COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College football team was picked fifth in the Centennial Conference preseason poll.
The Bears collected 104 points in a sampling of the league's head coaches and athletic communications directors, just nine behind fourth-place Susquehanna.
Nine-time defending champion Johns Hopkins was the favorite with 158 total points and 14 first-place votes, while Franklin & Marshall was runner-up with 148 points and five first-place ballots. Muhlenberg received one first-place vote and 133 points to take third, followed by Susquehanna (113) and Ursinus in the top half of the projected standings. Gettysburg (56) was sixth, with Dickinson (51), Juniata (50), Moravian (49), and McDaniel (46) rounding out the poll.
As head coach Peter Gallagher enters his 18th season, Ursinus looks well positioned to return to the upper echelon of the Centennial Conference. In addition to junior Thomas Garlick, set to begin his third year as starting quarterback, the Bears return eight all-conference selections to the fold.
Junior Stacey Gardner (second team) and sophomore Samuel Ragland (honorable mention) combine to form the most productive running game in the conference; Ragland is coming off a season in which he was named CC rookie of the year, the first player in Ursinus history to earn that distinction. Senior tight end Thomas Cardozo earned honorable mention a year ago.
Senior Charles Anderson is back to anchor the defensive line after a second team all-conference season, and classmate Tyler Gordon (second team) returns to the backfield after grabbing four interceptions. Junior defensive end Noah Thomas (honorable mention) led the team with five sacks a year ago.
The Bears kick off the new campaign at Bethany (W.V.) on September 1.