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Bay City, Mich. - The Ferris State University football team was selected to finish sixth in the 2012 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Football Coaches Preseason North Division Poll, which was released Wednesday (Aug. 15) in conjunction with the launch of the GLIAC Football Media Day website.
The Bulldogs received 45 points in the balloting, which was conducted by the conference's 16 head coaches. This year marks the second time the league's preseason gridiron poll has been seperated by divisions.
In the North Division, Grand Valley State was picked first with 108 points and six first-place votes, defending national runner-up Wayne State was second with 99 points and four first-place votes, Hillsdale was third with 96 points and four votes, Saginaw Valley State came in fourth with 87 points and two votes, Michigan Tech was picked fifth with 66 points followed by Ferris State in sixth with 45 points. Northern Michigan took sixth place with 36 points and Northwood rounded out the division with 30 points.
In the South Division, Ashland was first with 113 points and 13 first-place votes, Ohio Dominican took second with 108 points and five first-place votes, Findlay was third with 97 points and one vote, Lake Erie placed fourth with 73 points, Walsh came in fifth with 49 points while both Tiffin and Notre Dame College tied for sixth with 43 points. Newcomer Malone rounded out the list in the division in eighth place with 42 points.
The 2012 GLIAC football season will be highlighted by the additions of three new Ohio-based institutions in Malone University, Notre Dame College and Walsh University. The GLIAC's three newest members join one of the top NCAA Division II football conferences in the nation. Malone, Notre Dame and Walsh will be among the teams looking to knock off the defending champion of the conference, Hillsdale College. The Chargers won the title in a competitive race last fall with a league record of 8-2 – just ahead of 7-3 competitors Grand Valley State University, Saginaw Valley State University and Wayne State University.
While the Chargers emerged as regular-season champions of the GLIAC, Hillsdale was excluded from the NCAA Division II Playoffs. Qualifying for the national tournament from the conference were Saginaw Valley and Wayne State. The Cardinals were eliminated in the first round of the tournament after a 30-27 overtime loss to the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The Warriors, however, went on a run that landed Coach Paul Winters' team in the NCAA Division II Championship game. In that contest, Wayne State came up on the short end of a 35-21 loss to national champion Pittsburg State (Kan.) University in Florence, Ala. on Dec. 17.
Ferris State returns 40 letterwinners and nearly 18 starters from a year ago when they finished with a 6-5 overall record in the GLIAC.
Among the returnees for the Bulldogs this campaign are senior linebacker Tayo Moss, who has been tabbed as a Preseason All-American after earning All-GLIAC First Team honors a year ago. Other returning all-conference picks from last year include senior defensive end Jordan Morgan, a second-team choice in 2011, along with honorable mention returnees in senior tailback Skyler Stoker, senior offensive tackle Trevor Smolinski and senior defensive end Brad Iskow.
A proven winner at all of his previous coaching stops and highly-regarded across the country, first-year head coach Tony Annese will direct the Bulldogs this fall following three impressive years as the head coach at Grand Rapids Community College, which came on the heels of a highly successful 25-season stint at the prep level.
Ferris State will officially begin its 104th season of varsity competition and the first campaign under Annese on the road with its lone non-league game on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the University of St. Francis (Ill.) in Joliet, Ill.
The Bulldogs' 11-game schedule in 2012 features five home contests at FSU's Top Taggart Field along with six consecutive night games to open the campaign. Ferris State's home opener is scheduled for Sept. 15 when the Ashland Eagles make the trip to Big Rapids to square off against the Bulldogs. Kickoff for the initial home game is slated for 7 p.m. (ET) under the lights.
Season and single-game tickets for the 2012 campaign are currently on sale now. For more information on ticket sales, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
The following is the complete 2012 GLIAC Football Coaches Preseason Poll with first-place votes in parenthesis along with total points.
|2||Wayne State (4)||99||12-4|
|2||Ohio Dominican (5)||108||7-4|