If the 2011 Frontier Conference Coaches Poll is any indication, the football season is going to be very interesting.
The 2011 coaches poll was released on Sunday, and as expected, defending NAIA national champion Carroll College was almost unanimously picked to win the league title this fall. Carroll has won 10 straight Frontier Conference championships, and the Saints received 25 points in the preseason poll.
Meanwhile, the Montana State University-Northern Lights got some respect from the league’s coaches. The Lights are picked to finish tied with Montana Tech in third place in the poll. Both the Lights and Orediggers received 14 points in the poll, and interestingly, that was only two points less than the two teams who tied for second. The coaches voted both Eastern Oregon and Rocky Mountain College second with 16 points each, while UM-Western was sixth with five points.
Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team.
The Lights opened the 2011 fall camp on Sunday night with a no-pads practice at the MSU-Northern practice fields. MSU-N, who finished fifth in the Frontier a season ago, returns 16 starters and has brought in a talented recruiting class for the upcoming season. On the first night of practice, the Lights held out all-american defensive end Will Andrews as well as starting wide receiver Brandon O’Brien.
The Lights began two-a-day workouts on Monday, and will have a morning and an afternoon practice through the rest of the week. MSU-N’s first scrimmage is set for Saturday at 9:45 a.m.
The Montana State University-Northern volleyball team will hold its annual Maroon/Gold Scrimmage tonight at the MSU-Northern Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. The scrimmage is open to the public and anyone attending is asked to donate one can of food.
The Skylights are preparing for their season-opening tournament, which will be Friday and Saturday in Great Falls, and heading into the season-opener, Northern is picked to finish seventh in the Frontier Conference this year. The Skylights received 15 points in the Frontier Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released over the weekend.
Topping the poll is two-time defending league champion Lewis-Clark State with 46 points. Carroll was picked second and Rocky Mountain College third. The league’s coaches selected Westminster College fourth, the University of Great Falls fifth and Montana Tech sixth, while UM-Western was picked to finish eighth.
Frontier Preseason Football
Carroll College (5) 25 points
Eastern Oregon (1) 16 points
Rocky Mountain 16 points
Montana Tech 14 points
MSU-Northern 14 points
Montana Western 5 points
Frontier Preseason Volleyball Coaches Poll
Lewis-Clark (5) 46
Carroll College (3) 42
Rocky Mountain 41
Westminster College 31
U of Great Falls 23
Montana Tech 17
Montana Western 8