The Cougars are picked to repeat as MSFA Mideast League champs, unfortunately for the University of Saint Francis, it’s the league’s ‘other’ Cougars — Saint Xavier University. SXU has been picked as the favorite to capture the 2010 title in a vote by the league’s coaches.
USF opens pre-season training camp on Monday, August 16. The Cougars return four full-time starters on offense and two on defense. USF opens the season at Iowa Wesleyan on Saturday, September 11. USF opens its home schedule against St. Ambrose on Saturday, September 18 and the Cougars begin the quest for their 10th MSFA MEL title on Saturday, September 25 at Marian in Indianapolis. All USF football games will be carried on Redeemer Catholic Radio WLYV 1450 AM.
NAIA Football Preview magazine, produced by Victory Sports Network, ranks USF No. 8, and Sporting News College Football 2010 magazine ranks USF at No. 10. Since a 2-8 first season in 1998, USF has produced 11 consecutive winning seasons, has been ranked in the NAIA Top 25 in 129 consecutive polls, and is 73-1 at home over the last eight seasons. USF is 121-26 in 12 seasons ALL under head coach Kevin Donley, who is 236-112-1 heading into his 32nd season as a head collegiate level. USF has won a league record nine MSFA MEL titles and Donley has been named MSFA MEL Coach of the Year a record seven times.
Saint Xavier (7-0, 13-1) received six of the eight first-place votes and 62 points to finishing ahead of Walsh University and the University of Saint Francis of Fort Wayne, IN, two teams that shared runner-up honors with Taylor University last season. Walsh (5-2, 8-3) was named No. 1 on one ballot and had 52 points, while USF (5-2, 7-3) got the other first-place vote and 51 points.
SXU returns one of the top quarterbacks in NAIA in Anthony Kropp, a 5-foot-11, 200-pound senior who averaged 316 yards per game and threw for 43 touchdowns in 14 games. He finished with 4,425 yards passing. SXU also returns its two receivers in Mike Maher (95.6 ypg, 15 TDs) and Xavier Torres (81.4 ypg, 13 TDs)
The remainder of the balloting saw Taylor (5-2, 7-3) receive 39 points, Marian University (3-4, 6-5) 32 points, Malone University (2-5, 4-6) 28 points, Olivet Nazarene University (1-6, 2-9) 14 points and Trinity International (0-7, 0-11).
Malone and Trinity International will feature new coaches during the 2010 campaign, Eric Hehman taking the reins at Malone and Kirk Wherritt in charge at Trinity.