Findlay, Ohio – With the players reporting for preseason camp this week, the Saint Xavier University football team also learned Tuesday that it is projected to win the 2013 Mid-States Football Association (MSFA) Midwest League title when the league office released the preseason polls this afternoon. SXU has spent time playing on both sides of the MSFA with a majority of it spent in the Midwest League (1993-2006), but the Cougars have spent the last six seasons in the Mideast League (2007-2012) before a realignment moved them back this year. In addition, Saint Xavier claimed the No. 4 spot in the 2013 NAIA Football Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll when it was released by the national office late Monday.
In the MSFA's projections, SXU received all seven first-place votes in the 2013 preseason poll and totaled 49 points. Saint Ambrose University (Iowa) claimed the No. 2 spot with 37 points, while William Penn University (Iowa) was third with 36 points. In the national rankings, the Cougars tallied 260 points and finished behind No. 1 Morningside College (Iowa), No. 2 Marian University (Ind.) and No. 3 Missouri Valley College (Mo.).
"It is great to have the respect of the other coaches in the MSFA and see our team atop the rankings in the preseason poll, but those are just projections and we will definitely have our work cut out for us this season," said SXU head football coach Mike Feminis. "This is, without a doubt, one of the toughest regular season slates our program has ever had. We open up at home against the NAIA defending champs in Marian and then follow that game with a huge road match-up against University of Indianapolis, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division II playoffs last year.
"Being ranked among the top five teams in the nation at our level is a great honor, but also a huge challenge," continued Feminis. "We have to be ready to play every single week, because we will always have a huge target on us. However, the veterans are motivated big-time to get back to Rome (Ga.) after falling short last year and we'll definitely need some freshmen to contribute right away if we're going to get there."
Saint Xavier kicks off the new season against No. 2 Marian (Ind.) on Saturday, September 7. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field in Chicago.