Cougars 16th in spring football poll
The 2014 football season is still 4 1/2 months away, but it's not too soon to begin prognosticating.
And in the opinion of NAIA football coaches, St. Xavier University is deserving of the No. 16 position in their spring top-25 poll. The Cougars finished 2013 at No. 18 despite missing out on the national tournament for the first time since 2008.
SXU, which was the NAIA national champion in 2011 and reached the semifinal round every year between 2009-2012, has been ranked in 76 consecutive polls. That's the fifth-longest streak among current NAIA institutions.
Grand View University, the 2013 national champ and a member of the Mid-States Football Association along with the Cougars, grabbed the top spot in the spring poll.
"I think this is the lowest we have been rated in a spring poll in about five years, so we will use this as a motivating factor," SXU coach Mike Feminis said. "The reality of it is that spring polls are usually just an extension of how you did last season, and for us 7-4 is unacceptable.
"I fully expect us to be right back where we belong as one of the top NAIA teams in the country this fall."
The Cougars, who are in the midst of conducting spring practices, kick off their 2014 campaign Sept. 6 against Marian University.