Baker football team picked to finish 2nd in HAAC
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Defending Heart of America Athletic Conference football champion Baker University was selected second in the 2014 HAAC Coaches’ Preseason Poll on Tuesday afternoon at the annual HAAC Football Media Day at the NAIA National Office in downtown Kansas City, Mo.
The Wildcats received four out of the 10 first-place votes and a total of 76 points or just one point shy of first-place Missouri Valley.
The Vikings took 77 of the possible 81 voting points as the coaches' choice to win a fourth-straight championship.
Baker returns in 2014 after a school record 11-2 record and a share of its first conference title since1993. The two teams, who each advanced to the 2013 NAIA Football Championship Series quarterfinal round, will meet on the final day of the regular season, Nov. 15, at Liston Stadium in Baldwin City.
The final team to claim a share of last season's title was Benedictine, which was picked to finish third after garnering 65 voting points. Peru State was picked to repeat its best-ever finish in the conference after finishing in fourth place last season, while MidAmerica Nazarene was picked to finish fifth after sharing fourth with the Bobcats in 2013.
The second half of the poll was nearly identical to the finish from last season's standings. Evangel tallied 44 points to take sixth position, Central Methodist was picked to finish seventh with 29 points, while Avila (21 points), Culver-Stockton (19) and Graceland (15) finished out the poll.
The 2014 season kicks off Saturday, Aug, 23 ,when Evangel makes a nearly 1,300-mile journey to take on first-year program Arizona Christian in Phoenix, Ariz.
All 10 teams will host games on Saturday, Sept. 13, in the second-annual HAAC-KCAC Football Series with each team taking on the KCAC team that finished in the same position in the 2013 standings at the KCAC site. Head-to-head conference play begins the following Saturday, Sept. 20.
Baker head football coach and 2013 HAAC Coach of the Year Mike Grossner addressed the media on Tuesday, as did All-HAAC returning senior offensive lineman Justin McCandless. For a look at the entire Coaches’ Poll, please see below.
2014 HAAC Preseason Coaches' Poll
School (First Place Votes) - Points
- Missouri Valley (6) - 77
- Baker (4) - 76
- Benedictine - 65
- Peru State - 56
- MidAmerica Nazarene - 48
- Evangel - 44
- Central Methodist - 29
- Avila - 21
- Culver-Stockton - 19
- Graceland - 15