Where the Quincy University football team landed in the Great Lakes Valley Conference preseason poll wasn't unexpected.
It offers the Hawks the opportunity to surprise some people.
Coming off a three-win season last fall and with just four starters returning on offense, Quincy is picked to finish sixth in the eight-team league, according to a poll of the GLVC coaches. The Hawks received 17 points, just three ahead of William Jewell.
Indianapolis, the defending league champion and five-time GLVC winner, received seven first-place votes and is the overwhelming favorite to repeat. Missouri S&T received the other first-place vote and tied for second with McKendree.
Quincy went 1-6 in the GLVC last season, beating Lincoln 7-3 in the league opener.
The Hawks open the 2018 season Aug. 30 at Indiana State and play their first GLVC game Sept. 29 against McKendree at QU Stadium. The Hawks play seven of their 11 games at home.
Leathernecks sixth in MVFC poll
The offseason changes that resulted in Jared Elliott taking over as the head coach of the Western Illinois University football program have limited expectations slightly.
The Leathernecks were picked to finish seventh in the 10-team Missouri Valley Football Conference preseason poll. North Dakota State received all 39 first-place votes and is the preseason favorite for the seventh straight season.
WIU finished fourth in the league last season with a 5-3 record and went 8-4 overall, losing in the opening round of the FCS playoffs to Weber State. Charlie Fisher resigned in January after two seasons as head coach in order to join Herm Edwards' staff at Arizona State as the wide receivers coach.
Elliott, who spent two seasons as WIU's assistant head coach and co-offensive coordinator, was elevated to head coach immediately.
Leathernecks earn preseason honors
The loss of All-American linebacker Brett Taylor leaves a void in the middle of the WIU defense. Luckily, the Leathernecks have enough playmakers at other positions to compensate.
Senior defensive lineman Khalen Saunders, senior defensive back Justin Fitzpatrick and senior return specialist Steve McShance were preseason All-MVFC first-team selections. Senior linebacker Quinton Moon was a second-team pick.
Saunders, a 6-foot-2, 305-pound preseason All-American, has been named to the Buck Buchanan Award watch list after finishing his junior season with 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 12 tackles for loss. Fitzpatrick led the MVFC with five interceptions last season and had six pass breakups. McShane averaged 18.5 yards per punt return and returned one 81 yards for a touchdown against Indiana State.
On offense, the Leathernecks had two players named to the All-MVFC second team in senior quarterback Sean McGuire and McShane, a running back.
QU, WIU programs receive academic honors
The QU and WIU women's basketball programs both ended up in the top 25 of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Academic Honor Roll for their respective divisions.
The Hawks were 22nd in NCAA Division II with a 3.598 team grade point average. Quincy was one of four GLVC teams to receive the honor, joining Rockhurst (eighth), McKendree (11th) and Southern Indiana (16th).
In the NCAA Division I top 25, WIU finished second with a 3.751 team GPA.