JU picked to win 2011 PFL race
Jacksonville University, which shared the 2010 Pioneer Football League championship, has been named the preseason favorite in the league’s coaches poll, the league announced Monday.

The Dolphins, 10-1 overall and 8-0 last season, received eight of 10 first-place votes and 80 of a possible 81 points as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team. Dayton, which shared the title with JU last season, is the second pick with 69 points.

Head coach Kerwin Bell’s Dolphins return 14 starters from last season’s team, including quarterback Josh McGregor who is on the Walter Payton Award watch list. McGregor was a second-team All-PFL selection last season when he led the FCS in passing efficiency with a 169.54 rating.

Wide receiver Josh Philpart, a unanimous first-team All-PFL selection last season when he was McGregor’s favorite target, returns. He is the team’s career leader in receiving yards with 2,156 and touchdown receptions (29).

“I love to be the favorite,’’ Bell, in his fifth season, said. “I love to have to live up to that. I love to have those expectations and for our guys to try to get better. It does motivate you, especially at this level.’’

Drake finished third (61 points) in the voting followed by San Diego (59), Butler (47), Morehead State (38), Campbell (33), Marist (31), Davidson (23) and Valparaiso (9).