The Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) should be competitive this football season as the top seven teams from last season boasted winning records.
Grand Valley State was selected to finish first according to the GLIAC Football Preseason Poll. Understandably, since Grand Valley has not lost a conference game since the 2004 season and has won two national titles since.
Each coach in the GLIAC selected the order in which they believe the teams will finish the 2009 season. The coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
It is interesting that the GLIAC 2008 final standings and the 2009 Preseason Coaches’ Poll look nearly identical. The top eight teams are “supposed” to finish in the exact same order as they did last year. Findlay moved up two spots from 11th to ninth, while Northern Michigan and Northwood each moved down one spot.
Both Grand Valley and Ashland are ranked in the top 25 in the nation according to the America Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Grand Valley is ranked as the number one team in the nation, while Ashland is ranked 15th.
Ferris was seventh in the preseason poll, namely because that is where they finished in the 2008 season.
In order for the Bulldogs to be competitive in the GLIAC this season, the defense will have to become a strong unit very quickly. It is never easy to replace seven starters, eight with the injury to Chad Wilson, but that is what Ferris must do in order to have a chance this season.
The defense ranked third overall in point allowed a season ago, but the team will not be able to lean on them this year. The offense should be much improved from a unit that ranked last in points scored in the GLIAC in 2008.
The long and short of it is Ferris will have to pull off more than one upset to win the conference this season. To say that is impossible and cannot be done would be a lie. The Bulldogs do have a chance, but it is a long shot.
Both the Grand Valley and Ashland games are at Top Taggart Field, while the game against Michigan Tech is at Fifth Third Ballpark. Playing the top three teams in the conference at home, or on a neutral site, gives the Bulldogs an advantage over other teams.
Since every GLIAC team has lost to the Lakers each of the past four seasons, the preseason coaches’ poll has become mundane and uninformative. Thanks for telling us GVSU is predicted to win the conference. If other teams in the conference spent millions of dollars on their football programs, maybe the discussion would be different and the preseason coaches’ poll would mean something.
2009 GLIAC Football Preseason Coaches’ Poll
- Grand Valley State
- Michigan Tech
- Wayne State
- Saginaw Valley State
- Ferris State
- Northern Michigan