For the seventh time since joining the Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) in 2005, Thomas More College has been tabbed the favorite in the league, according to Wednesday’s 2017 PAC Preseason Football Poll.
The league’s preseason poll, which is voted on by PAC head coaches, sports information directors and members of the media, was announced at the PAC Football Media Day, hosted for the 11th-straight year by Saint Vincent College at the Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Thomas More collected 23 first-place votes and totaled 345 points to headline the poll.
Washington & Jefferson College finished second with six first-place votes and 308 points and was followed by Case Western Reserve University in third place with three first-place votes and 302 points.
The Saints, led by third-year head coach Regis Scafe, finished the 2016 season with a 9-2 overall record and an 8-0 mark in conference play. Their unblemished league mark in 2016 was the program’s second straight after going 8-0 in 2015. With last year’s conference title, Thomas More secured the league’s automatic qualifying bid while earning the program’s eighth NCAA Division III Championship Playoff appearance, suffering a 33-30 four overtime loss at home to Wittenberg University on November 19.
“It is a privilege and an honor to be picked by the media, the coaches and the sports information directors as the preseason favorite in the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. We still have to go out and work hard each week, as every game in the PAC will be a battle with the caliber of teams we’re competing against out there,” said Scafe. “Recognition like this is a testament to the history and the past successes of the football program at Thomas More.”
Joining Scafe at PAC Media Day Wednesday was senior quarterback Brenan Kuntz (Independence, Ky./Simon Kenton). Kuntz, an Honorable Mention All-PAC selection in 2016, finished last season 159-of-294 passing for 2,467 yards and 26 touchdown passes. His completions, attempts and passing yards were all single-season program records, while his touchdown passes tied the program mark.
“Being selected as this year’s PAC preseason favorite is a great honor for our team, but we have to go out and work hard each and every day to have the chance to top the conference standings this November,” said Kuntz.
Thomas More also claimed the top spot on the league’s preseason poll from 2009-2012 and in 2014 and 2016 and has won at least a share of the conference title in five of those seasons (2009-2011, 2014, 2016).
The Saints kickoff the season on Saturday, September 2 when they host Franklin College at 1 p.m. at BB&T Field in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.
|2017 PAC Football Preseason Poll (Predicted order of finish)|
|School (first-place votes)||Points||2016 Record (PAC)|
|1. Thomas More College (23)||345||9-2 (8-0)|
|2. Washington & Jefferson College (6)||308||9-2 (6-2)|
|3. Case Western Reserve University (3)||302||9-1 (7-1)|
|4. Westminster College (1)||271||8-3 (5-3)|
|5. Carnegie Mellon University||255||7-4 (6-2)|
|6. Saint Vincent College||189||5-5 (3-5)|
|7. Bethany College||139||3-7 (2-6)|
|8. Thiel College||115||4-6 (3-5)|
|9. Geneva College||101||3-7 (2-6)|
|10. Waynesburg University||80||2-8 (2-6)|
|11. Grove City College||73||0-10 (0-8)|
Director of Athletic Communications and Compliance
Thomas More College