It was as close to a split decision as you can get, but the North Coast Athletic Conference football coaches picked Wabash as the preseason favorite to unseat two-time defending champion Wittenberg as league champion.
The Little Giants received five of the 10 first-place votes and 95 points overall. Wittenberg received four first-place votes and 92 points. Oberlin, which finished eighth last season, received one first-place vote and was picked to finish eighth again.
The coaches favored Wittenberg last season in the preseason poll, and the Tigers lived up to the billing, capturing their second straight NCAC title and their fourth in five seasons. Wittenberg tied for the championship in 2012 but won it outright in 2013 by finishing 9-0 in league play and 10-2 overall.
Wabash finished 9-1 last season and 8-1 in the NCAC. It was the first season the 10 NCAC teams played a full round-robin schedule with one non-conference games. Wittenberg beat Wabash 35-17 in Crawfordsville.
The Tigers, who open the season at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 against Butler at home, will begin the season ranked 13th in the D3Football.com preseason poll. Wabash is 16th.
2014 NCAC football
1. Wabash (5) 95
2. Wittenberg (4) 92
3. Denison 67
5. DePauw 57
6. Ohio Wesleyan 55
7. Kenyon 36
8. Oberlin (1) 35
9. Allegheny 23
9. Hiram 23