/notables/2011/08/e8-preseason-poll

Alfred picked to return to top of E8

Alfred, which became the only school other than Ithaca to win an outright Empire 8 football title in 2010, has been chosen to capture its third consecutive conference title according to the 2011 Empire 8 Football Preseason Coaches Poll. The conference champion earns an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Championship.

The Saxons received six first-place votes and finished well ahead of second-choice Salisbury University, which is competing in the Empire 8 for the first time. Alfred, which finished 10-3 a year ago and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III Football Championship, is ranked 18th in the D3football.com Preseason Top 25.

Senior linebacker Nick Clark and junior defensive tackle Mike Raplee of the Saxons were each named second-team preseason All-Americans by D3football.com. Clark, the reigning Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Year, is a three-time all-conference selection who led the team with 112 tackles last season, including 12.5 tackles for loss, while adding four sacks, three interceptions, and five pass break-ups. He also led the squad with 12 touchdowns as the team’s short-yardage back. Raplee recorded 87 tackles, including six sacks and a team-high 18 tackles for loss to join Clark on the all-conference first team.

Other first-team all-conference returnees for Alfred are 2010 Empire 8 Rookie of the Year Austin Dwyer, senior defensive back Roland O’Brien, and senior placekicker Eric Rockwood. Dwyer was named to the first team as a running back and all-purpose player. He averaged 146.2 yards per game rushing in conference play and ranked among the national leaders in all-purpose yards. O’Brien led the Empire 8 in interceptions, picking off a pass in six consecutive regular season contests. Rockwood set a school record with 50 consecutive extra points.

Salisbury joins the Empire 8 after a 7-3 season in 2010, which included a trip to the NCAA Division III Football Championship. The Sea Gulls have an illustrious history, which includes seven consecutive postseason appearances, seven NCAA trips, three ECAC bowl championships, and two undefeated regular seasons. The Sea Gulls received one first-place vote.

Four Salisbury players were tabbed D3 Senior Classic Preseason All-Americans. Superback Randal Smedley earned first-team south honors after a season in which he ran for 947 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 8.2 yards per carry and 118.4 yards per game. Alex Smith anchored the offensive line, which led the way for 3,951 rushing yards in 2010. Defensive back Ricky Cassidy made 55 tackles and led the team with 11 pass defenses, and nose guard Matt Leon recorded 42 stops, including 10 for a loss.

St. John Fisher College, which has shared four of the past seven conference titles, narrowly edged Springfield College for third place in the coaches’ poll. The Cardinals, who have not gone more than two seasons without an Empire 8 title since 2003, finished 9-2 last season and finished with a 56-13 win over Renssalear in the ECAC Northwest Bowl Championship. The bowl game marked the Cardinals’ eighth consecutive trip to the postseason.

Despite the loss to graduation of 2010 Empire 8 Offensive Player of the Year Tim Bailey, St. John Fisher returns five first-team all-conference players. Senior linebacker Joe Leavell posted a team-high 98 tackles, including seven for loss, last year.

Senior Corey Balcerzak keyed an offensive line that led the Cardinals to 43.3 points and 486.7 yards per game a year ago. Senior wide receiver Ryan Schmidt, sophomore running back Ryan Kramer, and senior kick returner Ryan Francis all garnered first-team all-conference honors last season. Schmidt finished with 1,075 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, Kramer led the team with 14 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving, one punt return) and Francis averaged 30 yards per kick return.

Springfield received one first-place vote and is the coaches’ choice to finish fourth. The 2006 Empire 8 co-champions are competing in the conference for the final time. Head Coach Mike DeLong enters his 30th season overall and 28th at the school as the winningest active football coach in New England Division III with 271 wins. The Pride are coming off a 9-2 season, topped off by a 26-17 win over Mount Ida in the ECAC Division III North Atlantic Bowl Championship.

Springfield averaged 389 yards rushing per game last season with 50 rushing touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Austin Bateman averaged 95.3 yards per game rushing to lead the team that featured seven rushers averaging at least 40 yards per contest. Senior offensive lineman Sean Meagher earned second-team all-conference honors last year.

Salisbury (30th), Springfield (32nd), and St. John Fisher (39th) all received votes and were ranked in the D3football.com Preseason Poll.

To show the depth of the conference, five-time conference champion (including four of the five solo titles in Empire 8 history) Ithaca has been chosen fifth in the preseason coaches’ poll. The Bombers are coming off a 6-4 season overall for their 40th consecutive winning season.

Senior defensive back Mike Conti, junior defensive back Spencer White, and senior punter/placekicker Andrew Rogowski all return after being named to the all-conference first team a season ago. Conti intercepted six passes and broke up seven more, returning an interception and a fumble recovery for touchdowns. White totaled 50 tackles with a pair of interceptions and four pass break-ups. Rogowski was named the first Special Teams Player of the Year in history. He averaged 35.3 yards per kick, placing 22 punts inside the 20-yard line, and made a conference-high nine field goals.

Utica College, which finished at .500 last season, is the coaches’ pick to place sixth this year. Senior defensive back Jon White returns for the Pioneers after earning second-team all-conference honors last season. The Pioneers averaged 46.8 points per game in non-conference play in 2010.

Hartwick, which shared the 2007 conference championship with St. John Fisher, was picked to place seventh in the preseason poll. Senior running back Anthony Cassimano and senior wide receiver Jordan Wilkins were each named to the all-conference second team last year.

Frostburg State is the coaches’ selection to finish eighth in its inaugural season in the conference. Senior quarterback Josh Volpe is the career leader in completion percentage and ranks 11th in career touchdown passes and 13th in career passing yards.

In nine seasons, the Empire 8 has recorded 24 postseason victories, including a 4-1 mark last season. The returning Empire 8 teams posted a 29-6 non-conference record last season (with Springfield, St. John Fisher and Utica going undefeated in non-conference play) and an 83-29 mark against non-conference Division III opponents over the past four years for a .741 winning percentage.

2011 Empire 8 Football Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Alfred University (6 first-place votes)              48 points
2. Salisbury University (1)                                    39
3. St. John Fisher College                                     36
4. Springfield College (1)                                     35
5. Ithaca College                                                   27
6. Utica College                                                    15
7. Hartwick College                                              14
8. Frostburg State                                               10
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Framingham State 29, Westfield State 14
Video Box Score
Final
Moravian 20, at Juniata 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Salve Regina 41, Endicott 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Thomas More 63, St. Vincent 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Union 28, Hobart 23
Video
Final
at Hamilton 27, Colby 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Christopher Newport 27, William Paterson 19
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Ithaca 35, St. John Fisher 10
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Allegheny 44, Kenyon 35
Video Box Score
Final
SUNY-Maritime 21, at Mount Ida 13
Video Box Score
Final
Middlebury 43, at Bates 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Amherst 21, Wesleyan 17
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Trinity (Conn.) 63, Bowdoin 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 48, at Gallaudet 21
Box Score
Final
Wabash 35, at Oberlin 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Utica 34, Buffalo State 12
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Ohio Northern 7, at Muskingum 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Stevenson 26, Albright 23
Video Box Score
Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Albion 31, Alma 28
Video Box Score
Final
at Guilford 45, Shenandoah 20
Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Plymouth State 40, at Massachusetts Maritime 14
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Wooster 58, at Hiram 25
Video Box Score
Final
Washington and Lee 36, at Hampden-Sydney 6
Video Box Score
Final
at Anna Maria 36, Alfred State 34
Box Score
Final
Bridgewater 31, at Emory and Henry 23
Video Box Score
Final
at FDU-Florham 49, Wilkes 31
Video Box Score
Final
Lebanon Valley 17, at Misericordia 0
Video
Final
at St. Lawrence 36, Rochester 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
RPI 30, at Alfred 15
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Curry 46, Nichols 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Salisbury 42, Southern Virginia 0
Video Box Score
Final
Ferrum 27, at Brevard 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Randolph-Macon 63, at Apprentice 14
Box Score
Final
at Susquehanna 21, Ursinus 14
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Cortland 34, at Morrisville State 20
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 50, Hope 14
Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Trinity (Texas) 27, at Sewanee 21
Video Box Score
Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 56, Dickinson 0
Video Video Box Score
Final
Tufts 21, at Williams 13
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
Video Box Score
Final
MIT 30, at Coast Guard 21
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Norwich 24, Maine Maritime 22
Video Box Score
Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Franklin 29, at Rose-Hulman 22
Video Video Box Score Photos
Final
John Carroll 48, at Capital 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Manchester 28, Bluffton 21
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Mount St. Joseph 71, at Anderson 27
Video Box Score
Final
UW-Whitewater 20, at UW-River Falls 7
Video Box Score
Final
Kean 26, at TCNJ 3
Video Box Score
Final
at LaGrange 59, Greensboro 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Worcester State 45, Mass-Dartmouth 40
Video Box Score
Final
Muhlenberg 40, at McDaniel 13
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Western New England 45, at Becker 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Maryville (Tenn.) 35, Methodist 14
Video Box Score
Final
Adrian 36, at Kalamazoo 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Denison 31, at Ohio Wesleyan 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
Video Box Score Live stats Audio Audio
Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Benedictine 43, Olivet 37
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Birmingham-Southern 31, at Austin 24
Video Box Score
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Stout 23, UW-Stevens Point 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Eureka 37, at MacMurray 20
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
Video Box Score
Final
Nebraska Wesleyan 14, at Buena Vista 13
Video Box Score
Final
Lakeland 48, at Wisconsin Lutheran 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Aurora 28, Rockford 21
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Chicago 37, Concordia (Wis.) 17
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Olaf 29, Carleton 26
Video Box Score
Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Westminster (Mo.) 24, at Greenville 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Loras 44, Coe 38
Video Box Score
Final
Monmouth 61, at Cornell 10
Video Box Score
Final
Wheaton (Ill.) 56, at North Park 0
Box Score Recap
Final
Northwestern (Minn.) 30, at Martin Luther 14
Video Box Score
Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
Box Score Photos
Final
at Lake Forest 70, Grinnell 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Millikin 56, Carroll 35
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Macalester 47, Ripon 31
Video Box Score
Final
at St. Norbert 38, Lawrence 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Scholastica 49, at Crown 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Iowa Wesleyan 24, Minnesota-Morris 17
Box Score
Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
at WPI 41, Merchant Marine 7
Box Score Recap
Final
at Centre 42, Rhodes 35
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Hanover 49, at Earlham 14
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Chicago 55, Beloit 12
Box Score Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Dubuque 28, Simpson 27
Video Box Score Live stats Audio
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at East Texas Baptist 68, Louisiana College 35
Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
Western Connecticut 27, at Bridgewater State 20
Box Score Recap
Final
Chapman 38, at La Verne 21
Video Recap Box Score
Final
Pacific 17, at Lewis and Clark 7
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
Pacific Lutheran 27, at Willamette 14
Video Box Score
Final
at Whitworth 38, Puget Sound 23
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Redlands 42, at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 25
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Sul Ross State 52, at Howard Payne 15
Video
Final
at Castleton 17, Dean 14
Video Box Score
Final
N.C. Wesleyan 21, at Averett 15
Video Box Score
Final
at Otterbein 37, Baldwin Wallace 29
Box Score
Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
Video Box Score
Final
Carnegie Mellon 42, at Thiel 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois College 23, Knox 13
Video Box Score
Final
at Cal Lutheran 60, Whittier 34
Video Box Score
Cancelled
Occidental at Pomona-Pitzer
Oct. 27: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Frostburg State at Southern Virginia
Video Live stats
Oct. 21: All times Eastern
Final
at Wesley 34, Rowan 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Frostburg State 62, Montclair State 3
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wittenberg 52, at DePauw 6
Video Video Box Score
Final
at Springfield 68, Catholic 20
Video Video Box Score Recap
Final
Wartburg 41, at Luther 16
Video Box Score
Final
Mount Union 66, at Wilmington 7
Video Box Score
Final
at Marietta 44, Heidelberg 21
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Washington and Jefferson 34, Westminster (Pa.) 33
Video Box Score Live stats Audio Audio
Final
Hardin-Simmons 33, at Texas Lutheran 30
Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 45, Belhaven 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
St. Thomas 84, at Hamline 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. John's 41, Gustavus Adolphus 17
Video Box Score
Final
at Illinois Wesleyan 13, Carthage 10
Video Box Score
Final
at Concordia-Moorhead 42, Augsburg 20
Video Box Score Photos
Final
Berry 37, at Millsaps 22
Video Box Score Recap
Final
UW-Platteville 34, at UW-Eau Claire 14
Video Box Score Photos Photos
Final
UW-Oshkosh 42, at UW-La Crosse 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 54, Augustana 2
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 45, Hartwick 0
Video Box Score Recap Recap
Final
at Linfield 12, George Fox 6
Box Score Video Photos
Final
Case Western Reserve 45, at Geneva 7
Video Box Score
Oct. 27: All times Eastern
7:00 PM
Frostburg State at Southern Virginia
Video Live stats