Football | Sunday, August 8, 2010
Willamette is Ranked #18 in D3football.com Top 25 Poll
Bearcats will play three Nationally Ranked Teams in the Regular Season
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- The Willamette University Bearcats are ranked #18 in the nation in NCAA Division III according to the D3football.com Top 25 Preseason Poll for 2010. Willamette, which earned an 8-2 overall record last season, was ranked #24 in the Final Poll of 2009.Defending NCAA Division III national champion University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, which completed an undefeated season at 15-0 in 2009, is ranked #1 with 620 points in the Preseason Poll. The Warhawks received 20 of 25 first place votes to finish in front of Mount Union College (Ohio), which is ranked #2. Mount Union, 14-1 in 2009, received five first place votes and 604 points.
Wesley College (Del.), 13-1 last year, is ranked #3 with 541 points. Linfield College, 12-1, which edged out Willamette for the Northwest Conference title in 2009, is ranked #4 with 512 points.
Rounding out the Top 5 is the University of St. Thomas (Minn.), 11-2, with 496 points. University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas), 10-2, is ranked #6 with 488 points, while Central College (Iowa), 10-1, is #7 with 457 points.
Wittenberg University (Ohio), 12-1, is #8 with 450 points. St. John's University (Minn.), 10-1, follows at #9 with 353 points and Delaware Valley College (Pa.), 10-2, is listed at #10 with 311 points.
Willamette has a very challenging schedule that includes three nationally ranked teams in the first four games. The Bearcats will open the season at 16th-ranked Wisconsin-Stevens Point (7-3 in 2009) on Sept. 4, before traveling to Abilene, Texas, to take on 15th-ranked Hardin-Simmons University (6-4) on Sept. 11.
After hosting NAIA scholarship program Southern Oregon University on Sept. 18 at McCulloch Stadium, the Bearcats will have an open date on Sept 25. Willamette will take on #4 Linfield on Oct. 2 in McMinnville, Ore., in the NWC opener for both teams.
Last year, the Bearcats averaged 402.8 total yards of offense per game, while scoring 38.2 points per contest. the Bearcats amassed an average of 21.2 first downs per game.
The Willamette defense allowed just 15.9 points per game last fall. WU led the NWC in total defense, holding opponents to 279.2 yards per game.
Inside linebacker Ralph Pineda (Los Angeles, CA/Cathedral HS/San Jose State Univ.) returns for his senior season after recording 81 total tackles, forcing three fumbles, recovering three fumbles and intercepting two passes in 2009. He was chosen Third Team All-America by D3football.com and was named NWC Defensive Player of the Year.