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Wittenberg football team named preseason favorite in NCAC

Eight of the 10 North Coast Athletic Conference coaches voted the Wittenberg football team first in the 2013 preseason poll.

The Tigers’ head coach, Joe Fincham, was one of the two to vote for someone else. He didn’t want to say who he voted for, but it was either Wabash or Ohio Wesleyan, the teams that got the other first-place votes and were picked to finish second and third, respectively.

“I was actually shocked by the voting,” Fincham said. “We go to Wabash. They’ve got the best defense in the league. Ohio Wesleyan goes 9-1 last year and and has the offensive player of the year.”

The coaches have not been very successful at predicting the league race. Wabash was the favorite last year, and Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan tied for the championship. They picked Wittenberg in 2011, and Wabash won the title outright. They got the pick right in 2010 (Wittenberg). In 2009, they picked Wabash, and Wittenberg won.

“For whatever it’s worth, we have not always played our best football when we’ve been picked first,” Fincham said.

Here’s the complete poll: Wittenberg (8 first-place votes) 97; Wabash (1) 88; Ohio Wesleyan (1) 84; Allegheny 58; DePauw 50; Kenyon 43; Denison 41; Wooster 41; Oberlin 33; and Hiram 15

The Tigers finished 9-1 last season and 6-1 in the NCAC. They open the season Sept. 7 at Butler. That’s their only non-conference game, because for the first time this season, NCAC teams will play nine conference games instead of seven. Every team will play every other team.

Players honored: The NCAC also released its Third Decade Team (2003-12) on Monday. Thirty four players were honored in all. Wittenberg led all teams with 12 players on the list. Wabash had eight.

The Wittenberg players honored were: quarterback Ben Zoeller; running back Tristan Murray; wide receivers Josh McKee and Jered Glover; offensive linemen Dillon Hollins, Brad Kassner and Ted Londot; kicker Mark Porter; linebackers Zach Hurtt and Brad McKinley; defensive lineman Eddie Vallery; and defensive back Seth Winslow Parker.

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