Morningside College was tabbed the favorite in both the 2017 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Pre-Season Football Coaches’ Poll and the GPAC Pre-Season Football Media Poll at the 18th annual GPAC Football Media Day held Thursday, Aug. 3, at the Marina Inn Conference Center in South Sioux City, Neb.
The six-time reigning GPAC champions received eight of the nine first place votes in the media poll and eight of the nine first place votes from the league’s head coaches. Head coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. The Mustangs scored 80 points in the media poll for an eight-point margin over runner-up Doane University and had 64 points for an 11-point margin over runner-up Dakota Wesleyan University in the GPAC Coaches Poll.
The Mustangs were ranked sixth nationally in the NAIA Football Coaches’ Spring Top 25 Poll released in April.
Morningside posted a 10-2 record last fall en route to a 13th consecutive appearance in the NAIA Championship Series for the longest active streak in the nation. Morningside bowed out of the playoffs with a 42-35 quarterfinal round setback against the University of Saint Francis in a game where it led the eventual NAIA National Champion Cougars 20-7 at the intermission.
The Mustangs have a 134-27 record for a .832 winning percentage since the start of the 2004 season. Morningside has advanced to at least the semifinals of the NAIA Championship Series four times in the last five seasons, including an appearance in the 2012 Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship Game.
Morningside will open the 2017 season with a noon game against the University of St. Francis on Saturday, Aug. 26, in Joliet, Ill.