Photo courtesy of Princeton Athletic Communications
PRINCETON, N.J. -- In the closest call in six years, Princeton edged Harvard as the preseason favorite to capture the 2014 Ivy League football title in a vote by a selected panel of media representatives.
Princeton (8-2, 6-1 Ivy League in 2013) received nine of the 17 first-place votes and a total of 128 points, earning the preseason's top spot for the first time since 1992. Harvard (9-1, 6-1 Ivy) was just one point behind with the remaining eight first-place votes, making its seventh-straight year being voted either first or second in the League's preseason poll. The one-point difference is the narrowest margin since 2008 when Harvard and Yale tied for first with eight first-place votes and 124 total points each.
Princeton and Harvard feature two of the top players in the Football Championship Subdivision and the League's reigning Players of the Year. Princeton senior quarterback Quinn Epperly is set to command the Tiger offense after a record-setting season a year ago when he became the first player in conference history to account for more than 40 touchdowns in one season (25 passing, 18 rushing). Epperly enters this season as one of the preseason candidates for Walter Payton Award, which recognizes the FCS Player of the Year.
On the other side of the ball, Harvard senior defensive end Zach Hodges is poised to once again anchor the Crimson's front seven. Hodges comes into his senior campaign as unanimous preseason All-America selection, receiving recognition on watch lists from the College Football Performance Awards, Butkus Award and Buck Buchanan Award.
Dartmouth (6-4, 5-2 Ivy) placed third with 91 points to receive its highest preseason ranking since 1997 when the Big Green was also picked to finish third. Head coach Buddy Teevens' squad features an Asa S. Bushnell Cup candidate of its own this year in his junior signal-caller Dalyn Williams. Williams developed into one of the FCS's top dual-threat quarterbacks after closing his sophomore campaign among the conference's top 10 leaders in both rushing and passing.
Penn (4-6, 3-4 Ivy) landed in the top half of the preseason poll for the 22nd consecutive season with spot in fourth with 79 points. The Quakers' streak dates back to head coach Al Bagnoli's second season roaming the Franklin Field sidelines. This season will be the last for Bagnoli leading the Red and Blue on the gridiron as he announced his retirement in April.
Yale (5-5, 4-3 Ivy) paced the second half of the preseason poll in fifth place with 68 points, followed by Brown (6-4, 3-4 Ivy) in sixth with 65 points, Cornell (3-7, 2-5 Ivy) in seventh with 34 points and Columbia (0-10, 0-7 Ivy) in eighth with 20 points .
2014 IVY LEAGUE FOOTBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
First-Place Votes in Parentheses