will begin play on September 1, when they host Heidelberg in a non-league contest. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at Bahlke Field.