Willamette Football is #17 in Lindy's Preseason Rankings

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University football team is ranked #17 in the nation in the NCAA Division III Preseason Rankings included in the Lindy's college football guide. The Bearcats enter the 2010 season with a combined record of 19-3 over the past two years, including 11-1 in 2008 and 8-2 in 2009.

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the defending Division III national champion, is ranked #1 in the poll and is followed by national runner-up Mount Union College (Ohio) at #2. Wesley College (Del.) holed the #3 spot in the poll, while Linfield College is ranked #4 and Trine University (Ind.) is listed at #5.

Willamette will open the season on Sept. 4 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Game time is set for 2 p.m. Central (12 p.m. Pacific). The game at UW-Stevens Point starts a very challenging schedule, which also includes games against traditional Division III powers Linfield and Hardin-Simmons University (Texas), plus in-state NAIA rival Southern Oregon University.

Last season, the Bearcats led the Northwest Conference in total defense, allowing just 279.2 yards per game. WU also ranked first in the conference in scoring defense, as opponents achieved only 15.9 points per contest. Willamette, which finished second in the NWC with a 5-1 record, returns eight starters on offense and six starters on defense.

WU Head Coach Mark Speckman is entering his 13th year as the leader of the Bearcats and is heading into his 16th year on the coaching staff. His record as a head coach at Willamette is 71-50 (.587).

Lindy's NCAA Division III Preseason Rankings

1. Wisconsin-Whitewater
2. Mount Union (Ohio)
3. Wesley (Del.)
4. Linfield
5. Trine (Ind.)
6. Bethel (Minn.)
7. Delaware Valley (Pa.)
8. St. John's (Minn.)
9. Wittenberg (Ohio)
10. Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas)
11. Ohio Northern
12. Johns Hopkins (Md.)
13. Central (Iowa)
14. St. John Fisher (N.Y.)
15. North Central (Illinois)
16. Ithaca (N.Y.)
17. Willamette
18. Thomas More (Ky.)
19. Monmouth (Illinois)
20. Mississippi College
21. Washington & Jefferson (Pa.)
22. Wartburg (Iowa)
23. Bridgewater (Va.)
24. Otterbein (Ohio)
25. Augustana (Illinois)

Scott Schoettgen led Willamette with 49 catches for 840 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009.

Scott Schoettgen led Willamette with 49 catches for 840 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2009.