The Southern Oregon University football team can expect another high post to start the 2018 season after being picked Tuesday to repeat as the Frontier champion in a vote by the conference’s coaches.
Last year’s Raiders were the first Frontier team since 2010 to complete an unbeaten regular season, finishing with their third appearance in the NAIA semifinals in four years, a 12-1 record and a No. 4 ranking. This year’s will bring back eight starters on defense and seven on offense, but are tasked with replacing six all-conference performers — including quarterback Tanner Trosin, the Frontier Offensive Player of the Year.
SOU received six of eight first-place votes in the poll. Rocky Mountain (Mont.) got one and was picked second after finishing in a three-way tie for second in 2017 with a 6-4 record. The College of Idaho and Montana Tech — the other parties in that deadlock — tied for third in the poll, and Carroll (Mont.) was picked fifth while collecting the other first-place vote. Eastern Oregon, Montana Western and Montana State-Northern rounded out the poll.
“2018 will have some different challenges,” second-year SOU head coach Charlie Hall said at the conference’s media day. “No doubt we’ll have a target on our back as we replace some key seniors.”
The Raiders’ outright title in 2017 was their first since joining the Frontier; they shared the other in 2012, their first year in conference. In six seasons, they’ve gone 46-14 in FC contests. No other Frontier team has won more than 37 games during that period.
The Raiders will open camp three weeks ahead of their Sept. 1 opener at Eastern Oregon. Ticket information was released Monday.
The NAIA preseason poll will be released Aug. 6.