(Courtesy of Tony Nicolette, GLIAC.org)BAY CITY -- That last two GLIAC seasons have produced first-time, outright championships for a pair of the leagueâ??s long-standing members; Hillsdale earned the title in 2011, with Ashland completing an unbeaten regular season to claim the crown in 2012. Will the 2013 title go to another first-timer? The leagueâ??s head coaches seem to think it not impossible as their preseason poll results were announced. On the heels of their 11-0 regular season, Ashland is picked to repeat as league champs garnering ten first-place votes and 88 points. The South is no runaway in the coachâ??s minds, however, as fourth-year member Ohio Dominican ranked second notching 80 points along with four first-place nods. Findlay was the final member of the south to earn a first place vote, and tallied 69 total points to slot third. On the strength of their defense and excitement around new coach Ted Karras, Walsh earned a fourth place spot with 43 points, followed by Lake Erie (40), Tiffin (30), and Malone (21). The picture in the North has even less clarity, which resembles how the standings looked at the end of 2012. Four teams finished atop the north at 7-3 last year, and each of those clubs earned at least one first-place vote in this yearâ??s preseason poll. Grand Valley led the way with 94 points and six first-place ballots. Saginaw Valley also picked-up six first-place votes, but only tallied 87 total points to finish second. Fellow co-champs from last year Michigan Tech (66 points, one first-place vote) and Hillsdale (65 points, one first-place vote) finished fourth and fifth respectively, but found themselves passed over for third by the coaches as Ferris State garnered 69 total points along with a single first-place nod. Itâ??s obvious that the coaches see Ferris and Ohio Dominican as teams to watch out for in 2013, and it will be interesting to see if their thoughts are validated on the field. Rounding out the North Division balloting was sixth place Wayne State with 48 points, seventh place Northern Michigan with 23 points, and finally Northwood with 22 points. The 2013 Division II football season opens for six GLIAC members on Thursday, September 5, with seven more of the leagueâ??s clubs playing two days later on Saturday the 7th. The conference schedule then begins in earnest on Saturday, September 14.
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