CHICAGO – Heading into its first year as a member of the 12-team Midwest Conference, the University of Chicago football team has been picked to finish second in the North Division with the release of Wednesday's Preseason Coaches' Poll.
The Maroons received 55 points and one first-place vote in the North Division voting, which was led by first-place St. Norbert College (65 points, 10 first-place votes). On the South Division side, 2016 MWC Champion Monmouth College led the way with 65 points and 10 first-place points, followed by Lake Forest College (57 points, 2 first-place votes).
UChicago Head Coach Chris Wilkerson kicks off his fifth season in 2017 as the leader of the Maroons, who finished last year's campaign 4-6 overall and 4-4 in their former conference, the Southern Athletic Association (SAA).
The Maroons open 2017 at home Sept. 2, when UChicago hosts Case Western Reserve University in a non-conference tilt beginning at noon CT at Stagg Field. UChicago starts MWC play Saturday, Sept. 23, with a matchup at Illinois College, picked to finish third in the South Division.
The overall winner of the MWC receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III national tournament, with divisional winners facing off for the title in Week 10 (Nov. 11). St. Norbert and Monmouth have combined to win nine of the last 10 MWC championships.
2017 MWC Preseason Coaches Poll
1. St. Norbert College (10) 65
2. UChicago (1) 55
3. Macalester (1) 48
4. Ripon 29
5. Lawrence 26
6. Beloit 23
1. Monmouth (10) 65
2. Lake Forest College (2) 57
3. Illinois College 44
4. Cornell College 38
5. Knox 26
6. Grinnell 16