Even as one of three teams to receive a first place vote, the Hope Flying Dutchmen have still been picked to finish just fourth when the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) plays its 115th season this coming fall.
In one of the more unusual outcomes of the annual pre-season coaches poll which was announced today, defending champion Albion has been pegged for second place behind top vote-getter Adrian. In a poll in which the coaches could not vote for their own team, Adrian and Albion each garnered three first place ballots and Hope received the seventh. Just six points separate number one Adrian from number four Hope in the tabulation.
The complete results of the poll: 1. Adrian 10, 2. Albion 11, 3. Trine 16, 4. Hope 17, 5. Alma 30, 6. Kalamazoo 31 and 7. Olivet 32.
A year ago Hope, after also being picked for fourth place in the pre-season poll, surprsied the league with a second place finish at 5-1. The team's 7-3 record was their best in six seasons.
The Flying Dutchmen, under veteran coach Dean Kreps, will be bidding for their first MIAA title since 2007 when the conference season begins in late September.
With a pre-season squad numbering 140 players, the Flying Dutchmen report on Wednesday, Aug. 8. The season begins Saturday, Sept. 1, with the traditional Community Day game against first-time opponent North Park of Chicago. It will be the first of four non-league dates against Division III teams from Illinois. A highlight of the non-league portion of the schedule will be a new Challenge Series pitting MIAA teams against member colleges of the Northern Athletics Conference. Hope will travel to Concordia-Chicago for that game on Sept. 15. The league schedule begins Saturday, Sept. 29 at Adrian.
This will mark the 103rd season of Hope football. The team will play at a refurbished Holland Municipal Stadium that now features an artificial turf field surface.
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