Dolphins Picked To Finish Third In Pioneer Football League South Division

Aug. 28, 2001

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Dayton University, one of three teams to share the 2000 Pioneer Football League Championship, has been favored to capture the North Division title, while Morehead State is picked to win a tight South Division race, in a poll conducted by Pioneer Football League head coaches. This is the first year the PFL has had two divisions after expanding to nine teams following the 2000 season.

JU, which is beginning its first year in the non-scholarship football league that stretches from coast to coast, was picked to finish third in the South, despite returning 20 starters from last year's squad. Morehead State, which went 6-3 last season, received four of nine possible first-place votes. Davidson went 10-0 last season and holds the longest active winning streak in the country (along with Robert Morris) at 17 games, but is picked second in the South after receiving three first-place votes. The Wildcats lost 11 starters and 22 letterwinners from last year's record-setting squad. The Dolphins received one first-place vote and are followed by Austin Peay in the South Division poll.

JU opens conference play with home games against Davidson (Sept. 8) and Morehead State (Sept. 15), before finishing its South Division schedule at Austin Peay on Sept. 29. Although the Dolphins will play Drake from the North Division in the final regular-season game on Nov. 10, JU could know by the end of September if it is headed to the inaugural Pioneer Football League Championship game. The winner of the North and South Divisions will meet for the league title on Nov. 17 at the site of the North champion.

"Winning the South Division championship is certainly one of our goals," said JU head coach Steve Gilbert. "However, we can't lose sight of our bigger goal of putting together our first winning season."

Dayton received seven first-place votes and is followed in the poll by Drake, Valparaiso, Butler and San Diego in the North Division. Dayton returns 40 letterwinners from a squad that went 8-3 in 2000, including running back Jermaine Bailey, who ran for 1.373 yards a year ago. JU opens the 2001 season at Lenoir-Rhyne on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 1 p.m. The Dolphins, which are entering their fourth season of intercollegiate football, are 4-4 all-time against PFL teams: Davidson (2-1), Austin Peay (2-1) and Drake (0-2).

Pioneer Football League Coaches' Poll

North               South
Dayton (7)     9    Morehead State (4)  12
Drake (1)     15    Davidson (3)        17
Valparaiso    24    Jacksonville (1)    21
Butler (1)    29    Austin Peay (1)     24
San Diego     33

(First-place votes in parentheses) *Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team