ADRIAN, Mich.--The Adrian College football team has been picked to finish in third place in the race for the 2017 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association crown, according to balloting of a preseason poll of the conference's seven head coaches. That announcement was made on Monday by MIAA commissioner Penny Allen-Cook.
Evidenced by the results of the poll--four teams receiving at least one first-place nod--the league appears to be very balanced this year. The Bulldogs received one first-place vote for 16 points, which is just two points back of defending MIAA champion Olivet with 14 (two first-place votes). Hope is the preseason No. 1 with nine points and three first-place ballots. Trine also collected one first-place vote and picked up 17 points.
Rounding out the list is Alma (24 points), Albion (33) and Kalamazoo (34).
With a bevy of returners back on both sides of the ball, Adrian is positioned to improve on last year's 4-6 overall mark, including 2-4 for fifth place in the MIAA. All told, the Bulldogs have nine starters back on offense and eight on defense, plus two kick specialists. Leading the list is 2016 All-MIAA selections seniors Cameron Cook (placekicker), Connor Storms (punter), Eric McDonel (offensive lineman), Damon Fuller (defensive lineman), Emmanuel Stewart (all-conference in 2014-15 but did not play last fall), and juniors Chris Adams (outside linebacker), Jerron McGaw (wide receiver).
Jim Deere '89 is in eighth season as head coach at Adrian College, leading the Bulldogs to two MIAA championships in the last five seasons and a 47-25 record (.653) since taking the reins in 2010.
Adrian kicks off the season on Sep. 2 (6 p.m.) when it hosts non-conference foe Ohio Northern at 3,500-seat Docking Stadium. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 6-2, but the schools haven't met since the 1989 season.
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