SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. (Aug. 1) â€“ For the sixth-straight year, the Vulcans were chosen as the preseason favorite to win the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) West in a vote of the league coaches announced the league at PSAC Media Day on Monday afternoon.
The California University of Pennsylvania football team finished first in the preseason poll after receiving four of the eight first-place votes. The Vulcans, under 10th-year head coach John Luckhardt
, return 14 starters from last year's team that finished 10-2 and made a fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Playoffs.
Defending-PSAC Champion Mercyhurst, who shared the divisional crown with Cal U in 2010, was selected to finish second after receiving the other half of the first-place votes. IUP and Slippery Rock tied for third place with Gannon picked in fifth place. Edinboro, Clarion and Lock Haven rounded out the preseason standings in the PSAC West.
In the PSAC East, Bloomsburg was the unanimous preseason favorite after earning all eight first-place votes. Kutztown was selected second, West Chester was tabbed third and C.W. Post was ranked fourth. East Stroudsburg finished fifth in the poll, followed by Shippensburg, Millersville and Cheyney in the divisional standings.
Cal U has won at least of a share of the divisional title for six-consecutive years, a feat accomplished one other time in the history of the PSAC (West Chester, 1969-74).
The 2011 season will again feature the PSAC Championship Game on Nov. 12 in which the Eastern Division champion will host the winner from the Eastern Division.
The Vulcans open the season on Thursday, Sept. 1, when they host Saint Cloud State (Minn.) at 7 p.m.